There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and if you’re pregnant and considering adoption for your baby, you may not know what to believe. Adoption has changed a lot over the years, and we want you to know the present-day facts. Here are the top seven myths we’ve encountered about domestic adoption.
1. MYTH: Women who place a child for adoption must be really young or too irresponsible to be a parent. Surely, she can’t love her baby.
Women of all different backgrounds place children with adoptive families for a variety of reasons — the greatest of which is that they love their unborn child and want him or her to have the life they feel unprepared to give, emotionally or financially. On average, the women we help to create adoption plans for their babies are 25 years old. We have worked with teenagers as young as 14 years old and adult women who are in their 40s. The reasons why women choose adoption are as diverse as the women themselves.
2. MYTH: Once a woman places her child for adoption, they will never have contact again.
Actually, birth mothers determine what type of relationship they want to have with their child and his or her adoptive family. For some women, closed adoption is their preferred choice. Most women prefer an open adoption plan, which means she will have varying degrees of contact with the adoptive family throughout her child’s life, from receiving photo updates to planning in-person visits.
3. MYTH: Adoption agencies care more about the desires of adoptive families than women facing unplanned pregnancy.
Holt-Sunny Ridge is dedicated to providing individualized and holistic services to all women facing an unplanned pregnancy, regardless of whether they choose an adoption plan. We offer free, confidential counseling to help women understand all of their options in a pressure-free setting. The decision to place a child for adoption has life-long implications for a woman and her child, and that decision should never be made through coercion. Regardless of a woman’s choice to parent or place a child for adoption, we can also help women access healthcare or health insurance. We provide ongoing counseling and resources for all members of the birth family, during and after a woman’s pregnancy.
4. MYTH: Birth fathers are rarely involved in the adoption process because they don’t need to know or they don’t care what happens to the child.
It’s true that a significant percentage of birth fathers do not know they have a child. However, a small percentage of birth fathers are involved in the adoption process and help the birth mother select an adoptive family. They may also have an open relationship with the adoptee and adoptive family. Even if a man chooses not to be involved with the adoption placement, it doesn’t mean they don’t care.
5. MYTH: All an adoptive family has to do to adopt a baby is pay a fee to the adoption agency.
Families interested in adopting a baby are thoroughly assessed by the adoption agency, and they must pass an FBI background check, a medical evaluation, licensing requirements by the Department of Children and Family Services in the state of Illinois or Wisconsin, as well as provide reference letters, prove their financial capabilities and meet with a social worker to complete an official home study. Adoptive parents also complete an adoption education curriculum, among other requirements.
6. MYTH: Adoptive parents only want healthy infants who look like them.
Most adoptive parents have a great yearning to be parents and are open to infants who have been exposed to drugs or alcohol or who have other special medical needs. Similarly, most adoptive parents are open to a child of a different race or ethnicity than their own. They will love a child no matter what they look like or whether they have special needs.
7. MYTH: After a woman gives birth, she must relinquish her baby right away.
Illinois law states that women must wait at least 72 hours after giving birth to terminate their parental rights. Under Wisconsin law, the voluntary termination of parental rights takes place during a closed court — beginning about 30 days after your baby’s birth. Once your parental rights are terminated in front of a judge, your decision to place your baby is final and irrevocable.