Debunked: Myths vs. Facts in Open Adoption
What is open adoption? For many, the term could hold different meanings – birth parents having little to no contact with the family to birth parents holding an extended family member role. Understanding of open adoption varies from person to person. However, there are myths about open adoption that do not hold true. Below are some myths debunked:
Myth: Open adoption is synonymous with co-parenting your child
Fact: In an open adoption, adoptive parents and birth parents are clearly defined in their roles – there is no shared custody of the child. The agreement is based upon the birth and adoptive parents’ wishes. In the end, adoptive parents are legally responsible for their children’s well-being.
Myth: Open adoption is puzzling to children
Fact: While the questions may start from an early age, children do have a sense of who their birth parents/adoptive parents are. They also understand that there may be an agreement in place between adoptive and birth parents wherein the child may see their birth parents a certain amount of times a year.
Myth: Adoptees grow up despising their birth parents
Fact: While they may feel some intense emotions throughout their lives, adoptees have the privilege to get to know their birth parents – to learn their stories and background. They can ask those tough questions; thus, making them less likely to have doubts or animosity toward their birth parents.
Myth: Adoptees grow up despising their adoptive parents
Fact: Adoptees who are a part of an open adoption learn their story from an early age – it is not hidden from them. Adoptive parents strive to give their children that understanding. This avoids them from creating their own fantasy and makes them more accepting of their story since it is discussed openly.
Myth: Most open adoption agreements eventually dwindle
Fact: While it is true that some relationships might fade, the majority are longstanding. In fact, most open adoption agreements are not legally binding. It is ultimately contingent on the birth parents and adoptive families forging a lasting relationship.
When considering open adoption, think about what you hear, and do your research. It’s important to not believe everything you hear.