Debunking Adoption Myths
- Friday, January 21, 2011
Ideally, infants begin bonding in the first few minutes after birth and will continue to form loving attachments as they grow in healthy, stable homes. In the best-case adoption scenarios, an adopted child goes home from the hospital with his adopting family twenty-four to forty-eight hours after birth, or is placed in a foster home or an orphanage where the caregivers are loving and attentive just days after birth. Unfortunately, many adopted children have experienced some kind of trauma - ranging from the loss of their birthmothers' attention in the first days after birth to overcrowded orphanages without enough caregivers or sustenance to abusive or neglectful birth families or foster homes. All or any of these experiences can result in a child's trust in adults being broken, which in turn can cause some difficulty in bonding with the adoptive parents, especially at first. By educating themselves about ways children bond, most adoptive parents are able to encourage a loving bond with their child. In some cases, there is regression in the early elementary years and again in adolescence and teen years -- a time when most teens pull away from their parents, not just adopted teens. Wise adoptive families pray for their children daily, asking God to help their children trust, to erase their children's fears, and to help their children embrace the love of their adoptive families.
I Didn't Know That! You will easily recognize the names of many people who were adopted. Included on the list of famous adoptees are the ancient philosopher Aristotle, comedian Art Linkletter, country singer Faith Hill, blues legend Bo Diddley, inventor George Washington Carver, actress Melissa Gilbert, author James Michener, singer Debbie "Blonde" Harry, and singer Sarah McLachlan.
Myth #4: You Might Not Love Your Adopted Child
Author and adoptive parent Karen Kingsbury admits that she did not know what she would feel when she adopted three young boys from Haiti.
"At first, with the boys, we knew we loved them, but we didn't know them yet. It was more of a Christlike, take-you-as-you-are, servant kind of love," Kingsbury shared with mtl magazine. "Now it feels funny to look at pictures of our family before them. Now we love them because of who they are."
Kingsbury, like many adoptive parents interviewed for Successful Adoption, said she and her husband Don gave themselves permission not to be in love with each of their adopted children from the moment they received him. Loving is what Christians are called to do, but it is often an action more than a feeling. The feelings will come, and adoptive families say they cannot imagine life without the blessing of their adopted members. Kingsbury suggests that couples and families who are adopting pledge to be honest with one another before, during, and after the process so that they can work through their feelings and concerns together.
Words of Wisdom: Do not worry about anything but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. -- Philippians 4:6 (NCV)
Myth #5: Adoption Isn't as Good as Giving Birth
The pain associated with infertility may cause a couple to question whether or not they would love an adopted child with the same passion they would feel for one of their own. Adoptive families who have been in the same situation give a resounding "YES!" Many say, if they had to choose, they would choose adoption over having a biological child.
Brian Luwis, who with his wife, Renee, founded America World Adoption Association after adopting their daughter Fei in 1994, admits he was scared at first that he would never feel as close to an adopted child as he would a biological one, even in the days after they brought Fei home.
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