Believe it or not, when we first planned this page we wanted to do a “Top Ten” list. But the more we got into it, the more the list just grew and grew and grew…
Fiction: Adoption means selling your baby.
Fact: Adoption is a legal and social process, not a business transaction. It’s a way to find a permanent, loving home for a child whose parents may not be ready to parent. As a result, waiting adoptive parents in Canada can’t pay you for placing your baby with them or compensate you for any loss of income. The only people who can get paid are adoption professionals who are responsible for ensuring that all the appropriate laws, rules and regulations are being properly followed.
Fiction: The Internet is not a good place to look for potential adoptive parents..
Fact: As long as you keep in mind that you still have to go through the proper legal channels to get your adoption approved, the Net is a great place to find a loving home for your child. As with anyone you find online, you’ll need to screen every waiting parents carefully to make sure they’re a good match. By the way, everyone on our Adoption Profiles have been approved to become adoptive parent by a provincially-approved adoption practitioner.
Fiction: Once you find a parent for your child that you like, your adoption is completed.
Fact: Regardless of how or where you find parents for your child, it’s only one part — albeit an important one — of the adoption process. There’s still another process, independent to it, that you have to go through in order to get the final go ahead. The exact nature of it will depend on which province you live in and which province the adoptive parents you choose live in. In any adoption, the child’s best interests are always the paramount concern.
Fiction: Adoptive parents can offer you money or presents to choose them.
Fact: Adoptive parents in Canada can’t do either. If they do, they risk losing the adoption. Your decision must be made totally voluntarily, without any undue influence, interference or coercion from any outside party. In the US, the laws are a little different. However, in principal the same criteria applies: Birth mothers are not allowed to benefit financially from placing their child for adoption.
Fiction: As a birth mother, you have no say in the adoption process or in your child’s future.
Fact: In an open adoption, birth mothers have all kinds of rights. They not only get to choose the parents for their child, they have the option of taking an active role in just about every stage of the adoption plan. Meeting your child’s new parents prior to the placement is just one of the many choices you have.
Fiction: Once you place your baby for adoption, you’ll never see him or her again.
Fact: To the uninitiated, having a relationship with your child’s adoptive parents can seem a little scary at first. But most birth mothers do go on to have one. And they find that it’s in the best interests of everyone involved, particularly the child. Depending on what you agree to in your adoption plan, your relationship could consist of the exchange of letters, photos, phone calls or even personal visits. In some cases, it could include going away on vacation together. At the end of the day, it all comes down to whatever you feel comfortable with.
Fiction: Once you decide to place your baby for adoption, you can’t change your mind.
Fact: Prior to placing your child, you have the right to change your mind anytime. You can choose another set of parents or you can choose to raise your child yourself. If that’s what you decide, no one can get in your way. After the placement, it’s a little more complicated. There’s a period where you can waive your consent and have your child returned to you. But after that, your rights to your child will be relinquished. That’s why if you do have doubts about the waiting parents you’ve chosen for your child or your adoption plan in general, it’s better to address them as early as you can.
Fiction: Adoptive parents aren’t interested in you. All they care about is getting your baby.
Fact: Although your baby is what brought you and the prospective adoptive parents together in the first place, hopefully by the end of the process you’ll have more things in common than that. A lot will depend on how well the two of you hit it off, and how your relationship develops and grows over time. Remember, like you, they’re going through a difficult time. If they seem distant, reserved or detached, it may be that they want to protect themselves emotionally just in case you decide to change your mind. Still, for an adoption to work, both sides have to be in sync. After all, after the placement goes through, you’ll all be family.
Fiction: Adoptive parents have all kinds of experts working for them, and you don’t have any.
Fact: As part of the adoption process, you will be assigned an adoption practitioner and a lawyer. They will explain the nuts and bolts of adoption and answer any questions you have regarding your rights and responsibilities. Although the prospective adoptive parents’ licensee will be responsible for finding them and the adoptive parents will ultimately pick up their tab, your adoption practitioner and lawyer do not work for them. What’s more, their services are free, whether you change your mind or not.
Fiction: Adoptive parents will never love your baby as much as you will.
Fact: Prospective adoptive parents are ready to open their hearts and their home to any child that needs their love and affection. It makes no difference whether the child is biologically theirs or not. Although raising an adopted child is different than raising a biological one, the same qualities — empathy, encouragement, patience — are required. And all hopeful adoptive couples have been shown to have an ample supply of all of these.
Fiction: Compared to you, the adoptive couple have it easy.
Fact: In adoption, neither side has it “easy”. Just like you, the adoptive parents lives have been subjected to intense scrutiny, including police checks, letters of reference, and a series of lengthy face-to-face interviews with an adoption professional. Now, as the potential parents of your child, they’re going through the ups and downs of your pregnancy almost as much as you are. What’s more, they have the added stress of knowing that any day you might change your mind. Building a family is always a stressful, life-altering experience, no matter how you do it.
Fiction: After the placement, adoptive parents will avoid talking about you for fear that their child will want to go back to you.
Fact: In fact, the opposite is true. The more open your child’s adoptive parents are about you, the better off the child is. All children have questions about their origins. And the more their adoptive parents can tell them, the more secure they’ll feel about who they are and the circumstances surrounding their placement. You can help the process along by preparing a scrapbook of you and the birth father that your child can flip through once s/he gets older.
Fiction: Adoptive children grow up believing they were abandoned by their mothers and consequently don’t want anything to do with them.
Fact: With the help of their adoptive parents, your child will eventually come to understand that s/he came to them because of your love and selflessness. Knowing that your child’s perceptions and attitudes toward you will be filtered through his/her adoptive parents, it’s important for you to choose parents that inspire trust and respect. And also who don’t feel threatened by you.
Fiction: Adopted children spend the rest of their lives searching for their “real” mothers.
Fact: As long as a child feels at home with his/her adoptive parents and understands the reasons how he came to live with them, there is no reason why s/he will need to search for his/her birth mother or father. In fact, through your letters, photos, phone calls, visits and scrap book, s/he will know everything you want him/her to know about you from an early age.
Fiction: Adopted children are usually less successful in life than biological children.
Fact: Success isn’t predicated on whether a child is adopted or not. Just ask Gerald Ford, Steve Jobs and Sarah McLachlan. All are adopted and all have achieved more than most people.
Fiction: Most birth mothers are unwed teenagers.
Fact: The reality is the opposite is true. Studies show that the younger the birth mother, the greater the odds she’ll decide to raise her child herself.
Fiction: Birth mothers are cold and heartless.
Fact: Placing your child for adoption is probably the most heart-wrenching decision you’ll ever make. But due to your lack of emotional or financial resources, you probably feel like you don’t have any other choice. That’s nothing to feel guilty about. Nor does that make you a bad person. Bad people don’t carry a baby for nine months, only to place him/her with another set of parents. Nor do they take the time to create an adoption plan that will hopefully give him/her a better life than the one they’re able to provide.
Fiction: You’ll get over your decision eventually.
Fact: In a sense, you’ll never “get over” it. Nor, contrary to what some people may tell you, will you simply “forget” it. Placing your child for adoption is something you’ll carry with you for rest of your life, although over time your feelings will evolve and, hopefully, change for the better. The key is to get the right counselling now — so you can deal with the repercussions later.