It is hard these days to find anyone who is unaware of adoption. People are connected as an adoptive or birth parent or having been adopted themselves. They may be related by adoption or be a significant person in an adoptive family’s life, or a friend, or an acquaintance or colleague. More television shows, movies and commercials include adoptive families.
So why are there so many misconceptions? I will tackle a few here.
THERE ARE NO KIDS AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION
While the pandemic decreased the numbers of adoptions, there have always been children of all ages available to adopt. Singles and couples can pursue adoptions through private agencies and attorneys or the foster care system. There are children in every state in the United States as well as several countries around the world.
IT TAKES YEARS
There are no specific time frames for adoption. You start with a homestudy conducted by a social worker or agency (depends on where you live and the type of adoption you are doing). This requires a series of interviews and a home visit that must result in a favorable recommendation and it will specify the characteristics of a child for which you are approved. The homestudy process can take anywhere from 1-6 months to complete. Once you have that approval, the process to locate a child may begin. The actual time until a child is placed in your home can be anywhere from immediately to several years. After placement, it may take several months or years to finalize the adoption.
SINGLES AND LGBTQ FAMILIES CANNOT ADOPT
Birthparents, who often choose the adoptive family, look at singles or LGBTQ couples along with heterosexual couples. No one can predict which family will be chosen. Birthparents are often given several families to choose from. Birthmothers have chosen 2 dads. Some, having been raised by a strong single mother, want the same for their child. It is important to ask the attorney or agency you plan to work with, what their experience has been with a family such as yours, to make sure they will be your best advocate.
REMAINING IN CONTACT WITH BIRTHPARENTS IS UNHEALTHY
Each adoption will include time to discuss the relationship between birth and adoptive parents during the pregnancy and after placement. “Open adoption” can take many forms: texting and sending emails, sharing pictures, talking or having video calls or in-person meetings. It is not co-parenting. The adoptive parents are raising the child and making the important day-to-day decisions. By maintaining contact with birth family, your child can get direct answers to questions and, as they, grow, an understanding of why the adoption plan was made. In addition, when a child is aware of their adoption and knows their birth family from an early age, it is a “normal” family dynamic. Note: international adoptions or those through foster care may not have this option. However, it does not mean a child may not wonder about their birth family or want to search for information or reunion when they are older.
BEFORE YOU START
There are obviously many things to consider. The more you know about parenting through adoption before starting the process, the better. Staying in touch with other families formed through adoption, after you adopt, is important. Creating the opportunity for your child to interact with other adoptive children is a plus. Adoption professionals and support groups are available throughout the United States to help you understand adoption and adoptive parenting. . You have many opportunities to get guidance if you need help.
The upcoming virtual ADOPTIVE PARENTS CONFERENCE being held 11/20/22 is a great place to find all sorts of information on the adoption process and adoptive parenting. Best of luck to you in your adoption process.
Kathy Ann Brodsky, LCSW is a New York and New Jersey licensed social worker, adoptive mom and advocate for ethical adoption practice. Through her private practice and agency affiliations, she has prepared thousands of adoption homestudies, counseled expectant, birth, pre/post adoptive parents and adopted persons, as well as trained professionals to work with adoptive families. She was Director of the Ametz Adoption Program of JCCA, a member of the Advisory Board for POV’s Adoption Series and a past member of the Adoption Advisory Board of Path2Parenthood and the Adoption Professional Advisory Council of HelpUSAdopt. She is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the Family Equality Council and provides support & information for the Adoptive Parents Committee New York City Chapter, as well as through her private practice. Her blogs and written contributions can be seen throughout the Internet, including her BLOG and as Head Writer for ADOPTION.NET She was named an “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2001. You can reach her directly.