November 14, 2014

4 Myths About The Adoption Process

Since we announced our decision to adopt locally, we've heard all sorts of warnings, issues and problems people have heard from "someone who knows someone who adopted and...".

We've also heard how "amazing" or "blessed" we must be to even contemplate such a thing. So I want to straighten out a few things about our case and how the system (here at least) works.

Myth #1: It's Expensive!

We looked into international adoption previously and the cost depends on the country in question. Even then, it's not representative of the cost of the child. The costs are mostly legal, agency and travel fees, as well as a donation to the orphanage. Do not ask people how much their child cost them!

In our case, we're doing local adoption, and agency fees are paid for by the government. What we have paid for so far was our police background check ($125 each), and for doctors to fill out our medical forms ($170 total). Once the adoption is finalized, we can pay for an updated birth certificate - like we would for any other child. I hardly see that as expensive. I spent more money on tests and scans when I was pregnant, quite honestly.

I also want to stress we're not rich. While we are paying for a house, we're also paying off the debt from huge renos last year. While I believe we could survive off of one income, it wouldn't be fun and it wouldn't be mine! I wouldn't want to lose my job without something lined up either. So we are ok, but I wouldn't want to rock the boat too much either.

They look for the basics: you have food in the fridge, a functioning bathroom, a room for the new child, and a washing machine. Is the house/apartment safe and clean? Ok, you're good!

Myth #2: It's Invasive!

We had to have friends and our bosses comment on our character. Good friends are helpful and supportive, so I don't see this as a big deal. They know us best and I have no problem with them vouching for us.

We had to have our bank sign off on our financial situation. I guess some people could be put off by this, but I really have nothing to hide.

The home study was grueling, I'll admit, because we had to rehash everything about our childhoods, which in our cases, weren't the happiest times. I presume others might have a better time with this if they weren't abused. But still, I have nothing to hide. While my past did shape me into the person I am today, I am not ashamed of who I have become. My childhood experiences influence how I choose to parent (attachment/gentle parenting) and I think they should know that.

Yes, it's true, most people don't get questioned before they pop out a baby (often by accident). Most people don't get asked about health, financials and emotional or physical capabilities. But life isn't fair and adoption is not about being fair - it's about doing the best for the child given the situation they have been unfairly placed in.

So yes, it's certainly a more invasive process than had I chosen to use my uterus again, but it's not that bad given the situation, providing you are open, realistic, secure, and upfront about your life and situation. If you are in some sort of blissful denial about your life or financial stability, it will be exposed and it will create problems.

Myth #3: The Child Is Going To Have Problems

Sweetheart, if you want a perfect child, don't have one because it's NOT POSSIBLE! People are flawed. Children are people. Ergo, children are flawed. No one is perfect!

Life is full of problems. Should I stop living because there will be problems?

Also, in case you didn't notice already, I have a disability, and my child has a disability. If the next child is too normal, it won't fit into our family nicely. lol

So hey, maybe the child will have problems, but the child also needs love and a family, and I think that sorta trumps the potential problem issue. If and when there are problems we will deal with them as a family, because that's what families do, amirite?

Myth #4: They're Going To Take The Child Away!

Well, the first family has 30 days to change their mind after placement, so yes, they can take the child back. It's their RIGHT. It is the child's RIGHT. People have rights and those rights should be respected. I don't have any rights in this part of the process because the child is not an object and not my possession. I did not buy it at a store and then get robbed. I am granted guardianship for a short time before the first family relinquishes their rights - if they choose.

Will I be sad? For sure. But it's a chance I take. If I had used my body, I could also have a miscarriage, a stillbirth or a child who dies shortly after birth. These are all potential losses.

But I refuse to make choices governed by the fears of "what if?" My job as a parent is to do right by whatever child I am lucky enough to raise. My job is to give love. My job is to help them become the best person they can be. If I only get to do that for a few weeks, I will do that. If I only get to do that for a few hours, I will do that. I will do that until the minute I die.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. Keep learning more by following the Twitter hashtag #NAAM

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