4 Reasons Why Adoption Is Uncommon
Adoption can be a beautiful thing but these days it's unfortunately not as common, this leads to children staying in foster care till they age out, never having had a family. This puts the children more at risk for homelessness and crime.
If we can potentially stop all this, why don't we?
We all want babies
In my opinion, this is completely understandable. If you get a child so young you can raise them as if they're your own, therefore avoiding mental health issues, the easiest/ most popular way to get a newborn child is by pregnant mothers putting up their babies for adoption. The number of mothers doing this is decreasing in recent years, as is the number of newborns available for adoption. Only 6% of children in the foster care system are below the age of one.
We maybe don't consider older children because we've missed out on all their "firsts", (first words, first steps etc), maybe because we'll feel like they're not our child or perhaps because they're going to bring issues with them and that's incredibly difficult to deal with, especially if there are other children at home.
We've missed out on all their firsts, there's no denying that - but that doesn't mean we can't create new firsts - first family, first holiday, the first sense of safety and stability. New firsts can definitely be created; the First day of their new school, first graduation and so much more.
Wondering whether you'll love an older adopted child is completely normal and reasonable. With a baby, you've learnt their personality, their likes and dislikes and you've had time to build the special parent-child bond. Especially if they're biological, you prepared for them and felt them grow inside of you before they were even born, you named them, you prepared for them for 9 months. This love will still come for your adopted child, just a little later. Bonding might be a little hard (some people have that issue with biological children too) but it'll be fun and worth it. There's always family therapy to help if you need it.
We're worried an older child will bring all these issues. Adoption is born from loss, so whether the child is older or younger when adopted, there's still the chance of grief and issues around the adoption. Maybe an older child might actually understand what's happening and be able to handle it better. But some part of them is going to be happy they finally have a family that loves them. Mental health issues can happen to anybody, not just adopted children and again, there's always therapy if it's needed.
We think adoption is just a secondary choice for infertile people
I've heard this misconception a lot. When people are asked about whether or not they want children it's not surprising to hear: "of course, I've always wanted to be a mother, if I can't have children there's always adoption." People believe they don't "need" to adopt if they can have their own children.
The truth is, all sorts of people adopt. They might be infertile, in a civil partnership, single, married, widowed, have their own children already, have no children but are still able to do so. Anyone (within reason, of course) can adopt!
Adoption isn't just a backup plan. If you want to have a child you don't need to make a new one when many already exist, many that can benefit from a loving home like yours.
It's expensive and emotionally draining
Unfortunately, adoption is expensive - especially if it's international. There is a large amount of paperwork involved, home visits and meeting to check the child is going to a safe and loving home and so their past won't be repeated once more.
The money isn't to make you feel like you're "buying your child", it's the fees of the agency, the court, the home study, sending documents, medical (if you don't have free healthcare in your country) and travel expenses (if the adoption is international).
In total that's around $39,966 for domestic/private adoption, on average; $34308 for international adoption and $5488 for adoption from foster care. In the UK some authorities will provide financial help, international adoption can cost £14,000 to £35,000 for domestic It’s free to be assessed as adopters and it is illegal for any agency to make a profit from adoption.
Paying this massive amount of money, the paperwork and possible setbacks can really take an emotional toll on somebody. Which is another reason why people don't tend to adopt. Money is a really personal issue for every individual. Although raising a child is incredibly expensive too, especially from ages 1-4 There can be fundraising and financial support from authorities or other people you know.
We want our children to look like us
This makes a lot of sense. Especially if there are other children at home - you wouldn't want a child feeling like the "odd one out". It can be particularly hard when you know next to nothing about your child's culture and heritage. They may face certain prejudice that you've never felt nor experienced such as racism.
It can be scary walking down the street holding a child's hand who looks nothing like you while people stare, whisper and point. Curious questions with good intentions will be asked, nosy questions with not so good intentions will be asked too.
You can still love someone who isn't related to you or necessarily looks like you. Look at all the married couples out there who aren't related and are so in love. It's exactly the same concept. You're still their parent and they're still your child either way, whatever you look like - and whatever they look like.
To conclude, these are all very valid reasons why people don't tend to adopt as much. But there is almost a solution to every single one of these problems which is great - so if you're considering adoption, perhaps do a little more research because after this article you hopefully don't have such a big fear of the unknown anymore.