Common Fears Regarding Adoption
My Personal Experience
When my wife and I decided to adopt, we were not prepared for the response we would receive. We did not arrive at the adoptions decision quickly. In fact, the process of deciding took place over years of conversation, prayer, counsel and thought. We weighed the options. We examined the problems. We faced our fears. We were as prepared as we could be.
When our intention to adopt was made public, we received a fair amount of support. Still, there were many questions that well meaning people asked. These questions or objections were rooted in fear and misinformation, but nonetheless sticky. I thought I would list them here, as well as our responses. They may help you in your decision to adopt, or in supporting a friend or family member in their adoption.
What if They Want to Reconnect With Their Birth Family?
I am not sure why this is so scary for parents considering adoption. I do not presume to understand everyone's feelings on this subject, or tell you how you should feel, but I will tell you our feelings. My wife and I talked at length about this very thing and both arrived at the same conclusion. We had no problem with this.
Whether we adopted domestically or internationally, we wanted to ensure that our child would be given the right to reconnect if they desired. In the case of international adoption, we agreed that the child should retain as much of their original culture as possible, even including financing trips to their country of birth to help them retain that part of their identity. We determined to help them if they felt the need to reconnect with birth parents, while not pushing them to do so. It would be their choice and we would keep the lines of communication open. Why did we feel this way?
We came to these decisions because we believe adoption is a gift. A wonderful gift. Many times children are put up for adoption by parents (specifically single mothers) who do not feel able to provide for their child. That mother deserves the right to reconnect, and the adopted child has a right to know their birth mother if they so desire. We felt that this in no way diminishes our role as parents, and was actually a part of our responsibility as adoptive parents.
What Will You Do When They Find Out They Are Adopted?
Many times this question was asked with a fearful attitude. Again, there was no fear on our part, because we determined not to hide this fact from our adopted child in the first place. Adoption is not a dirty word. Adoption is a beautiful word. Someone loved you enough to make you a legal member of their family! They chose you! As a Christian, this is exactly what I believe God did for me, and I have never felt bad about it. I love Him for it.
In our family, our children know that Santa Clause is not real. However, we have a tremendous amount of fun with the idea of Santa Clause. We like the movies, we put up decorations, we sing the songs. However, we don't have to shelter our kids from those mean people who will tell them Santa is not real. Why? They already know that. I don't worry about the day I have to explain to my children that I have been lying to them all these years, by telling them Santa is real. I choose to embrace the truth and have fun with the idea of Santa, but not the reality of Santa. Yes, this is still about adoption.
We do not intend to lie to our children about the fact that they are adopted. We intend to be up front and honest. We do not intend to treat the subject as a shameful one. It is not about the fact that they may have been unwanted by their birth parents, or that their birth mother may have been unable to care for them. It is about the fact that we chose them, and that we loved them so much we wanted them to be a member of our family. It is about the fact that family is not about blood. Family is about love. In this way we will not live in fear of the day they "discover" the truth because we will not hide the truth from them in the first place. We will embrace it.
What About Those Generational Sins?
For those who may not be Christians, let me explain what this means. There is the concept among many Christians that a child will carry on the "sins" of their parents. You may or may not believe this, but many do. In fact, many non-Christians have this same belief. If you have children you have probably seen some of your less desirable traits showing up in your children.
The idea that somehow adopted children are ticking time bombs is something I reject flatly. If I believed this was inevitable, I would never have had any children biologically! I do understand that you can find some horror stories. Maybe you can find a story of an adoptive child that murdered his parents in their beds while they slept! You can also find stories of of adoptive parents that have murdered their adopted children. What will you make of that? Does that mean orphaned children should be afraid of their new parents? Did you ever consider that when you adopt a child you know far more about them, than they know about you. The decision is out of their control. Be fair.
We are all fallen people. Our decision to adopt was a decision to love. To understand that every person is responsible for their own actions, and even in the case of generational "tendencies" we would choose to love and train, rather than fear and blame. I will not allow the fear of tomorrow to stop me from loving a child today.
Adopted Children Will Ruin Your Biological Children
This I do not understand at all. Really? This child is that powerful? OK, bring me your stories. Tell me how you know someone, who knows someone who read a story about someone who knew someone who adopted a child that ruined their adoptive siblings. I know adoptive families, and I don't know anyone first-hand with this experience. I am sure there is someone out there, I just don't know them. I do however know first hand, some families who have been torn apart by their biological children. I know parents who have not heard from their biological children for years, and siblings who will not speak to each other because of the turmoil in the home. Talk to me about how biology is a better guarantee again?
Refusing to Give In To Fear
For my wife and me, we refuse to give in to fear. These are our answers to these common adoption fears. What have I missed? Are you an adoptive parent? Are you going through the process or have completed your adoption? What fear and objections have you hear? I would love to hear from you. Do you disagree? Let me know. I realize not everyone will view things as I do, and I would genuinely be interested in your feedback.