Imagine you’re sitting in a circle of people. One person whispers something into someone else’s ear, who then nods and whispers it into the ear of the next person. The game continues until the phrase passed around gets back to the one who started it. Sound familiar? It’s a classic ice-breaker, and can be a lot of fun, particularly because the phrase whispered rarely ends up how it was first stated. There’s a rule that you can’t hear it more than twice. After that, you have to pass along whatever it is you thought you heard.
It doesn’t take much for a rumor to develop. Some spread faster than others. Depending on how “juicy” the news is deemed. From them, unfortunate stereotypes and other forms of falsehoods appear. We’ve seen this happen with birth mothers and adoptive parents. Sadly, there are also myths about adoptees. Following are some of the most popular ones. Our hope is that we can provide the information and education necessary to put all of this to rest.
Myth #1: Open Adoption is Confusing for Adoptees
Fact: On the contrary! Open adoption strengthens an adoptee’s sense of self. It provides them with medical history and permits contact with their birth families from the beginning. What’s more, adoptees in an open adoption gain a better understanding of their adoption story, and why their birth parents placed them for adoption. There is no confusion as to who an adoptee’s “real” parents are. Mom and Dad are the people who love and support them no matter what. Who care for them in sickness and in health. Their birth parents, on the other hand, are the individuals who gave them life and wanted to give them the best life possible. Adoptees share special relationships with both sets of parents.
In reality, open adoption establishes open and honest communication for adoptees. Any time there are questions, adoptees can ask and receive answers. This, then, helps adoptees develop a stronger sense of self. To have an overall stronger grasp on their identity and where they came from.
Myth #2: Adoptees are Troubled / Have Issues
Fact: Nope. Nine times out of ten, adoptees have positive things to say about their adoptions. Unlike the myth about adoptees that says they are troubled children, or come with a lot of issues, 88% of those six years and older display favorable social behaviors. Most adoptees are in excellent health, live in safe neighborhoods and homes, and are being raised by two adoptive parents. In addition, over half of all school-aged children excel in subjects including, but not limited to: reading, language arts and math.
That said, adoptees are indeed only human. There is a percentage who feel loss, rejection and abandonment; who struggle through self-esteem issues or loneliness. Who, in turn, will encounter more difficulties, and may come forward with questions regarding their origin. However, it’s important to note that adoptees are similar to non-adopted children as they grow up. Some days they will wake up happy, while others they will fall into fits of crying. Meltdowns don’t equal signs of trauma. That’s just part of being a kid.
Myth #3: Adoptees won’t “Fit In”
Fact: That’s inaccurate. Whether adopted or not, all children can struggle with fitting in. It’s part of the development process. When they are learning who they are, what the world is like, and what potential role they play. Something similar can be said of parents as well. Each and every parent, adoptive or not, can find it challenging to connect with their children. Sometimes, they are able to connect better with one over another.
It’s been said that adoptees don’t fit in with their adoptive families, or are unable to connect, because “blood is thicker than water.” In other words, adoptive parents and siblings spend more time with each other than they do the adoptee. But, this isn’t true. It actually has nothing to do with this. All of us want to belong. To feel valued. If your adoptee feels like a true part of the family, and his or her interests and accomplishments are celebrated, they will fit perfectly.
Myth #4: Growing Up as an Adoptee is Not That Different
Fact: Incorrect. Reality for an adoptee isn’t that simple. There are too many factors to consider to make a blanket statement like this. For instance, not all adoptees have the same temperament, genetics or post adoption support. So, each and every one will process their adoption differently, including how they grieve leaving their birth mother. Even as a newborn, adoptees will sense the change and need time to adjust. While some may make the transition without issues, others may carry the psychological experience around for longer.
As a parent, it’s important to realize that raising kids isn’t an easy task. No two children are alike, so you shouldn’t assume that they will be. Adopted or biological, every child you have will come with their own set of challenges. Raising one isn’t easier than the other.
Myth #5: Adoptees wouldn’t Search if They Loved Their Families
Fact: False. Adoptees yearn to know their heritage. Where they came from. It doesn’t mean that they don’t love their families, or that their adoptive parents somehow failed. No. Rather, adoptees want to know more about themselves. Health risks. Medical history. What their lives could have looked like. It’s natural. Without any concrete or tangible information, it’s not uncommon for adoptees to fantasize answers, and then come to believe them later in life.
Deciding to search can be an excruciating process for an adoptee, because of how much they love their families. They don’t want to come across ungrateful or insensitive. Like they are abandoning or rejecting the only family they’ve known. They just want to find answers, to discover their roots and instill a stronger sense of self.
Myths about Adoptees
No child is perfect. Genetic or otherwise. Thus, it’s unfair to make generalizations and form myths just because one is an adoptee. Before you adopt, your state may require you to take training courses. These classes are meant to provide the necessary information and education to best prepare you to raise an adoptee. We find that this is the best way to put a stop to any misunderstandings when it comes to adoptees.
Adoption Choices of New York
For more information on adoption or if you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of New York.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.
“Adoption – We Got Lucky.” Creating a Family, 27 Apr. 2015, creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/we-got-lucky/.
“Adoption Myth 4: If Adoptees Loved Their Family, They Wouldn’t Be Searching.” Graceful Adoptions, 28 Nov. 2018, gracefuladoptions.com/adoption-myth-4-if-adoptees-loved-their-family-they-wouldnt-be-searching/.
Donvito, Tina. “16 Myths About Adoption You Need to Stop Believing.” Reader’s Digest, www.rd.com/advice/parenting/myths-about-adoption/.
Rosenhaus, Nancy. “Adoption Facts vs. Adoption Myths.” Adoptions With Love, 29 July 2019, adoptionswithlove.org/uncategorized/adoption-facts-vs-myths.