Happy Adoption Awareness Month!!

Become aware, become educated, and learn more about adoption.  If you yourself are thinking about adopting, or are just a friend of someone who either has or is in the process of adopting, or just simply want to be educated on the issue of adoption, just google “adoption information” and start the search!  Here are a few things I’ve compiled that might be of some interest!  Happy Adoption Awareness Month!

Here is an article I enjoyed:

Adoption Myths Debunked
Excerpted from “The Complete Book of International Adoption: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Your Child” by Dawn Davenport

Adoption is often misunderstood even though it has been around since the beginning of time. Even if you don’t believe these myths, others do, so it helps to address them at the beginning of your adoption journey.

Myth # 1: Adopted kids grow up to have lots of problems.

Life experience should dispel this myth. Ask around and you’ll be surprised by the number of well adjusted people who have been adopted. Fortunately we have more than just anecdotal reports; longitudinal studies have found that adoptees fare well in adolescence and adulthood.
Myth # 2: You can’t really love an adopted child as much as you could love your “own” child.
Oh yes you can! Love is not limited to biology. I love my husband more than life itself and he is not biologically related to me. Love for your children, by birth or adoption, grows from parenting, from nurturing, and from sharing your life. Your child is yours regardless of how he joined your family. Shortly after we adopted our daughter, a neighbor said to me that she couldn’t really love someone else’s child. Without realizing that she was inelegantly making a reference to our adoption, I replied wholeheartedly that I couldn’t either. All of my children are my own, and I love them each with a passion that sometimes scares me and often annoys them.

Myth # 3: Your adopted child will never really consider you her “real parents”.

This is the flip side of myth # 2. Real parents are the ones who stay up until the wee hours with a sick child and then a few years later are up in those same wee hours waiting for her to get home from a date. Real parents limit TV and candy and push educational games and vegetables. Real parents have gray hairs from worry and laugh lines from joy. Yes, adopted children have two sets of parents: one set who gave them life and one who raised them. But I know of no adopted child who considers their adoptive family any less than their real family, and this feeling is not lessened if they later decide to search for their birth family. Parenting through adoption is not a part time gig, it’s the real deal.

Myth # 4: The kids adopted from _______( choose one: Russia, China, Guatemala, Vietnam, India, etc.) have all kinds of problems.
There are no guarantees in parenting– or in life for that matter. Birth children and adopted children can have health, learning, or behavioral issues. Possible problems are discussed at length in my book, but research over many years of adoption has shown that the vast majority of internationally adopted kids thrive. Early life experiences do matter, but you can lower the risks of adopting a child with health or emotional problems by following the steps laid out in The Complete Book of International Adoption.
Myth # 5: Adopting a child of another race or ethnicity is bound to cause problems for the child.
International adoptions began with American families adopting Korean War orphans in the 1950s. More than fifty years of research on these transracial/transcultural adoptions, as well as research on
African American children adopted by Caucasian parents, disproves this myth. Transracially adopted children usually adjust well, with strong racial identity, self esteem, and attachment to their family. This does not mean that transracial adoption is for everyone or that transracial adoptees don’t have issues to face as they mature, but ultimately transracial adoptions can work.
Myth # 6: Adopted children should/will feel grateful to their adoptive parents.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but gratitude is not inherent in the nature of most children. I will get an occasional spontaneous “thank you”, a few more when demanded, and even more when they want something, but usually my children take what I offer as their due, which in fact, I suppose, it is. This is the case regardless of whether your kid becomes yours through birth or adoption. I am told that this changes once they are adults, but I’m still waiting. If you are adopting thinking of undying gratitude for rescuing a child, you likely won’t get it and no child deserves that pressure. You are adopting because you want to be a parent. It’s an added bonus that your child will get a home and a great family.
Myth # 7: You are more likely to get pregnant after you adopt.
Adoptive children do not cast a fertility spell on their parents. If relaxation was all it took to get pregnant, you would have been pregnant the first six months you tried. The reason that you hear stories of Aunt Ida’s cousin’s hairdresser conceiving after adoption is that this is the exception that stands out because of its uniqueness. Do not adopt if your motivation is to increase your odds of getting pregnant. It won’t work and it is not fair to your child. Every child deserves to be the one you really want, not the one that keeps the dream of your perfect child alive.
Myth # 8: There is one best type of adoption.
No one form of adoption is the easiest or fastest or best for everyone, but there is likely a best form for you. Domestic private, domestic public, and international adoption are different systems each with advantages and disadvantages. Based on interviewing and consulting with many families, this is what I hear from families that choose each type.
•The top priority for parents who are drawn to domestic private adoption is getting a child as young as possible with as much health information as possible.
•The top priority for parents who are drawn to the public foster-care system is providing a home for a child who really needs them in the United States.
•The top priorities for parents who are drawn to international adoption are the predictability of knowing that they will get a child within a set period of time and a discomfort with the domestic adoption process (for example, having to sell themselves to a prospective birth mother, the amount of time a birth parent has to revoke their consent to adopt, or open adoption post-placement).

Here are some things I’ve had people say or ask me, which is fine, we love questions and are happy to answer anything openly anytime!  These answers aren’t meant to make you feel bad or hesitate to ask us anything in the future but to help you be more “aware”   🙂

Things NOT to say to adoptive families:

1.  Where are his “real” parents?

The term “real” should be replaced with “birth parents”.  We are his REAL parents.

