Are Children Happily Adopted? [Dispelling 7 Adoption Myths]
Here’s something a lot of people don’t know: Birth parents often choose adoption because they want what’s best for the child.
Misconceptions and cultural stereotypes may make it seem like birth parents don’t care about their child, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They care deeply. That’s why they often ask:
“If I give my child up for adoption, will he have a good life?”
“Do children like being given up for adoption?”
“Will my child know me, and understand why I made this choice?”
The answer to these questions will depend on the adoptees’ personal experience, but many grow up happily adopted. The well-being of the adoptees is at the center of adoption. Birth parents are choosing adoption to give their baby a better life and the adoptive parents are committed to making sure their child feels loved and has everything they need.
In this article, we go in depth about what it means to be happily adopted.
To get more information about what emotions kids “given up for adoption” feel, reach out to an adoption specialist today to get the answers you need.
Busting 7 Adoption Myths
There are many harmful adoption myths surrounding the emotions of adoptees. Below, we break down seven common adoption myths and what the truth really is.
Myth 1. Most Adoptees Don’t Know They’re Adopted
This is a myth often perpetuated by tropes in TV shows and movies. An unsuspecting child finds out they’re adopted either by happenstance or in a sit-down conversation with their parents and are stunned by the revelation. This may be vaguely reflective of how adoption used to be, but this is far from the truth in modern adoptions.
Most modern adoptions today are open adoptions. In fact, at American Adoptions, one of the requirements prospective adoptive parents must meet is being open to some level of openness with the birth parents when the adoption is complete.
Open adoptions allow for the birth parents to stay in contact with the adoptive family and their child through:
Texts and phone calls
Because of this open communication, nearly all adoptees today grow up knowing their own adoption story, which is a vital component to being happily adopted.
Myth 2. Adoptees Never Know Their Birth Parents
Once again, thanks to open adoption, this is untrue.
Since most adoptions were closed in previous decades, many of those adoptees grew up not knowing who their birth parents were. This left many adoptees with unanswered questions.
Because of the adverse effects that closed adoptions had on adoptees and birth parents, this type of adoption has almost become obsolete in recent years. Open adoptions allow for adoptees to have some degree of contact with their birth parents. For many, this allows them to grow up happily adopted knowing they are loved by two families.
Diana was placed in an open adoption when this wasn’t as common. Her birth parents have been present in her life since day one.
“My birth parents were young and weren’t ready to raise a baby,” says Diana, an adoptee. “They didn’t stay in a relationship, but they both visited when they could — since before I can remember, they’ve just been there and their presence was a normal thing.”
Myth 3. Open Adoptions Are Confusing
Another harmful misconception is that open adoptions will confuse adoptees about who their “real parents” are. So, what emotions do kids “given up for adoption” feel in an open adoption?
Happily adopted children who have been involved in an open adoption have never had any doubts about who their parents are. They will always regard as the adoptive parents who raised them, cared for them and loved them as their parents.
While it’s important and beneficial for the adoptee to be connected with their birth parents, this relationship cannot replace that of the lifelong bond they have had with their adoptive parents.
Myth 4. Adoption is Giving Up
This myth couldn’t be more untrue. While it’s common to hear phrases like “give a baby up for adoption” or “give up a baby for adoption,” that is not what is happening at all.
John, an adoptee, came to realize how inaccurate that phrasing is.
“Between the ages of 8 and 10, I realized that Judy and Travis, my birth parents, must have really cared about me,” says John. “To this day I can only imagine how hard it must be to give up your child, your own flesh and blood, without knowing if you will ever see him or her again. Over the years, Judy and I have written letters back and forth. The letters helped me to understand that she cared, and still cares, a lot about me.”
Adoption is never giving up. It is a brave and selfless act that takes more courage than most of us will ever know. Birth parents choose adoption to give their baby the life that they may not be able to provide in their current situation. Because their birth parents chose adoption, adoptees have the chance to grow up happily adopted with a life full of opportunity and stability.
Myth 5. Adoptive Parents Only Want Kids of “Their Own”
There is a negative assumption that adoptive parents are really only interested in having “their own” biological children and that they are choosing adoption begrudgingly. This is incredibly false.
While it might sometimes be true that adoptive parents may have chosen adoption after struggling with infertility, adoptive parents love their child just as much as they would a biological child. Many parents who have happily adopted their child may also have done so because they are a single parent, an LGBT couple or simply because they wanted to.
No matter what leads the adoptive parents to choose adoption, they are committed to doing everything they can to give their child a life full of love and happiness. Whether adopted or biological, the child is “their own.”
Myth 6. Adoptees Resent Their Birth Parents
This is perhaps the most common adoption myth. Many birth parents worry their child will hate them for placing them for adoption. This is highly untrue.
“I feel no resentment towards my biological parents; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’m grateful for what they did. One day, I’m going to meet them. And when I do, I’m going to thank them for what they did for me,” says John, an adoptee.
Many adoptees grow up happily adopted because they have some form of a relationship with their birth parents through open adoption. This allows them to get to know their birth parents and ask questions.
Others have more difficult feelings about their birth families — often due to closed adoption situations that prevent the child from truly understanding their own adoption story.
Understanding that adoption was a difficult choice for their birth parent made out of love often makes the adoptee feel more connected to their birth parent.
Myth 7. Adoptees Resent Their Adoptive Parents
Some adoptive parents worry that their adopted child will grow to resent them for not being their “real parents.” This isn’t even close to being true. In fact, “real parents” are just parents. The child will know that they were happily adopted by their parents.
American Adoptions founder, Scott Mars, chose to open an adoption agency because of how grateful he was for his adoption experience.
“Every day I realize how important I am to my parents. The fact that I was adopted doesn’t matter. It is simply another way to become a parent,” says Scott.
“The love we share can be no greater than that experienced by biological children and their parents. After adopting, every adoptive family comes to learn this fact. Those who have the luxury of seeing my parents and I interact can see the bond between us.”
Adoptive parents know the struggle of feeling like they won’t have the family they had hoped for. That’s why some studies even suggest that adoptive parents are more committed because they struggled so for so long. Oftentimes, children who are adopted say that they love their parents because you are the one who raised them, loved them and cared for them. You gave them a life that they may not have been able to have without adoption.
With the way adoption has evolved over the years, many adoptees are happily adopted because they know the love of two families.
Every story is different, and each adopted child will have their own challenges to overcome. However, these challenges are often only part of the story — along with love, happiness and a life of opportunity.
While harmful myths may persist in some areas, here’s the truth: Being happily adopted is not only possible, but it is the reality for thousands of children.
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