This is the fifth in our series of common misconceptions about adoption.
X "Adopted kids are always screwed up. If you place for adoption, your baby will be, too."
I think it's funny now that I actually worried about this. There are several factors playing into this misconception. One is that people don't make the distinction between foster, international, and infant adoptions with birthparents making the choice to place. Which is not at all to say that children adopted through the state or internationally will be "screwed up" but those adoptions certainly come with different sets of challenges. The studies I've seen showed that children adopted within the first 6 months of life (barring any abuse or neglect) showed no negative repercussions as a result of having been adopted. When compared to their peers they did as well or better in areas of academics, behavior, identity, or feelings of belonging. Then, when compared to those raised by single, biological parents the gap widens.
I think another factor is, yet again, the influence of the past. In the "dark ages of adoption" there was no openness, no information, no communication from a birthparent, and there was alot of shame and secrecy. We've learned from these mistakes and we now see that those things contributed to feelings of abandonment and inferiority. In this day of open, real, working relationships between birth and adoptive families, a child knows they came from love to love. They were not unwanted. They have extra family who cherish them. There are no gaps in their identity. This is something that makes them special. We don't whisper about adoption anymore. There is nothing to hide!
Furthermore, you cannot imagine the screening and procedures a couple goes through to adopt these days. And infertility can be quite the refiner's fire. I think these folks are the cream of the crop! And after their work and wait and worry, and knowing the sacrifice it came from, they don't take parenthood lightly and they don't take their children for granted.
- Tamra Hyde, birth parent, board member of United For Adoption
Do you have an adoption myth you'd like to debunk? Send it to us.