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“What does adoption mean to a child?”

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Myths and Facts About:

Adoption, Parenting and Abortion

We understand the fears you may encounter on your path to choosing the best choice for your situation. We at American Adoptions have compiled the following myths and facts to help you make the right decision.

Feel free to jump ahead at any point to one of the following selections:

Myths and Facts About:

Myths and Facts about Adoption


Myth:A really caring mother would never give up her child and you don't deserve to be a mother if you choose adoption.
Fact:A mother who unselfishly creates an adoption plan for her child is placing her child's best interest above her own. It is an ultimate sacrifice for a mother to choose life for her child and realize what is best for her child. Adoption is a caring and responsible process that is as natural and loving as parenting.
 
Myth:My child will hate me.
Fact:You design your own unique adoption plan, allowing you to share as little or as much information as you desire about yourself and your decision. You gave your child the gift of life, and put your child's needs first. This will be explained to your child as he or she gets older. "My biological mother was in high school when she was pregnant with me. I'm sure she felt she was not capable of providing me with everything she wanted me to have and decided that adoption would be the best choice for the both of us... My (adoptive) parents are the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I could not imagine my life any other way. I am constantly reminded of the wonderful, selfless choice my birthparents made by choosing adoption for me. I have had an abundant life full of many opportunities that I may not have otherwise been able to enjoy, including world travel, education, activities and religion. I was raised in a very loving home, and I continue to be extremely close to my parents today. I have never felt any void in my life or felt differently in any way because of being adopted." Jackie, adopted child, age 24
 
Myth:Adoption is an irresponsible solution to an unplanned pregnancy.
Fact:Adoption requires a strong and responsible person. Do not feel guilty for considering adoption or think of parenting as a deserved punishment for your unplanned pregnancy. Making the choice for your child to be raised in an environment that can provide the things you are not able to at this time is very brave and responsible.
 
Myth:Adopted children grow up with more problems than children who are not adopted.
Fact:Adopted children do as well as or better than their non-adopted counterparts. A 1994 study by the Search Institute examining adopted adolescents concluded some of the following facts: Adopted children score higher than their middle-class peers on indicators of school performance and social competence. Adopted adolescents generally are less depressed than children of single parents and are less involved in alcohol abuse, vandalism, fighting, police trouble, use of weapons, and theft. On health measures, adopted children score higher than children raised by single parents. Compared with the general child population, children placed with adoptive couples are better off economically and adoptive parents are less likely to divorce. (Taken from Adoption: The Best Option by Patrick Fagan)
 
Myth:Nobody can love a child as much as a biological parent.
Fact:While it is true that a biological parent holds tremendous love for their child, it is not a matter of biology. It is not inherited. An adopted couple's love for your child is the result of a lot of effort and desire to be a parent. Adoptive parents have a true love and devotion to the child they adopt because they realize what a blessing it is to have a child in their lives. "Our children can learn that...the concept of 'family' does not rest solely on biology. They can learn that love transcends many artificial boundaries frequently put into place by humans. They can learn that closing one door can open another door and another and another"...Caroline Harding, adoptive mother (Adoption-Is Another Word for Love, 2000).
 
Myth:I will have to say good bye and will never hear from my child again or know how they are doing.
Fact:This has been true in the past when all adoptions were closed and the child was taken from the birth mother and she had to live the rest of her life never knowing what became of her child. Today, you can create your own adoption plan which can make it possible for you to select your child's adoptive parents and meet them. You can choose to stay in touch while your child is growing up by receiving pictures and letters which can ensure that you made the right decision for your child. Open adoptions even allow you to stay in touch with phone calls and possibly even occasional visits.
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Myths and Facts about Parenting


Myth:Having a baby is a way to receive unconditional love. My baby will love me regardless of what I do and won't judge me. It will add meaning and purpose to my life.
Fact:Although this statement about having a child can be true, and parenting can be very satisfying, a baby will not be able to show it's love and support to you for some time. Babies are completely helpless and require their parents to do everything for them to ensure their survival. Parenting is a job that is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the next 18 years of your life or longer. It is a commitment that you will need to be prepared for.
 
