adopting blog

Inspiration, Resources, Opinions & Advice From Our Adoption Community

Getting Real About Common Adoption Stereotypes

Some people believe it's a primal instinct for women to want to be pregnant. Not me. I never felt the urge to be pregnant and the thought of giving birth terrified me. Our plan was to have one child and then adopt one.

When we decided to switch our plan to adopt first, I remember the relief. We were going to build our family and potentially choose the sex of our child. Plus, I didn’t have to be pregnant, and I didn’t have to give birth.

Fine by me!

Maybe you're considering adoption because you've tried all the fertility drugs and you're worn out, or maybe you just don't have the "need" to have a biological child. Either way, I feel like I'm in a prime position to get real on the subject since I have a child that is adopted, but I also have one that isn’t.

If you’re thinking about adoption, believe that any kid can be your kid. Adoption is not always a first choice for all families. For some it‘s a last resort. I'm willing to bet though, if you poll 100 families who have adopted, you will get very few (if any) who don’t feel that their kid is their kid. Sure, they may not have felt that way going in, or even when the kid was placed in their arms---but any kid you birth or adopt is going to feel foreign at first. (I don’t care where they’re from or how they got to you.) There’s a new person in your world and everything just changed, BIG TIME.

It is MORE than possible to connect with a child who is adopted. Someone else made and birthed my daughter. But if they walked past each other, they’d never know it. She's my kid. Sometimes she will say something and it will be exactly what I was thinking (jinx!). Other times, we will look at each other because only we can notice a weird, funky smell. And lately she has become extremely argumentative. I don’t know where she got THAT from but a friend of mine suggested that it might have something to do with me. (Yay….)

Don't be scared to adopt because the kid might have issues. The kid will have issues. All kids have issues. Some issues are worse than others, so make sure everyone involved knows going in what you are and are not willing to accept. No one is judging you, and who cares if they are? You’re building your family your way---but once that kid is placed in your arms, you have to deal. You get what you get--same as it would be if you birthed the kid yourself.

Don't make your child someone she's not. One of my best girlfriends adopted two amazing girls. We have very little background on either one because they were left (at different times) at a fire station. The older one has hair that definitely leans more toward the African-American culture. But my girlfriend is Caucasian and has no idea how to "do" her hair. So you know what she does? She takes her daughter to a salon that specializes in African-American hair.

Be open about the adoption from the very beginning. Talk about it. We refer to our daughter's adoption a lot. She’s with us and in a good place. We celebrate her adoption and sometimes we even (GASP!!) joke around about it. She had a life before us, it’s not a secret. If you make it some big secret, it’s going to be one big secret and who needs that??

And lastly…

Don’t believe the hype. Forget the adoption stereotypes. Your kid will be your kid. You just have to raise him that way. There will be ups and downs and there will be good phases and bad phases.

That’s parenting. It’s frustrating but it’s magical. It’s draining but it’s rewarding. But if you want to be a parent, don’t let adoption stereotypes hold you back. I have done both, and I wouldn’t change a thing.