Adoption myths

Adoption myths

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

Some things are best learned from the horse’s mouth. While I typically don’t like to consider myself a horse, there are certain subjects which I am uniquely qualified to address. I know how many calories are in every food item which has ever been conceived in the heart of man. I know how to get a D in College Algebra. But I also know about a subject that people tend to find quite fascinating. Adoption. Both of our boys were adopted as babies. I’m happy to educate on this subject.
Here are our personal “Top Four Myths” about adoption. Myth No. 1: “It’s so selfless of you and your husband to take in those kids.” I hope I’ve done a lot of selfless things in my life. But let me be clear. Adoption is not one of those selfless things. Adopting children is not a “mission project” or a “selfless act of service to the world.” We adopted for the same reason a lot of you had kids. We wanted kids. We wanted Christmas dinners and agonizing bouts with homework and sloppy and wonderful kid hugs. Wanting kids is not a mission project. So, no. Our kids aren’t “lucky” or “blessed” that we took them in. We’re blessed that God gave them to us.
Myth No. 2: “Adopted kids are more emotionally messed up than biological kids.” This is almost always propagated with a personal story. “Well, my second cousin adopted a girl 20 years ago and she’s in rehab now and has been no end of trouble.” Adopted kids don’t own the market on the struggles of life. It’s just that when a child who was adopted struggles, people sometimes say, “Well, you know, he was adopted.” Show me a struggling adopted child. I’ll show you 20 biological children struggling with the same thing.  
Myth No. 3: “You never know what kind of problems he’s going to have genetically.”
That’s true. But look around your family reunion. Most families struggle in pretty much the same ways. There are always some family members who are super smart. Others who aren’t. Some struggle with serious illnesses while other family members have enjoyed good health. Some of your family members have learning disabilities or mental health issues. Others don’t. I’m going to say something that may be hard for you to believe. Your family is not genetically superior and neither is mine.
Myth No. 4: “The ‘real’ parents will probably try to come take them back.” First of all, we’re the real parents. Pinch us. We’re real. Secondly, our wonderful birth families made an adoption plan out of love and that plan meant permanently revoking their legal rights. Again, this was done out of love. But here’s the part a lot of people don’t seem to get. Our children are legally ours just like your children are legally yours. It’s true. Adopted parents may or may not choose to have contact with the birth families. But either way, adopted children have legal parents and that’s us.
Our boys are teenagers now. They’re both handsome and funny and smart. We can honestly say we don’t just love them, we like them. Are they perfect? No. Neither are their parents. All four of us extend a lot of love and mercy to each other. And that’s the key, not to raising adopted kids. It’s the key to a happy family.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website, lisasmartt.com.

Published in The Messenger 10.10.12

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