NCHS Children First says...
The stigma that your adoptive family is somehow different from a typical biological family is not only wildly incorrect but also damaging. It can be harmful to the psyche of you and your children to hear from others
that they are somehow not the same as the
rest of us. The truth is that families formed through adoption or guardianship are just like any other family. Today, we look at why these stigmas exist and the realities of adoption.
Why Is There Even An Adoption Stigma?
Years ago, adoption was talked about in hushed conversations. For some reason, it was seen as a shameful situation when a pregnant woman chose to place her child for adoption or when families chose to adopt versus creating their own biological family.
What transpired was a rise in the number of adoptive families limiting their discussion of adoption, either keeping the child in the dark until adulthood or never discussing the topic together. This cloaked the topic of adoption with a sense of secrecy, meaning access to helpful, verifiable information was limited, and opinions and assumptions ran rampant.
Finding the right answer amid a society that saw adoption as a result of an unwanted situation made it difficult for people to overcome the existing stigmas.
While we understand (and chances are you know this as well, seeing as you are reading this article) that an adoptive family is just like any other family, there are a few areas that society likes to point out about what makes adoptive families unique.
Below are 4 untrue stigmas that adoptive families often face.
Real = Biological
Let’s cut to the chase — a lot of times, people are uninformed in the language they use surrounding adoption. One of the most blatant examples is using “real” synonymously with “biological.” This implies that only biological families are real families and that families formed through adoption or other means somehow are not.
Shared genes are not what build a family. Love, respect, commitment, loyalty, strength, and support are the foundations of a family. Families that do not share biological genes are real. Families that do share biological genes are real. All of these families deserve respect and support, point-blank.
Open Adoption Is Bad For A Child
Open adoption refers to a situation where the birth and adoptive families have some form of contact during or after an adoption is finalized. Each family is encouraged to set their own boundaries on the level of contact and involvement, but a stigma exists that says this style of adoption negatively impacts the child.
This is untrue.
Interacting is not synonymous with co-parenting. In many situations, the adoptive family stays in contact with the birth parents out of mutual love for the child. While this style of adoption requires a deep level of trust, open adoption can positively impact the child.
With open adoption, there are even more people to love your child. It also means that your child will not have to search for their biological relatives later in life should they choose. Instead, they can build a relationship on their own terms with someone who resembles them.
Much of the stigma surrounding open adoption arises because these parenting roles aren’t defined much in society. But, with strong communication and trust, open adoption can be an excellent option for you and your family.
Adoption Is Easy
Anyone who has gone through the adoption process knows that it is not easy or simple. Adoption agencies want to be sure that the people who are applying for adoption truly understand and are willing to take on the responsibilities. Many steps need to be completed before any placement occurs.
Through a combination of educational courses, group support meetings, and home visits, the adoption process can take a long time to complete. It is also worth noting that placement is not a guarantee for couples who apply for adoption.
When you build your family through adoption, you have to decide what is important to you. Completing the necessary steps is not easy. Neither is the process of accepting and processing that your family will look different. While the adoption process is challenging, it is highly rewarding for those involved.
Adoption Is A Second Choice
There’s often a stigma that only couples struggling with infertility seek out adoption as a means of building a family. But, this is not true. Like everything in life, people are free to choose whatever path they desire to build out their families. Adoption is and always will be a valid avenue for creating a family.