Adoption Myths and Assumptions
Adoption is expensive. Although adoption costs can be across the board from $25,000-$50,000, the average domestic agency adoption costs $43,239 (Source: Adoption: By The Numbers). These expenses include agency fees, birth parent care, medical expenses (if insurance isn’t involved), and legal fees. Of course there are adoption professionals out there who do take advantage of some of these fees, but working with ethical professionals ensures adoptions expenses are used for the right purposes and that an adoptive family avoids the common financial pitfalls.
The good news is that financing an adoption isn’t impossible. I’ve walked with hundreds of families who never had that amount in their bank account but were able to finance their adoption with a little creativity and hard work. And were you to ask any of them, now they they have their child in their arms if it was worth it, they wouldn’t hesitate to say they would do it again in a heartbeat.
Myth: A family needs to have everything in order, especially their finances, before beginning the adoption process.
It’s common that families believe they have to have everything figured out before beginning their adoption journey. While there’s wisdom in having a plan, I’ve found that a lot of families can get paralyzed simply with the amount of decisions there are to be made in adoption. Where will we get the home study? How do we feel about open adoption? What about becoming a transracial family? How will we come up with the costs? How do we find a good attorney? The questions can seem endless.
The good news is adoptive families don’t have to have all of the answers to begin the process of adopting. The even better news? They don’t have to go it alone. There’s a limit to the amount of “googling” and information seeking that can be done on the front end and without knowing how to filter what’s helpful or not. Finding an adoption professional to help guide them and a community to support them is key to a successful adoption. Once that’s in place, a hopeful adoptive family can confidently move forward, knowing they have the resources at hand they need to adopt.
There’s an assumption that adoption looks a little like a fairy tale; with nothing but smiles, sweet stories, and “happily ever afters.” But adoption always begins with brokenness. The reality is that if sin and brokenness weren’t a part of our world, adoption wouldn’t be either; birth families would always be in a position to parent their children.
Adoption doesn’t just begin with brokenness; it can be woven throughout. There’s a child living outside their biological family, possibly outside their ethnic culture. There’s a birth family who continues a life without that child. The impact of the grief and infertility doesn’t go away simply because a family was grown through adoption. This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t meet us in our brokenness and can’t redeem it, but being aware of the tension that this reality creates is so valuable when considering all that’s involved in adoption.
For more on this topic: The Unexpected Journey of Adoption
But they always share one thing in common. Every single mother has a desperate, selfless, and sacrificial love for their child. Each one has made the courageous choice to do what they feel is best for their child, despite a tremendous desire for that to be to parent their child themselves. I’ve never met a birth mother who didn’t have a tremendous love for their baby.
It’s common that there is fear surrounding open adoption (for both the birth family and the adoptive family), but it’s often based on the misunderstanding that open adoption looks like coparenting. Instead, open adoption simply allows for some level of ongoing communication and relationship with between the birth and adoptive family. Instead of threatening the adoptive family, this relationship offers more people to love the child, first hand answers and clarity about the child’s adoption story, and assurances that adoption was in the best interest for the child. A recent longitudinal study showed support for open adoption and ongoing relationships and benefits for both birth families and adoptees, even into adolescence and adulthood.
The reality is that openness is both beautiful and challenging; a lot like many other important and valuable relationships in our lives. Some level of openness can offer tremendous benefits: a birth family can have the assurance that they made the right decision. An adoptee can know first hand about that decision and have critical information about their identify. And in addition to having key medical and social information for their child, and adoptive family can help build an incredibly valuable relationship for the entire adoption triad.
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