If you’re an adoptee, birth mother, or adoptive parent and you’re like me, you probably have heard many people say things to you about adoption that make you want to cringe! Now, I know I likely heard (or maybe even thought) these things before adopting my daughter and really understanding adoption but I’m so glad to have learned better now. I want to help others learn too!
Some of the statements I have heard about adoption that make me want to cringe:
I wanted to have kids “of my own” before I turned to adoption.
Don’t birth mothers get a ton of money for “selling their babies” since adoption is so expensive?
Your child is so lucky to have been adopted.
So, each of these are bothersome to me for different reasons.
The first makes it imply that a child through adoption isn’t a child “of my own”. I understand that some people try to have kids biologically first before adopting, but it doesn’t make that child one that isn’t their own or somehow second best…
The second one is false for many reasons. In most states, expectant moms can only receive “reasonable living expenses” during their pregnancy if they are considering an adoption plan, and most states limit those living expenses to a certain period post-partum. In some states, those living expenses have to be approved by a judge, in a some others they are capped, but generally expectant mothers are not “selling their babies”. Now, paying living expenses can result in coercion in many cases or at least a pressure on the expectant mother to place the child, so they can be problematic. But let’s be clear that a birth mother isn’t “selling their baby” and it is not the birth mother that is demanding the high cost of adoption these days.
The last one I know I’ve touched on before. This statement makes it seem like a child through adoption is “lucky” to have gone through the inherent loss that exists in adoption. Lucky to have been separated from their biology, their family, their culture and their heritage. It also makes it seem like a child through adoption is better off in the adoptive home than they would have been had their family not made an adoption plan, which is not necessarily the case, even if the adoptive family has more resources.
I could keep going with many more, but today, I want to hear from other people in the triad (adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents) about the statements that make them cringe, and the reasons for it, and let’s help educate people on why these things are so not what adoption is (or should be) about!