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Myths about Adoption

Adoption by Choice, Erie PA

National Adoption Awareness Week aims to demystify the issues around adoption, raise awareness and acknowledge all parties in adoption. Part of that aim is to dispel the “Myths of Adoption.

Adoptive parents in Australia identified the top ten myths they have to deal with when talking with family, friends and passers-by in the shopping centre that can’t resist asking “Whose child is that?

Here’s a list of the top 10 myths along with links to my brief thoughts on each.

10. Birth Mothers get on with their life after giving up a child

9.  Love is enough to be an adoptive parent

8.  You have to be rich to adopt

7.  Adoption is only for rich infertile people

6.  Celebrities can fast track adoption

5.  Adoption is buying a baby

4.  They’re Aussies now!

3.  Adoption is a 2nd best option

2.  Adoptive parents are saints (because they saved! the child)

1.  Adopted children are lucky

Education, communication and participation of all parties involved is the way forward to de-mythologising adoption and removing the stigma from talking about the real issues met by parents, children, adults, adoptive families and their extended families, networks and community. Have you come across any of these myths? How did you respond?

 
 

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An Adoptee Investing in Champions

Troy Matthews, or Dr. Matthews as he is better known today, was Dean of Students at my Bible College and was also Associate Pastor at my church in 1989/90. Troy was adopted at birth and always spoke openly, positively and generously about his experience. Although I was only 17/18 years old when I was one of his students and not really thinking about my future family too much at the time, his example influenced me significantly when the time came that my wife and I were considering adopting.

There are some heart-breaking stories of cases where adoption hasn’t been approached sensitively or lovingly (towards both the child and the birth parents). Unfortunately, some of those stories get a little more air time than the great majority of ones where children and families flourish through their experience with adoption. Troy is a fantastic example of a man who not only flourished, but is now helping others flourish also.

Together for Adoption recently published Troy’s story:

Troy was born to a young mother in Snyder, Texas, and because of the closed adoption he doesn’t know much more than that about his fraternal parents. Simultaneously to this woman’s pregnancy, a young couple had battled several miscarriages and were urged by a local pastor in Snyder to consider adoption – particularly the adoption of Troy. They quickly realized that this was their “gift from God.”

Today, Troy puts it in his own words, “They were his gift from God.” …

Dr. Matthews is now a professor of “Contemporary Issues”, a course required by all majors at Liberty. The subject matter directly approaches one’s world view – affirming a Biblical world view and also applying it. Topics such as adoption, abortion, and a Christian’s moral responsibility to such topics and understanding of absolute truth’s found in Scripture. These courses are designed to affirm a believers responsibility to the world around them.

Troy is “a champion, … reinvesting in others to be young champions as well. – just as (he) was invested in.”

If you’re in Australia and considering investing in adoption, National Adoption Awareness Week can provide you with the starting point. Click on the link for your state to find out more. If you have already been involved with Adoption there are many opportunities for networking and support with other families and adoptees.

In the USA check out the links on the Together for Adoption site.

Karen’s Adoption Links has information for other countries.

 
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Posted by on 28/06/2011 in church, Culture, Family

 

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Do orphans need saving?

This question is complex and volatile. There is a tendency to be over simplistic when talking about adoption using terms and phrases like “saving” the orphans. However it is important to distinguish between advocating adoption as a vital means to helping and serving children in need of a permanent family and “saving” them. Lets be clear about this, there’s only ONE saviourand it’s not me nor is it any other adoptive parent, advocate or ambassador.

Kawale Orphan Care in Lilongwe, Malawi

Kristen Howerton has a lengthy blog post about this and she deals with the issue with substance and sensitivity.

I don’t like the savior narratives applied to adoptive parents.  I don’t like people telling me I’m amazing just because I’ve adopted.  Because I’m not.  I am a very human mom who is sometimes shrill and selfish and impatient and just plain mean.  I did not “save” my adopted kids.

I am very careful to never give my adopted children the feeling that there is some extra gratitude required from them.  They are a part of my family just like my daughters.  They have every right to be ungrateful, or resent me, or wish that they had never been adopted.  I don’t talk to them about where they came from as if they needed to be saved.  So on the one hand, I do take care to avoid the savior meme.

Citing a detailed example from Haiti arising from the recent turmoil caused the earthquakes she urges readers, it’s time to sit up and take notice:

This is a long post.  I hope you will read the whole thing, and I hope you will read it without judgment of the people involved.  People who serve in Haiti face the awful task, every day, of how many people they can help.  Orphanages are overcrowded simply because some very good people have a hard time turning away one more helpless child.  If this outrages you, then think about what part YOU can play.  There can be no outrage at people who serve in Haiti, as we sit at our computer screens in our comfortable homes in America.  But you need to know that this is real.

