Throughout my life, I have heard lies, fibs, and myths. I think back over the content that made up these non-truths, and I find a couple of common threads. Inexperience and misinformation. Now, the myths I will be discussing are not from mythology. They are about—yep—you guessed it—adoption. Not just adoption. International adoption. As I sit at my computer right now, I am trying to think of international adoption myths. I sit, and sit, and realize this will be a learning experience for me as well. Below are five international adoption myths I found interesting and did not think were myths.
1. International adoption is more expensive than domestic adoption.
In reality, neither one is that much more than the other. In international adoption, you have the costs of flights to and from the countries, but the fees are spread out, making costs somewhat more affordable, because you don’t have to pay everything in one lump sum, all at once. Now, please don’t think in domestic adoptions all money is owed upfront and domestic adoption is more expensive than international adoption. Please make sure you do your research with any adoption you are planning. Each adoption is unique in many ways, and the cost is one of them.
2. All children from international adoptions have disabilities.
This is far from the truth. Do some children from other countries have special needs? Of course! So do children placed for domestic adoption. Please don’t let a disability immediately deter you from adopting a child. Please try to get all the medical information you can, which I know can be difficult and sometimes impossible. Many children from international adoptions are very healthy, and many don’t have special needs but are just adjusting to new voices, a new culture, and being held and cuddled so much, which they may not be used to. Give the children a chance. They are craving a structured, loving environment, which you can, and hopefully will provide. Given this environment, they will thrive and become happy, well-adjusted children.
3. You can adopt from any country you want.
I thought you could. Seriously, I didn’t understand why you wouldn’t be able to. Well, I was proven wrong. Apparently, upon doing some research, countries have different rules and regulations. Some countries prefer older parents, some prefer younger. Some don’t want older siblings in the household, and some have weight requirements—for the parents! If a parent is obese, they will not be allowed to adopt from some countries. While some may be reading this saying to themselves, how silly these rules are, children just need good, loving homes! Just remember, the United States has rules and regulations for adoption that I am sure other countries think are strange. These rules and regulations are for the safety and welfare of the child, both for the present and down the road.
4. People will judge you as a family if you adopt a child of another ethnicity and race.
Will some do judge you because your child is Chinese and you are American? Absolutely. There is some truth to this myth. The majority of people you socialize with, and a majority of friends, family, and coworkers will not judge you because you adopted a child out of the country. Many people are loving and understanding. International adoption doesn’t mean judgment, it just means another child to love.
5. Eligibility requirements are set in place by the placing agencies.
This is truly a myth, in most circumstances. A country’s government makes the eligibility requirements for people to adopt. The placing agencies are there to provide prospective parents with the rules and regulations of the country. It is the country one is adopting from that sets the eligibility requirements, whether they be the parents must not weigh more than a certain amount, or prospective parents must not have any other children before adoption. In some situations, agencies can build on these requirements, but in all situations, please do your homework and ask questions. Make sure you get all the facts before proceeding with an adoption. Everyone wants to ensure the adoption is positive for both you and the adoptee to be.
Are you and your partner ready to start the adoption process? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to begin your adoption journey. We have 130+ years of adoption experience and would love to help you.