National Adoption Month: Two Truth’s and a Lie on Adoption
The beauty in National Adoption Month is being able to spotlight and cherish the youth who have been touched by adoption. Their strength and heart have an effect on everyone involved and through this, invites more people to take part in the celebration. As we bring more awareness to this cause, it is important to ensure that we get all the facts straight about adoption. At National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP), we feel we have a moral obligation to make sure you know those facts. These are two underlying truths and a myth that we have found to be common among those considering adoption.
“The younger a child is when you adopt, the better off everyone is.” Truth or Lie?
This is one of the most common myths in adoption. Families who are seeking to adopt often look to add a child under the age of six to the family. The thinking behind this is that the younger the child, the easier to bond and re-teach behavior and ethical principles. Often though, it’s the youth ages eight and up who hold the memories and language to understand their own trauma they’ve experienced. This helps them to heal the wounds of their past, and allows them to feel the much-needed gratitude that they are no longer experiencing that trauma. We encourage our families to consider both younger and older youth in adoption because it depends on what is the right fit for the family and the child in adoption.
“Love is essential, but sometimes adoption requires more.” Truth or Lie?
We hope that love can heal most things in this world, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. Youth being adopted from the foster care system have experienced great damage in their lives and love, while a requirement, will not be enough to help them heal from their trauma. It’s a mixture of love and empathy which communicates a sense of understanding in a child that can help them embrace the difficult emotions facing them. They need parents and caregivers who understand the impact that trauma has had on their physical and emotional development as well as their behavior.
“Adoption is an emotional roller coaster.” Truth or Lie?
The old saying “patience is virtue” rings true here. There are many highs, lows and doubts that are part of the adoption process. Parents may doubt that they are adopting the ‘right’ children for their family, or if they will be able to meet a child’s specific needs. Even after adoption is finalized, parents and children will still have good days and bad days and will make progress forward and will take steps back. The important thing to know is that while adoption can be an emotional toll, at the end of the day that child will go to sleep knowing they have a family that loves and care for them.
Adoption is a beautiful thing to watch unfold because it tests the child and parents with every fiber, both mentally and physically, that leaves all those involved stronger than before. We are grateful to have truly amazing individuals in our adoption program who embody the values to change the lives of youth everywhere.