2.  Do you think it will be difficult to love a child who isn’t your own?

My children are my ownboth of them. Yes, I know what you mean. And I repeat: both of my children are “my own.”  By saying “real parents” or “not your own” you are insinuating that we may not view Lucas as part of our family and/or de-value his being a part of our family, although he came to us a different way, he is very much a part of this family in every way just as much as Aiden is.

3.  That’s great you’re adopting, it is so much easier than giving birth!

Clearly, you have never adopted a child. What, exactly, is easy about it? Is it the hundreds of questions prospective adoptive parents have to answer along the path to adoption, questions that go to the heart of what kind of people they are and dissect every aspect of their lives? Is it committing to a lifetime of knowing that at anytime from toddlerhood through adulthood, your child may come to you with wrenching questions about his or her origins and your answers may be unsatisfactory? Is it knowing that the very fact that your child is yours means that somewhere, possibly-a woman will grieve every day of her life for the child she could not raise? Is it missing the early months, sometimes years, of your child’s life? Is it adopting this child without knowing his medical history or health/mental problems he may or may not have?  Is it telling your child when he or she asks to see baby pictures, “Sorry, I don’t have any”? I could go on, but you get the point.

4. What kind of person would give up or abandon such a beautiful, innocent child?

This is hard for me too.  But in general, the kind of person whose options are limited in ways you have never even had to imagine. Most birthmothers are not bad, immoral people. Very few, if any, birthmothers who relinquish or abandon their children do so lightly. For most, it is a searing, heartbreaking decision that will haunt them forever-especially if abandonment-like Lucas, was done. Also, please understand that when you say things about my child’s birthmother, you are commenting about the woman who gave my son life and whose genes remain an inseparable part of him forever.  It’s ok to ask questions, its ok to not understand, but leave it as that, without judgement, without undestanding.  It is very easy to judge, become angry (and yes I’m working on that myself!  The “scars” blogpost should say it all) but to bring yourself to putting the shoes on his mothers feet, that knowing this decision to abandon Lucas is possibly haunting her, hurts her everyday, just puts you to a new level of compassion and understanding.  That will only help Lucas in the future.

Questions I’m often asked:

Why did you decide to adopt from Uganda?

For us, this is really not a simple answer.  A few points, first and foremost, we felt lead by our Lord and Savior to adopt from Uganda.  We know this for a few reasons, but mostly because Uganda completely fell on our laps.  We weren’t planning on adopting internationally or from Uganda AT ALL when we started this journey.  If you take a look back at our beginning blog posts you’ll see more detail and explanation.  We were on track for a domestic adoption.  Still are.  Adopting Lucas from Uganda will not be our only adoption.  But we heard nothing domestically.  No birth moms picked us, we have heard absolutely nothing from our agency here in the U.S.  Disappointed, we kept praying, kept having faith that God would lead us to our child.  He did!  Uganda fell on our laps through some mutual friends we met in Texas who had adopted their two beautiful boys from Uganda, and the connections began to happen.  It was incredible the resources they provided, it is really beyond a coincidence that this connection happened.  It all happened pretty quickly from there, it was obvious to us Lucas was meant to be ours, all the way from Uganda.  It doesn’t matter to us where we adopt from, we just wanted to provide a loving family and home for a child who was meant to be ours, no matter how or where they came from.

Why not adopt from the United States?

To play off my first answer, we have an agency in Kansas City we have heard nothing from.  Almost a year now, nothing.  That doesn’t mean our adoption journey in the US is over, it just means that this avenue of adoption didn’t work out for us like we thought it would.  With abortions on the rise, quite honestly there are fewer birth moms.  None the less, there are still plenty of birth mothers and fathers choosing adoption for their child, we were just not one of those families chosen apparently as of yet.  We also feel the biggest need in the US adoption wise is kids in foster care.  Since we don’t care if we get an infant or a child up to the age of Aiden, that leaves foster care as a good option for us.  After we feel ready to pursue adoption #2 then we are pretty sure this is the way we would like to adopt next, through the United States foster care system.

Now, with all that being said, Uganda was not a last resort by ANY means!  Uganda is a BEAUTIFUL country, with even more BEAUTIFUL children!  We feel honored and blessed to be able to adopt from a country like Uganda.  We are excited about learning more about Uganda, and Ugandan culture.  We love different cultures, traveling, learning about the world from the view of different countries.  I must also say, that we feel that even though foster care children do very much need homes, families, and deserve to have parents who love them, that their basic needs are being met.  Although jacked, we do have a system in place for children where they have a roof over their head, bed to sleep in, food to eat, medical care they receive.  In other countries, these are things that orphan children could only DREAM of.  Basic needs, food, water, shelter, medical care are luxuries, that are NOT being met, they do NOT receive, and children are dying.  Especially in Uganda.  In Uganda, Malaria alone still remains the #1 killer, claiming 320 lives every day, especially children. Malnutrition, starvation, worms/parasites, more than half have HIV/AIDS, are all very VERY common in almost every orphan child. 

We feel so happy to have the opportunity Uganda provides us with to be parents to a beautiful Ugandan Prince ~Lucas!  🙂

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