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Myths About Adoption vs. Adoption Facts

The internet has so much information about adoption and not all of it is correct.  Catholic Charities Adoption Services strives to educate all parties about the adoption process.  Our goal is to debunk the myths about adoption and simple provide valid, clear adoption facts such as these  Click the arrow on each segment to see all the questions and answers to the different facts about adoption.

Myth: There are very few children being placed for adoption.

Adoption Fact: About 20,000 U.S.-born infants are placed for adoption each year

Myth: Birth mothers are typically young, immature teenagers.

Adoption Fact:  More than half of the births in the United States are to single or married women under the age of 45.  Although teenagers make adoption plans, a large percentage of birth mothers are women in their 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s and many are moms raising other children. Placing a child for adoption takes a great deal of love, courage, and maturity. Birth mothers choose adoption because they want to give their child a chance at life.  Birth mothers are encouraged to take an active role in making an adoption plan.

Myth: Adoption is a selfish, easy solution – for an unexpected pregnancy – made by expectant parents who don't care about their child.

Adoption Fact:  Birth parents choosing adoption are making a loving, courageous parenting decision.  This option allows them to give a child life and fulfil their parenting responsibilities. In order to do this, they must put their own needs aside in order to focus on what is best for the child.  Placing a child for adoption is a sign of maturity, responsibility, and selflessness.  Adoption is by no means taking the easy way out.  It is a difficult decision, and birth parents deserve to have people around them who support their choices; Support can come from family and friends, or from adoption counselors and other professionals.

Myth: No one can love a child as much as a birth mother or birth father does.

Adoption Fact:  Adoptive parents can love their child as fully and selflessly as biological parents can.  Studies show that adopted children report feeling very loved by adoptive parents and never doubt that love.  The absence of biological connection does not determine the adoptive parents’ love for their children.  Because adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to be honest with their children about their adoption, most children grow up with the knowledge that they were loved very much by both their birth parents and adoptive parents.

Myth: The birth mother will regret her decision for the rest of her life and have serious emotional problems.

Adoption Fact:  Birth mothers who understand that the adoption decision gives their child a stable future of opportunity and love, and who receive counseling before and after making an adoption plan, can live the rest of their lives knowing they’ve given their child a very special gift.

Myth: Adoption is a more traumatic experience for a woman than abortion.

Fact: With an abortion, the pain of deep regret may continue for a lifetime. Adoption, when understood correctly, is initially painful but it can be followed by a lifetime of satisfaction for having given her child a chance at life.

Myth: The adoption process is secretive and a birth parent will never know anything about their child and their adoptive parents in the following years.

Adoption Fact: Adoption has changed over the years.  Now birth families can select the child’s adoptive family, meet the adoptive family, receive on-going information about the child, receive pictures on a regular basis and, in some cases, have visits with the child and adoptive family.

Myth: A birth family will eventually forget about the child for whom they made an adoption plan.

Adoption Fact:  A birth family making an adoption plan will never forget.  They will not want to forget.  What they can do is continue on with their life without being emotionally crippled by their loss.  When they do remember, they can remember that they made the most loving, mature and selfless decision possible

Myth: Adoption damages the child.

Adoption Fact:  Studies show that adopted and non-adopted children are not different in adjustment, delinquency or mental health. Adopted teenagers are as emotionally stable as non-adopted teenagers.  Adopted individuals do not have more family problems than non-adopted people. The child can grow up knowing that his/her family was created by adoption and understanding that his/her birth mother selflessly planned a wonderful future for her child. The child can be grateful for the birth parents’ choice of adoption.

Myth: Open adoption is confusing to children and a form of co-parenting.

Adoption Fact:  Children in open adoptions are not confused by contact with their birth parents. Even at an early age, children can understand the different roles of their adoptive families and birth families: birth parents gave them life and adoptive parents care for and nurture them. In open adoption, the line between family members is clearly defined. The adoptive parents and birth parents do not have shared custody. Adoptive parents are responsible for all of decisions relating to their child’s welfare. Birth parents may be involved in the children’s lives, but they do not have legal rights or responsibilities for the child.

Myth: Adoptive parents often break their openness agreements with their child's birth parents.

Adoption Fact:  It’s true that not every adoption agreement goes as smoothly as planned. However, in our experience, adoptive parents who have been properly counseled understand the benefits of maintaining an ongoing relationship with their child’s birth parents, and are more likely to adhere to the arrangement.

Myth: Placing a child with a family of another race or ethnicity is bound to cause problems for the child.

Adoption Fact:  More than fifty years of research on transracial and transcultural adoptions, as well as research on Black children adopted by Caucasian parents, disproves this myth. Trans-racially and trans-culturally adopted children usually adjust well, with strong racial identity, self-esteem, and attachment to their family.