Common beliefs about the adopted child can be widely held yet not completely well founded.
In her book 20 Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed, Author Sherrie Eldridge discusses common statements about adoption. Eldridge talked to a host of adoptive families as a part of her research to develop the book, and the reactions that the adoptive families she worked with had to these common statements were interesting.
Here’s an example of one such statement: “Statement #1: Adoption produces irreparable wounds for the adopted child.”
This commonly held belief might ultimately be the very barrier that prevents an individual or couple from entertaining the idea of adopting a child. People may never undertake the necessary research to discover for themselves the soundness of the statement, but they believe it to be true nonetheless.
Here’s what Eldridge writes: “Believe it or not, this theme prevails in bestselling adoption literature. How depressing to hear that your child can never recover from adoption wounds. The parents I interviewed were furious with the statement. Some said it was an excuse for dysfunction. Others said that a person’s painful past should neither define nor dominate one’s life.
Yet some parents of foster children with severe special needs (such as personality disorders or prenatal wounding from a drug-addicted mother) found it difficult to believe their child could become healthy after so many placements. Some parents were desperate, struggling with hurting children, that they wondered how they or their children would make it through the trials.
It may encourage you to hear the results of the June 2002 National Adoption Attitudes Survey, sponsored by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute:
The Survey clearly shows many Americans have some misperceptions about children available for adoption in foster care (or adopted children in general)…Although adopted children undergo an adjustment period, the reality is that the majority of adopted children have similar long-term outcomes as biological children.”
Myths, misconceptions or misunderstandings have a lot of power – especially when it comes to dissuading someone from the option of adoption. It’s Adoption STAR’s hope that anyone that’s “on the fence” about becoming an adoptive parent will not automatically accept commonly held beliefs as fact, but rather dedicate themselves to research and reading about adoption. Only this will allow for informed decision making.