Please, read the full post

 
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Posted by on 27/06/2011 in church, Culture, Family

 

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Adoption Myth #10 – Birth Mothers get on with their life after giving up a child

National Adoption Awareness Week aims to demystify the issues around adoption, raise awareness and acknowledge all parties in adoption. Part of that aim is to dispel the “Myths of Adoption.

Adoptive parents in Australia identified the top ten myths they have to deal with when talking with family, friends and passers-by in the shopping centre that can’t resist asking “Whose child is that?

MYTH # 10 – Birth/Natural mothers get on with their lives after giving a child up.
FACTS – The grief of giving up a child never leaves a person.

It is easy to be so focused on the child and the adopting parents that another, critical, party is left unconsidered. In most cases, especially with international adoptions, no information is available on the birth parents. Much is presumed about their attitude and condition that simply isn’t fair and more often than not, is unsubstantiated.  Xinran Xue, when visiting Sydney on a book tour a few years back, vividly pointed this out, when she noted, in the audience at one reception, a high number of adoptive parents with Chinese children. Her tearful comment was, “Thank you for loving our daughters”.

To assume that Chinese women, or any others (!) are flippant and uncaring about their decision to relinquish their children evidences an insular, uninformed bias. This bias contributes to the anti-adoption attitude in our government and community today. A bias that National Adoption Awareness Week hopes to, in part, begin to, reverse.

Wanting a Daughter Needing a Son“, by Kay Ann Johnson provides a good start point, in regard to Chinese Adoption, for those wanting to know more.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on 08/11/2010 in Family, Info on Adoption

 

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Do orphans need saving?

This question is complex and volatile. There is a tendency to be over simplistic when talking about adoption using terms and phrases like “saving” the orphans. However it is important to distinguish between advocating adoption as a vital means to helping and serving children in need of a permanent family and “saving” them. Lets be clear about this, there’s only ONE saviour and it’s not me nor is it any other adoptive parent, advocate or ambassador.

Kristen Howerton has a lengthy blog post about this and she deals with the issue with substance and sensitivity.

I don’t like the savior narratives applied to adoptive parents.  I don’t like people telling me I’m amazing just because I’ve adopted.  Because I’m not.  I am a very human mom who is sometimes shrill and selfish and impatient and just plain mean.  I did not “save” my adopted kids.

I am very careful to never give my adopted children the feeling that there is some extra gratitude required from them.  They are a part of my family just like my daughters.  They have every right to be ungrateful, or resent me, or wish that they had never been adopted.  I don’t talk to them about where they came from as if they needed to be saved.  So on the one hand, I do take care to avoid the savior meme.

Citing a detailed example from Haiti arising from the recent turmoil caused the earthquakes she urges readers, it’s time to sit up and take notice:

This is a long post.  I hope you will read the whole thing, and I hope you will read it without judgment of the people involved.  People who serve in Haiti face the awful task, every day, of how many people they can help.  Orphanages are overcrowded simply because some very good people have a hard time turning away one more helpless child.  If this outrages you, then think about what part YOU can play.  There can be no outrage at people who serve in Haiti, as we sit at our computer screens in our comfortable homes in America.  But you need to know that this is real.

Please, read the full post

 
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Posted by on 06/11/2010 in church, Culture, Family

 

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Adoption Myth #9 – Love is enough to be an adoptive parent

National Adoption Awareness Week aims to demystify the issues around adoption, raise awareness and acknowledge all parties in adoption. Part of that aim is to dispel the “Myths of Adoption.

Adoptive parents in Australia identified the top ten myths they have to deal with when talking with family, friends and passers-by in the shopping centre that can’t resist asking “Whose child is that?

MYTH #9 – Love is enough in parenting an adopted child.
FACTS – Love, empathy, understanding of losses these children have experienced and ongoing education is a better starting point for adoptive parenting.

The naïvety of The Beatles, “All You is Love” is recognised in most contexts. In adoption there are ‘variables’ that require prospective parents and families to be forewarned and educated about. Adoption is as much about loss as it is about gaining a family. Dysfunctionality will play a role in the emotional stability and security of a biological child, it also contributes to an adopted child’s sense of self and their place in the world. Issues of origin, relinquishment and formation of an independent identity are engaged by adoptees and adopters with greater frequency and intensity than biological families. Unconditional love is essential – but it must be strategically informed. Adoption is not for the light-hearted.

 
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Posted by on 05/11/2010 in Family, Info on Adoption

 

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