Adoption has historically been viewed in a positive light. Adoptive parents are often praised for their “charity.” While there is good in adoption, there are many ways of looking at adoption based on the person the adoption might affect and the situation from which the adoption stems. There is a dark side to adoption, as there might be with any life-altering event. Adoption views can vary widely but typically begin from four different worldviews.

1. As a Way to Grow Families

Adoption is widely viewed as a way for couples who are unable to have children or unable to have more children to grow their families. Adoption is often generalized as the answer to infertility. Some may also view adoption as a way to be able to select the gender of their next child. After having three boys, I was often asked if we adopted my daughter because we “just couldn’t get that girl.” No. No, we didn’t. Not even a little.

2. Destructive

While it may seem unbelievable that there are those who do not like adoption, it is a more popular belief than one might think. Many birth families have had their family ripped apart by adoption. Adoption is done legally and can be beautiful, but adoption does have a dark side. There are children who are placed for adoption through the foster care system who did not get ample opportunities to be reunited with their families. Many families are too poor or lack the knowledge of their rights to be able to keep their family together. In international adoption, there have been cases where parents have been told that their children were being sent away temporarily for educational opportunity, only to find out that the child had been adopted by someone from another country. Adoption can be destructive to the family unit when used as a tool for evil and greed within person and system.

3. Plan B

You may often hear from adoptive parents, “God knew my child was meant to be mine. She just came to me through a different way.” or “He was always meant to be a part of our family.” While this is a lovely sentiment, there are many who understand that adoption is plan B. While adoption is often the only option in many situations, the goal should always be reunification. Children do belong in families, but they deserve the chance to be with their biological family if it is possible and if it is healthy. When this is impossible, adoption steps in to fill a need. This does not abolish the tie to a biological family or undermine its importance. Adoption simply recognizes that children cannot always be with their biological families and may need to employ adoption as the plan B.

4. The Middle Ground

Much like plan B, there are some who see adoption from a middle ground perspective. These people understand that adoption is filling a need, but understand that adoption is also the only option for some to grow their family. It is also understood that, like my family, we chose adoption simply because we wanted to grow our family but also felt that adoption was the route we chose even though infertility was not an issue. We knew that many children needed homes and have always known we would choose adoption at some point. The middle ground perspective understands the value of biological families and may often choose open adoption as an option. This may be seen especially in a case where birth parents are under circumstances with which they are unable to parent but would still like to maintain a relationship with their child.