Myth:Parenting will be fun. I will get to play with my child and dress him or her up in cute clothes.
Fact:Babies are very cute and it can be fun to dress them up, but when it is your own child, it is not always fun. You must consider the time and energy that you will need to give in order to meet the needs of your child. Your freedom and moments of privacy can be reduced to almost nothing after you give birth to your child and for many years thereafter. Your child will go with you every where you go. They will awake in the middle of the night to be fed, changed or just because they are awake. If they get a cold, there will be more doctor bills, time missed from work, and a loss of much needed wages. This can be very challenging to any new mother. As your child grows, they will need you in different ways to tend, nurture and teach them. It will take a lot of patience and maturity to raise your child. It becomes a reality that this little child in front of you is someone whose future and welfare you are responsible for.
 
Myth:My family, friends, or boyfriend will always be there to help me out and pay for things.
Fact:You are the only person who can guarantee your child's health and well being. You cannot rely on other family or friends who say they will help you because they may not always be there when you need help. They are not in your shoes and although they mean well by offering their help, they cannot make the decision for you. Your family cannot guarantee they will be there at all times when you need to run an errand, have to work, want to take a nap, or want to go out with your friends. They also cannot be responsible for paying for everything. Many women who have chosen parenting over adoption due to their family's influence have stated that their family and boyfriend are no longer around and don't help as much as they promised. If you have family support that can help you with parenting, that is wonderful, but you cannot rely on it. You need to come up with a plan to raise your baby as if it will be just you and nobody else.
 
Myth:If I choose to parent my child, I will not have to deal with the feeling of sadness, loss and disappointment that I would if I choose adoption or abortion.
Fact:This may be true, but parenting will cause some of these emotions to some degree. A woman may feel that she has lost the opportunity to finish school, move to another state, play on the basketball team or go out with her friends. It could even cause the loss of other relationships because you are too busy or no fun anymore. Your friends or boyfriend may not want to be around you much as time goes by because you have too much responsibility. You may also feel sadness and disappointment because you cannot give your child everything you hoped for them to have.
 
Myth:It will save my relationship with my boyfriend and we can get married and have a family together.
Fact:Many unplanned pregnancies, especially among young people, lead to stress and emotions that make it hard for a couple to remain together. More than one million babies were born to unmarried women in the United States in 1998. One in six pregnancies conceived by unwed couples result in marriage before the baby is born (Options Magazine, 2003). Many women are left to face the unplanned pregnancy alone and it can be very scary.
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Myths and Facts about Abortion


Myth:Abortion will be less emotional than adoption. I can move on and not have to think about it.
Fact:Over 70% of the women who have abortions agree that abortion involves a baby and experience negative feelings about the abortion. (C.Reardon, www.afterabortion.org). One woman describes her feelings after an abortion, saying: "I hated myself. I felt abandoned and lost. There was no one's shoulder to cry on and I wanted to cry ... and I felt guilty about killing something. I couldn't get it out of my head that I had just killed my baby" (Quote from Options Magazine, 2003).
 
Myth:Abortion is the cheapest way for me to take care of my unplanned pregnancy.
Fact:Abortion can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000. These costs are not covered by insurance. In some instances women have complications resulting in medical expenses and time missed from work can make abortion even more expensive. There are state assistance and community programs available to assist with the costs of parenting. A woman who chooses adoption has no expenses and may receive pregnancy related living expenses to help with the costs of the pregnancy and time off work.
 
Myth:Abortion is the only option that allows me to go on with my life and live out my dreams.
Fact:While abortion allows a woman a choice to continue with her dreams and not have to delay plans for the future to raise her child, it is not the only option. Adoption allows women to continue with school and other dreams as well. A woman who chooses adoption may also go on living her own life knowing she put her child's needs above her own and that her child is being loved and cared for by a wonderful family.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

While not every woman who chooses adoption is a young mother, many are. Through adoption, many young women have found an ability to give their babies the best life possible, while finding the opportunity to realize their own dreams, as well. Call American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION.

Read More

Adoption Glossary

Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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