Families come to consider adoption as a way to grow for many reasons. Some families have biological children already, and simply want to add to their number through adoption, some struggle with infertility and others may have always “known” that they want to adopt. Ultimately, the one thing that all of these people have in common is a devotion to care for children who may have experienced some challenges at a young age.
As you take your own personal adoption journey, you’re likely to find a lot of information – some of it conflicting, some of it accurate and timely and some that gets passed along as fact when it is anything but.
We hear from many families every day about a range of issues in fostering and adopting. Following are several examples of common myths, inaccuracies and errors that we find ourselves addressing frequently. We believe that access to timely, accurate and factual information helps everyone along the journey of adoption.
Misconception #1: The younger the child is, the fewer challenges will occur.
Unfortunately, we encounter this myth a lot, and it can contribute to a family’s feelings of frustration when looking to adopt an infant. The fact is, infants aren’t available for a variety of reasons.
The cost of working with a private adoption agency is not possible for every family, and there often is a long waiting list to be matched with an infant. The children in the Special Needs Adoption Program (children who are currently in foster care who need adoptive families) are typically elementary school aged and older.
Simply put, adopting a younger child doesn’t automatically guarantee fewer challenges. In fact, just as with birth children, there simply are no guarantees. There are ways to predict potential challenges, such as exposure to drugs/alcohol in utero, family and social history.
However, research shows that a child’s experience during pregnancy can create challenges regardless of exposure to abuse and neglect after birth. The environment the birth mother was in throughout her pregnancy and her ability to obtain appropriate prenatal care can play a big role.