In one of my adoption groups today, I was astonished at a lot of the misinformation that was being shared. I expect someone who hasn’t been through the process to be naive regarding what adoption looks like, but I was surprised to find it in the adoption community as well. So I lovingly write to you here to dispell some of these myths and hopefully help someone who is on the road to adopt make that first step.
Before we dive in, though, I want to make one thing very clear. Adoption is HARD. I mean, cry-yourself-to-sleep, gut-wrenching, achingly-exhausting hard. It doesn’t matter how you adopt–infant or older child; domestic or international; private or foster care. When you get right down to it, adoption is about loss and heartache. And as long as this sinful world exists, there will always be a little bit of that in even the most beautiful adoption story.
Adoption is also so amazing, so beautiful, so God-breathed that it is definitely, absolutely worth every sleepless night, every struggle with the biological family, every dime from your savings account. Because God has adopted us as His sons and daughters, we, His image-bearers, can also feel the redemption that exists in adoption. And that is why you should consider adoption for your family.
There are too many myths to bust in just one blog post, so tonight, I want to address this one:
Everyone wants to adopt a baby, and there just aren’t enough babies to go around.
But according to Adoptive Families:
The fact that more than 18,000 American families successfully adopt newborn babies in the United States every year belies the widespread misperception that domestic adoption is a difficult, time-consuming, expensive, and risky process. The truth is that most families successfully adopt within two years of beginning the process. The cost of a domestic adoption varies widely, from under $15,000 to more than $50,000. According to surveys conducted annually by Adoptive Families, the median total cost of a domestic adoption is $30,000 to $45,000, which tends to be considerably less than that of a typical international adoption.
In fact, the Adoption Council reported last year that in 2014, there were over 110,000 domestic adoptions. If only 18,000 of those were infant adoptions, then there is definitely proof that not everyone is interested in adopting an infant. In fact, infant adoptions are down in numbers compared to studies done in the ’90s, when over 26,000 infants were adopted.
But according to a news story done by Kristi Burton Brown in 2012 in LifeNews, the facts say otherwise.
“Business Library reports that ‘there are up to 36 couples waiting for every one baby placed for adoption.’
In the USA, there are approximately two million infertile couples waiting to adopt, many times regardless of the child’s medical problems such as Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, HIV infection or terminally ill. Dr. Brad Imler, President of America’s Pregnancy Helpline, confirms the challenge of waiting couples by stating: “Only 1% of the Helpline’s annual 40,000 clients inquires about adoption.”
That may be true. But those statistics are over five years old now, and many people are choosing to adopt in different ways.
In the United States foster care system, there are almost 500,000 children; on average, most children spend about two-and-a-half years in foster care. And the average age is eight years old, according to Adoptuskids.org. In addition, adoptions through the foster care system generally take a year or two as the courts decide to extend the time the biological parents can try to reunify.
In addition, in 2016, over 5,000 adoptions were intercountry adoptions, according to Travel.State.gov. On average, international adoptions are for toddlers and older children, as the process to adopt from another country can take a few years and can run an adoptive family’s expenses up over $50,000. Many of these children also come with medical needs that will need to be addressed immediately.
There also appears to be a rumor out there that infant adoptions are only for infants who suffer with some medical condition. However, adopted children are classified as “special needs” for many reasons. Simply not knowing one or both of the biological parents can make a child “special needs” because the adoptive family is unable to know of any possible medical conditions that may arise. Some children who are “special needs” have conditions that are easily remedied by a simple procedure (i.e. cleft lip or cleft palate). So if you’re considering adopting an infant, don’t let the label “special needs” scare you. Ask questions to find out how severe the need truly is.
You do need to keep in mind that many infants are born through drug and/or alcohol abuse and may need some time to go through their own withdraw symptoms. You will want to find out how long the baby was exposed, what they were exposed to, and what the side effects could be. The shorter time the baby has been exposed, the more likely you will be able to help the baby grow and mature into a healthy and intelligent individual. But an infant who was exposed throughout the entire pregnancy may have long-term effects that you may or may not be able to handle. In addition, each drug has a different effect on the unborn infant, some more easy to handle than others. The important thing to remember before agreeing to adopt an infant is to get as much information as you can beforehand.
From my own, personal experience and observations, infant adoptions take less time and money than the average adoption. We have had three infant adoptions, and they have all fallen way below the average for most domestic adoptions. I also have several friends who have adopted infants as well, and they have experienced faster adoptions because they were adopting an infant. Keep in mind, though, that the more qualifiers you place on your adoption, the longer the process will take. If you are willing to take either gender and any race, you are far more likely to be matched sooner.
*Just remember that each adoption is different and unique, and what I write here is just my own viewpoint of infant adoption. Others have had different experiences–some good, some bad. But if you feel led to infant adoption, then do your own research; ask your own questions; and follow God’s will for your life.
Please feel free to message me anytime if you have any questions about infant adoption. I can answer your questions from my own research and experience.