Friday, June 29, 2012

stigma of adopted children

Allow me to take a break from my incessant Brandon updates and hop atop a soap box for an evening.

Tonight's topic: how much I hate the negative stigma adoption is given socially or in the media.

I first remember adoption having a negative connotation from the Baby-Sitters Club book, Claudia and the Great Search. In a nutshell, Claudia feels inferior to her older sister who is a child genius, so she deduces maybe she's adopted and that's why her parents love her less than they love her older sister.

That is certainly not the only example - there are countless other books (some undoubtedly more credible than the Baby-Sitters Club), TV shows, and movies that depict adopted children as inferior - unwanted, and treated unfairly in comparison to their siblings. Whenever a parent seems to be favoring one child over another or one sibling looks different than the others, the plot steers towards I must be adopted! What a horrible tragedy. No wonder my parents have never told me about it! 

I googled "social stigma adoption" because I'm what you would call a professional. No, I don't get paid for blogging, but I do research as if I really am a professional. That, and because I own more than one blazer. Any way, I digress.

What I discovered from my googling was that the reason adoption bears this stigma is because it has been associated in the popular mind with illegitimacy, orphanhood, and premarital or extramarital sex. Adoption records were sealed to protect the identities of the parents, who would undoubtedly be shamed if anyone were to find out later about this child.

However, despite the stigma, what I have seen is that adopted children are often the most lavished with attention. Adoptive parents are required back ground checks, a home study, legal hoops and additional financial burden that biological parents bypass. No one ever says, "whoops, we adopted a child!" it's always, "whoops, we're pregnant."

Adopted children are not unwanted. They're desperately wanted. Their parents have been checked out and have proven themselves as capable, willing, and able to raise children. I've often wondered why all parents aren't required the same checks. Just earlier tonight, on Judge Mathis, a woman said, "I wish I would have had an abortion while I still had the chance," after fighting about their child in court. People like that are having children just because they had unprotected sex. But people who desperately want children aren't.

I disagree with the social stigma given to adopted children - that they are in anyway inferior to children being raised by their biological parents. I understand the stigma attached to the parents who place their children up for adoption. I've felt it myself. I know that often times adoption occurs because of all those reasons that are associated with it. But what I don't understand is how that somehow morphs into a negative stigma attaching itself to the children who were adopted.

If only we were all so lucky as to be raised by adoptive parents or people who could be. If only we were all wanted, loved, and appreciated. If only there weren't mothers saying on TV that they wish they would have aborted their child while they had a chance, all the while, being a mother. If only the titles of "mother" and "father" were always accompanied by people who are trying their best to do that job the best they can. If only.


3 comments:

Mynx said...

Agreed. There are so many couples out there that would love to adopt a child but these days it is harder and harder to make it happen. There needs to be more support for those that are prepared to carry and then give up a child for adoption.

Paper Heart said...

Love this post!

melinda sue said...

i am always surprised that as far as we have come in so many areas, asoption does still have that stigma. when uncle matt and aunt stacy were in the process of adopting rachel, a friend of theirs (who did not know that emily was adopted) felt the need to tell them that he didn't know why anyone would adopt a child, he couldn't understand how anyone could love an adopted child as much as their own? uncle matt just smirked at him with a half nod, even though i am sure he wanted to punch him in the face.

honestly, some days in the shower (the only time in my day when i am alone, so the only time of the day i have to think) i think about all the unwanted children of the world, and all the people who desire children so badly and may not ever be able to have them and i just cry. this stigma keeps them both where they are instead of bringing them together.

you already know that i think adoption is the best and most wonderful gift in the world. and i pray that someday matthew and i may be on the receiving end of that gift. to me, there could be nothing better in life.