Friday, January 30, 2009


My friend Lori had something like this on her blog and I figured it would be helpful to my peeps too since we're starting our own adoption journey. (She has since posted a little more here) There are so many misconceptions about adoption out there. When we first started thinking about adoption I went online for advice and support...I found MUCH of the opposite. Adoption has changed a lot over the last decade or so, yet most people's views are based on the old stereotypes.

Back in the day if a woman found herself with an unwanted pregnancy she would be taken away from family and friends, live in a group home of sorts until she delivered the baby. She would deliver the baby and never get the option of seeing them. She was counseled to forget the child and act like the pregnancy never happened. Agencies were the ones matching babies with waiting couples, and most of the time the birth family and the adoptive family didn't know much of anything about each other. Couples who adopted children were counseled that it was best to keep it a secret, to hide the adoption from the child.

Nowadays a woman who finds herself pregnant approaches an agency and they counsel her on her options. If she chooses adoption she is shown profiles of couple and families who want to adopt. She is given counseling the whole step of the way, especially after placement. Between her and the couple they decide on a level of open-ness. It could be letters every year all the way up to daily visits. The child who is adopted is told about her adoption from the very beginning.

When we first started looking at our adoption options Nathan and I wanted a 100% closed adoption. We wanted to get the baby and never 'deal' with the birthmother again. (I cringe reading that now...) We saw the whole situation as messy and complicated. We thought that would be the best for us, the baby and the birthmother. Boy, how wrong we were. In the process of my OCD information gathering, I rented a book from the library called Dear Birthmother, Thank You For Our Baby. More than once the book brought me to tears. I think any person involved in adoption should have to read it. It helps clear up a lot of common misconceptions surrounding adoption.

A lot of the negative thoughts about adoption can be overcome if you can throw out all the negative adoption language. Here are some examples:

"I don't know how that girl could have given up her baby."
"Where is her
real mom?"
put up her baby for adoption."

All the above examples have such negative connotations. A birthmother does not GIVE UP her baby. She chooses adoption for them. She places the baby in a home that can give that baby everything she could ever want for them. Saying put up makes me think of an auction (and buying babies IS illegal). They make it sound like the birthmother is being selfish and throwing away something she doesn't want. The opposite is true. Birthmothers love their babies so MUCH that they can see what is best for the baby and chose that, no matter the heartache it will bring themselves.
Using the term real when describing parents implies that there are fake ones. Adoptive couples are some of the best parents out there (not that adoptive parents can't be psycho, or not that you are not good parents if you give birth to your children). They have longed for children for so long. They have fought heartache and pushed through nosy social workers and long questionnaires all because they want to be parents. Nathan and I have thought many times that maybe all the hassle isn't worth it, but we want to be parents so bad we keep working towards it.

This doesn't even scratch the surface of all the complex issues surrounding adoption and I don't know hardly a drop in the bucket of all there is to know. But I figured knowledge is power and even a little bit is helpful, right? My friend Amanda let people ask her all sorts of questions about adoption and she answered them here and here. I also regularly stalk this blog.

So there you have it...well at least a small piece of it.

Oh and I almost forgot this:
Adoption isn't giving a
It is giving a


Sheila said...

Well said Holly. We have a friend in our ward now who has an adopted child. She is so open about the adoption, the birth mother, her feelings about it and everything they went through. Her story is just inspiring! I smile every time I'm around her and someone who doesn't know that Sam is adopted says, "he looks just like you". Adoption is such a blessing for families ivolved and I think for friends who get to share in the beautiful process! We hope and pray for you guys always, and for Janus and Grant, too. What wonderful parents you WILL be!!!

Abby said...

That was wonderful, thank you.

Rhode Island Kohls said...

I wrote a comment at my parents house and then didn't post it. I don't know id you know that I was adopted when i was 4 months old. There wasn't a time that I didn't know. I wan you to know, Holly and Nathen, I am in the family that i was supposed to be in. The people who raised me are my parents, and their ancestors are mine. I know that when i die and meet my birth mother I am so thankful that she gave me the life that she did. There were some great articles in the Ensign about adoption this month. We got ours today, or you can read on line. We are praying for you.

Love MaryAnn and Gary

Happy Herrons said...

A WONDERFUL explanation Holly - great job! I am excited that now you are 'officially' waiting - it's good and bad and has a WONDERFUL ending.

Bennett family said...

It definitely is giving the child a family! I was adopted and it was a closed adoption. I don't regret not knowing my birth mother. I don't feel like I'm missing anything in my life by not knowing her. But I'm soooo grateful for her choice because she was so young. Good for you for wanting to adopt!!