Before you actually begin the process of adopting a child, there may be a lot you don’t know. Your only knowledge of adoption may come from media coverage of celebrity adoptions or memoirs written by adoptive parents. Many people have preconceived assumptions about adoption because of the way adoption is portrayed in pop culture. These (often negative) assumptions might make you fret over whether or not adoption is really right for you. But before you rule out adoption because of misconceptions, get the facts by asking your agency as many questions as you can think of and doing your homework. To start, read on as we dispel some of the most common myths about adoption.
1. Only the wealthy can afford adoption.
While adoptions range in costs and not everyone will have the money upfront, it isn’t always expensive. There are also many resources available to help ensure that adoption can be possible for families of all income levels. Check out our blog on how to afford adoption for more tips on paying for adoption.
2. All of the babies are already adopted.
While the demand for babies is higher, and not as many are put up for adoption, there are still infants and very young children waiting for homes. AFFEC often represents many children between 2 and 3 years old, and other agencies and paths for adoption can lead you to children even younger. If you have your heart set on adopting an infant, it may require patience, but it is definitely still a possibility.
3. I can’t adopt if I’m not married.
While not all adoption agencies are welcoming towards single parents, there is no reason a single person cannot adopt. The only true prerequisites for being an adoptive parent are that you are financially stable and able to give the child the care they need.
4. Adoptions take forever.
While some adoptions can be finalized relatively quickly, it all depends on the type of adoption. Usually, the timeframe is between one and three years, but in some cases, it can take much longer. If you are flexible, you can choose to adopt a child based on the estimated adoption time frame for that particular child. Here is some information on types of adoptions that are generally faster.
5. I’m too old to adopt.
Having biological children later in life can be risky and isn’t always an option for everyone. Adoption is a wonderful way to start the family you have always wanted, no matter how old you are. In fact, more and more people over 50 are starting to adopt.
6. Adopting a child will never be the same as having a biological child.
While it is true that you will miss out on experiencing pregnancy, and in many cases, you will not know the child from birth, in many ways, parenting an adopted child will be exactly the same as parenting a biological child. You will have to learn to love them unconditionally, take care of their needs, teach them how to be responsible young people, and support their dreams. Don’t get hung up on the parts of having a biological child that you are “missing out on” by adopting. Instead, think of all that you gain through the incredible, unique experience.
7. Domestic adoption is ‘better than’ international adoption and vice versa.
Every country has different adoption policies and procedures. While the costs of international adoption can be higher and the process can take longer, it all depends on your specific adoption situation and the agency from which you are adopting. No adoption route is better or worse than any other; it all depends on what your preferences are. No matter what you choose, you’ll still become a parent to a wonderful child in need.
8. Only straight couples can adopt children.
Although some faith-based adoption agencies unfortunately put their beliefs before the needs of the children they represent and bar gay couples from adopting, AFFEC and others do not discriminate. Research shows that children who grow up under the care of a same-sex couple do as well as their peers who have heterosexual parents. To find an agency that welcomes LGBT parents, click here.
Choosing to adopt, like any major life decision, takes a lot of thought. You will have to examine all your options and think about what type of adoption will work best for you. Know that it won’t always be a simple, short and sweet process, but in the end, you won’t regret your choice to take this route to parenthood.