I didn’t want to adopt. At least not in the beginning. Back in college, as my wife and I were planning our future life together, she told me she wanted to adopt all of our children instead of have them biologically. I scoffed. It wasn’t that I was against adoption, I just didn’t understand it!
I’ll never forget the night. We were sitting in front of our college campus library, in my metallic blue firebird (I loved that car!), when she told me this. An argument broke out. It wasn’t a bad one, but it was a thorough disagreement. My angle was this- “We did things one way in my family: graduate from college, land a good job, get married to a pretty girl, and start making mini-me’s. It was that simple!”
I was clueless.
Thankfully, my wife’s big heart won out, and God changed mine. It took a few years, but my perspective changed. For that, I’m grateful. I could not imagine my life without my amazing, adventurous, beautiful children, all of whom are adopted. It’s been an amazing adventure!
As I reflect back on those early days, I realize that my resistance and aversion to adoption came from 2 places:
- My fear of the unknown.
- A buy-in to some big myths.
I believed several things about adoption that really weren’t true. You couldn’t blame me though. I lived in a world that, for the most part, had a big misunderstanding of what adoption really was.
I’ve been there. I’ve believed these myths. And I’m willing to bet a few of you have too. I want to dispel them and share the truth. The hope is that my own experience will help those reading this gain a new understanding of what adoption is, and isn’t!
5 BIG ADOPTION MYTHS:
“I won’t be able to love my adopted children as much as my biological children.”
Love is a choice, no matter what the situation is. You have to choose to love your wife, your husband, your children, your latte, your car, your dog, the list goes on. You choose to love the children God gives you, whether or not they are biologically yours or not. I feared this myth very briefly in the beginning of our adoption journey. But once my first daughter stared into my eyes, and later called me “daddy,” the myth was dispelled!
“I’m afraid my children will want their birth-parent(s) more than me.”
Your children will want their mommy or daddy and that’s you! There will be days when they lash out, and scream “I want my ‘real mommy,’ or ‘real daddy!'” It happened to us on quite a few occasions. And, yes, it hurt. It will hurt you too. But remember who picks them up when they’re falling apart. Remember who kisses their wounds and wipes their tears away. Remember who is there to feed them and clothe them and listen to their broken hearts. It’s you! They want you. Deep in their hearts this rings true.
“If I have an open-adoption with their birth-parent, my child will be confused.”
Your child will be confused over tons of stuff in life. They will probably have some confusion over who exactly that other person is and that’s okay. You minimize the confusion over who you are verses who birth parents are when you stay calm and consistent in your mood and lingo, and when you clearly explain things openly to your child. Don’t mask the fact that they’re adopted, or try to stay hush hush about it. Your child gets it. You will add confusion when you do this.
“It’s better to wait until my child is older to tell them they are adopted.”
This is a huge MYTH! In our case, our first 3 children were African-American, so the joke would’ve been on us if we waited. Believing this myth does no good for you or your children. They will resent you, in some fashion, if you wait until you believe they are old enough, or understand, or get it, to tell them they’re adopted. Be honest. Be open. And, by all means, celebrate adoption, theirs especially. On a semi-related note- celebrate their birth parents too. Make sure you always hold your child’s birth parent in high regard for making the choice to place them for adoption!
“People will judge me and think I’m weird.”
People are already judging you. This is nothing new. You, and everyone else in this world, are being sized up, glared at, whispered about, gawked at, pointed at, ignored, and judged. Even if you can establish your life as “normal” in some way (not sure what that means), you will still be judged for something. You can’t escape it. I wrestled over the judgement thing a lot, early on in our adoption journey. When I finally realized that I couldn’t escape it, I stopped caring about other people’s opinions and focused on the most important thing- my beautiful family and my precious children!
Adoptive parents: what are some other myths out there when it comes to adoption?