We are so grateful for open adoption. Open adoption has been a huge blessing to us. As you saw yesterday, we are blessed with an extremely outstanding birth family, and we're so grateful that they are a part of our (and especially Iris's) lives.
There are a lot of really prevalent myths out there regarding adoption. Here is a list of just a few of these myths, which we got from our agency's website.
Birth parents who place their babies for adoption are abandoning their responsibility and taking the “easy way out.” There is no easy way out of unplanned pregnancy; any option involves emotional pain. Most birth mothers who do not choose abortion make the choice initially to parent their babies. Those who choose adoption do so after taking some time to carefully consider their options and the best interests of their child. Adoption is a courageous, loving choice which shows that the birth mother takes seriously the responsibility to be a parent.
An adoptive parent cannot love a child as much as a biological parent can. Love is not based on biology. Many loving relationships are between individuals who are not related to each other, such as husbands and wives. The love of a parent comes from preparing for a child and selflessly nurturing and caring for that child.
A birth mother can reclaim her child after adoption. Once a birth mother’s rights have been terminated, she cannot reclaim her child. Cases of birth parents obtaining custody after adoption are extremely rare and are exaggerated by the media.
After a child has been placed, a birth mother cannot have any contact with the child. Adoption practices have changed over the years. Today most birth mothers have some contact with their children. Arrangements are agreed upon by the birth mother and the adoptive parents and are based upon the needs and desires of all concerned.
Children who were adopted are more likely to have physical or emotional challenges. It is impossible to predict how any child will turn out, whether biological or adopted. Generally, children who were adopted as infants are as emotionally healthy as children who were not adopted. Children who were adopted when older may have challenges resulting from adverse conditions in their early lives, such as neglect, abuse, or lack of attachment. These challenges do not result from the adoption itself.
Birth mothers never recover from the emotional pain of placing a child for adoption. Birth mothers who choose adoption go through a grieving process, which is a healthy way of dealing with loss. But most birth mothers also report finding peace in the knowledge that they did all in their power to provide the best life possible for their child. They find that the experience gives them the strength and confidence to face other challenges throughout their lives.
While there is a lot of media that does not portray adoption accurately, there's also a lot of media that does a great job illustrating positive, uplifting and "real" stories about adoption. A few of our favorites are:
TV and Movies:
-Dinosaur Train: this is a kids show on PBS about a T-Rex dinosaur who loves science, and happened to be adopted by a family of pteranodons. It's heartwarming when his adoption comes up. He knows he is loved by his family, and he appreciates his identity and differences from his family too. I think it's a good balance.
- The Blindside: this movie is so great. We love the story of Michael Orr's adoption into a family that just embraced him and loved him as 100% theirs.
- Meet the Robinsons: this is a Disney animated film from a few years ago. It doesn't really tell the story of the main character's biological family, but it does show his struggle with his identity as an orphan, and later the beautiful story of his adoption.
- Anne of Green Gables: I watched this movie a ton as a kid, and back then, adoption was not really on my mind. It's not a typical adoption story, but I think it's heartwarming.
- The Odd Life of Timothy Green: This movie is interesting. It's kind of "artsy," for lack of a better word. We enjoyed it a lot.
- Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born: this children's picture book, written by Jamie Lee Curtis, who adopted her kids, is absolutely heartwarming. It's about a girl asking her parents to tell her the story of her adoption. The first few times I read this to Iris I couldn't get through dry-eyed. It's such a sweet story.
-Once Upon a Baby, A Tale of Adoption: this sweet children's book is written for LDS audiences, as it talks about a baby who was adopted and sealed in the temple to their family.
-The Open Adoption Experience: this is an adult nonfiction book written for birth families and adoptive parents about having a positive open adoption experience.
-Raising Adopted Children: this is also an adult nonfiction book for adoptive parents with advice and information from an a fellow adoptive parent about issues adoptive parents may face. (Disclaimer: We haven't read the last two books on this list cover to cover, but we've skimmed through and perused each enough to feel good about recommending them.)
Also, here are a few clips about adoption that we've found the last few weeks and wanted to share:
An International Adoption Story
Special Needs Adoptions
An adopted teen talks about her open adoption
What are some of your favorite books, movies, etc. about adoption? We're always looking to expand our libraries of these.