We've come across so many misconceptions about adoption since first deciding to start the process earlier this year. Honestly, many of these were things we believed, too. Richard's mom and uncle were adopted and I grew up with foster kids in our home for a time, but we still knew so little.
After hours of training, reading and talking to both birth moms and adoptive families, we've learned a few things about what adoption looks like in 2016... though we still have so much more to learn!
In the mean time, here are four misconceptions about adoption that make us chuckle.
“You can get a baby for free through foster care.”
First off, leave “get” at the door. (How we talk about adoption is so important.)
Second, of course we checked into adopting through foster care before committing to almost $30k to grow our family!
Foster care provides safe places for children while their parents work to fix whatever went wrong in the first place. The ultimate goal is always
to reunite the parents with their children— not adoption. Social workers will work with the parents... and then the immediate family... and then the foster parents to find the best home for children.
Also, young children are very rarely adopted out of foster care in Florida. The main reason is that everyone wants a baby, so birth families usually find a way to keep the child in their family. Birth order is important to us and we want a sibling for Clara now, so domestic infant adoption is the best option for us.
“International adoption is faster and cheaper.”
HA HA HA.
While this might have been true years ago, international adoption went on a diet to prevent human trafficking
. Now many countries have closed international adoption, and others have set strict guidelines.
Many countries have specific age and financial qualifications adoptive parents have to meet to adopt from there.
While the actual adoption fees might be lower than adopting domestically in the US, the additional travel costs will usually run up a bill much higher than what we anticipate.
Also, the process can take much longer even after being matched with a child. And since we'd like a child younger than Clara and also, um, yesterday, international adoption isn’t for us right now.
“Get the baby and run!”
Shifting this idea has probably been the biggest change with our thinking since beginning the adoption process. We thought what was best was to adopt a baby and pretend like his or her story was no different than that of our biological daughter.
While our love for this child will absolutely be the same, this baby’s birth story will be such an important part of his or her life. Now we hope for a completely open adoption where our child has so many people who love him or her and never has questions about where he or her came from.
“Can’t get pregnant? Just go adopt!”
The thought that adoption is an easy alternative to birthing a baby is just laughable.
The application, the classes, the home study, the cost, the waiting, the chances of a failed adoption… not only is adopting almost always a longer process than carrying a child for nine months, but it can be much more invasive and expensive.