11 Stereotypes Adoptive Parents and Families Face

Despite being around for such a long time, adoption is still a mystery to many people, and stereotypes still exist about it.

Adoptive parents and families face many stereotypes.  Here are some common ones.

  1. Birth parents didn’t want to keep or didn’t love the child they placed for adoption. There are many birth parents that chose to place their children for adoption because of the unfortunate circumstances they have faced in life. Most birth parents love their children very much.
  2. Adoptive parents chose adoption because of infertility issues. Many adoptive families chose adoption because they love children and hate to see children orphaned. Many already have biological children before they begin their adoption journey.
  3. Adopted children come from other countries. While it is true that many children around the world are orphans and need loving parents, there are many children in our own country that need loving parents. You cannot tell if a child is adopted or not by just looking at them.
  4. Domestic adopted children were adopted at birth. Many children are adopted at older ages. Many children are adopted out of the foster care system, and many are adopted by their stepparents.
  5. Adoption is always expensive. Many international adoptions are very expensive and can range anywhere from $20,000-$50,000. Foster care adoptions are much cheaper than that, and the state from which you are adopting may even cover the costs of adoption. Adoption out of the foster care system usually costs $1,200 if not covered by the state.
  6. Adoptive parents are heroes. We have been called saints. Adoptive parents are not heroes or saints. We are simply people who love children and know that every child deserves a loving home. The heroes are the children who come into our homes and our hearts.
  7. Adoption involves strangers. Adoption can involve family members. Many grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, etc. become adoptive parents.
  8. The adoption process is long and arduous. Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s straightforward and easy. Each adoption is unique and faces its own challenges, but a long waiting period and loads of paperwork is not always the case.
  9. Adoptive parents and children will bond. The bonding process can take months or even years. You do not automatically love someone who is in your home. The bonding process takes time and should not be rushed or abated because it isn’t going as expected. Some adoptive parents face post-adoption depression, similar to postpartum depression.
  10. Adopted children have issues. Yes, many adopted children have attachment issues. Many have trauma from past abuse, however, these children are victims of circumstances they couldn’t control and just want to be loved and accepted.
  11.  Teenagers are scary. Teenagers need love and acceptance just as much as younger children. Many have experienced more hurt and abuse than any adult will ever experience. While many may have emotional wounds and trauma to cause them to act out, many are actually normal teens who need support as they become adults.

Being an Adoptive Family Looks like This

Whether you're actively considering adoption or you're just curious, you may be wondering what being in an adoptive family is like.

I’m a mom; I probably look like every other mom you’ll ever meet. I play chauffeur, I plan my life around my daughter’s activities, I volunteer at school, I help with homework when I can…I do mom things. Why should my life as a mom look any different than any other average mom just because my body didn’t carry my child? In my opinion, it shouldn’t.

We were very lucky to become adoptive parents to my beautiful baby girl when she was a brand spanking new baby. She has grown up knowing us as her mother and father and also with the knowledge that she was adopted at birth. We have always been straight forward and open with her about the subject of her adoption; she’s even met her birth mother. But that’s where the line of differences is drawn…by EVERY other means…she IS our daughter.

I never knew I could love another person as much as I love her; I never knew I’d be willing to sacrifice everything in my world to make hers better; I never knew a smile could warm my heart like hers, nor did I know just how much every little aspect in my life would change when I became a mom…but it did, regardless of the fact that my body did not carry her.

Granted I did not have the nine months of pregnancy, my body did not grow and expand as she grew within me, but my heart grew as much as any heart could grow, knowing that I would become a mother the way life intended me to become one. Why should it matter that my body did not create her or carry her? In my mind, it doesn’t.

She looks just like a female version of her father with a little bit of me tucked in around the edges; she’s beautiful, she’s sweet and kind, and she’s a good mix of both of her father and I, which also means no one can win an argument in the house because she also has adopted our logic as her own. When we’re out in public people always comment about how much she looks like her father and how she’s the mini version of me in her mannerisms and attitude.

Like any other child I’ve ever met, she’s a mix of both her father and me. Her taste of music is much like her father’s, but she’s also artistic like me. She likes to try everything either of us are doing for herself. She loves to cook like her grandmother, she has my sense of sarcasm and her dad’s curiosity with science and math. She loves to play with her cousins, she values everyone in our extended family…we’ve raised her the way we would have raised her even if she was our biological child. In our minds we see no difference.

It matters not to us or to those who know her or our family that she was not born from my body; what matters is the fact that she’s a kind, sweet, and sensitive person, truly interested in other people with an unbelievable bond to all animals and a desire to learn, grow and excel. In every single sense of the word, she IS our daughter; plain, simple and true. The fact that she is adopted is simply not an issue. Our adoptive family is just as solid, just as loving, and just as natural as everyone else’s, adoption aside, because to us it truly isn’t any different.