Myths and stereotypes are usually born out of a lack of knowledge and can be spurred on by fear. Numerous children are waiting for adoption and more are born everyday. The time has come to debunk some of the common myths surrounding adoption and clear the path for children to find loving homes.
Partly from programs like MTV's "16 and Pregnant," a common misconception is that most birthmothers putting their children up for adoption are young and irresponsible. Through the decades mothers that chose to give their child over to another family were wrought with shame and society created an atmosphere that forced an 'A' to be worn on the sleeve.
The majority of women placing for adoption are in their mid 20s and come from a variety of backgrounds. Though there are many teen moms, often birthmothers are simply realistic adults that may already have children and know the commitment they require.
"Adoption is changing in that girls are older in making that decision," said Denise Nomura, co-director of Heritage Family Services. "There is no real profile in women that place for adoption. There are all ages, socioeconomic backgrounds and educational levels. It is those who somehow have that vision about what a child needs and the ability to do what it takes to make sure he or she has a good life."
Often times, families are afraid to adopt for fear that the child will have issues that adoptive parents can't control. While nature versus nurture will continue to be argued, fear of the future is something that biological parents and adoptive parents will have to address. Each individual is a result of generations before them and their environment.
"A common myth is that adoptees have more prevalence to psychological issues," said Denise Schoborg of Dillon International. "Actually research says otherwise and it shows that adoptees do just as well as biological children in terms of adjustment and emotional issues."
For families that are considering adoption, historically it was viewed as a second rate option to having a family. While this stereotype has largely flown the coupe, for circles that are a little behind the curve, families are formed via several avenues now and adoption is no less a vehicle than biological birth.
"Adoption is not a consolation prize," said Mike Nomura, co-director of Heritage Family Services. "It's an alternative and just as valid as other methods. Parents who adopt put all of their heart and soul into parenting, just like parents who have a child biologically."
For all parties involved, stereotypes and myths live on because individuals are not educated in the area of adoption. While many fears can be reinforced by media or isolated situations, rallying behind the 1.5 million adopted U.S. children and their families can only increase awareness and continue to bring positive change to the process.
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