November is a time for family, friends, and food. But did you know that November is also National Adoption month? It is dedicated to recognizing adopted children and their families as well as those who are in the foster care system awaiting adoption.
Let’s take a look at some myths about adoption and discover why they are not rooted in evidence or facts.
Myth #1. Adopted children are less legitimate than biological children.
This is one of the most common myths and deeply rooted concerns about adoption for many people. The idea that adopting a child delegitimizes their place in their adoptive family is an antiquated and ignorant belief.
Adoptive parents have the goal of growing their family with adoption and just because they do not share the same genetic roots does not mean that they are “less than” compared to biological children. Families are made up of many different parts and there is no longer a standard for what a family should look like. What matters more is that the culture within each family consists of love, safety, and compassion.
Myth #2. Birth parents give up their children for adoption because they don’t want them and are not interested in them once they are out of their custody.
This is largely untrue. There can be so many complicated circumstances around the reasons why a birth mother chooses to put their child up for adoption. Regardless of the reason there is also no way we can fully understand her situation without being in her place.
Many birth mothers desire contact with their biological child, which makes open adoptions more prevalent than closed adoptions in the United States. In fact, those who were able to keep contact with their biological parents/family report better outcomes overall compared to those who have no contact.
Myth #3. Adopted kids and kids in the foster care system are unruly trouble makers often labeled as “bad kids”.
Let’s reframe that as “Adopted kids and kids in the foster care system have often experienced a lack of safety and control in their lives and therefore react in ways that make sense to increase their sense of control.” All behavior has a purpose. On the surface it may seem that kids who don’t behave or listen to authority are just disrespectful and are a lost cause.
However, being able to dig deeper into how the behaviors emerged and the reasons behind them can reveal that a lot of their actions are to keep them safe and are coping mechanisms. Kids have to be taught appropriate and healthy coping strategies and many kids in these situations have not had a stable and consistent adult in their lives to do so. They are simply doing their best with the tools that they have.
Adopting a child gives you the chance to model behaviors that better serve them and to create a sense of safety, which is what absolutely has to happen before they are able to make progress in other areas. Think about it. If you constantly feel threatened and unsafe it is hard to concentrate on anything else other than that and you do what you think is best to feel more safe. Same with kids.
There are other myths that can be addressed surrounding adoption. This just gives a glimpse into the actual reality of adoption, which is a life changing experience for both parents and kids. The transition may take time to settle into a way of life that works for the family and there are sure to be bumps along the way as with any parenting situation. What matters at the end of the day is loving adoptive kids the same as you would your biological kid. Adoption comes with a lot of unique challenges and also a sense of joy.
We at Mindsight want to be able to support you, no matter if you are thinking about adoption, have adopted, or are adopted. Every situation is unique and sometimes it can be a lonely one to navigate. If you feel like you want to talk about things like this or any other mental health concern please give us a call at 606-401-2966!
Allie Morris is a new clinician at Mindsight. She is obsessed with her Maltipoo, Mollie, and she will happily bombard you with photos. In her free time, she participates in activities such as bird watching, giving her plants a pep talk, and trying out new recipes with an 80% success rate. She can often be found in a hammock outside sipping a bubble tea and serenading the neighbors with her ukulele.
Meet Mollie, Allie's Maltipoo who has three looks mostly: fluffy, summer chic, and judgment.
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