Monday 31 October 2011

Myth Busting Monday – National Adoption Week

This week is National Adoption Week so we thought we’d post some common myths about adoption for today’s blogpost. Please do add a comment if you have any examples of misinformation you’ve seen and check out our website for more information on adoption and pregnancy decision making.

Abortion isn’t the only pregnancy option which can fall prey to misinformation. Although adoption is much less likely to be targeted by those seeking to deliberately misinform it is certainly a topic which can be misrepresented by tabloids and soap operas, often with only a fleeting regard for those with real life experience of the adoption process.

Last year the British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) carried out a survey which found that a large proportion of those questioned carried outdated notions of what adoption entails. We’ve addressed a few myths below but check out the BAAF website for more detailed information on the process.

Myth 1: Most children are adopted because they have been given up by their birth family.
When abortion was illegal in England,Wales and Scotland, and single motherhood still seen as culturally unacceptable, the placing of newborns into adoptive families was a lot more common than it is now.  Young, unmarried women who became pregnant were coerced into giving babies up for adoption as their other choices became severely restricted. Nowadays, the most common reason for adoption is that the child has been removed from their birth family due to abuse or neglect in the home.

Myth 2:  Adopted children are never allowed any contact with their birth family.
Research has shown that for many children, some form of contact after adoption between the children and their birth parents, siblings and other relatives and significant others can be beneficial. When proposing any arrangements for contact, the first consideration will always be what is in the best interests of the child.

Myth 3: You can’t adopt if you’re single, gay, over 40, religious, obese, a smoker etc.

Although there are some clear restrictions to who can and can’t adopt (such as certain criminal convictions or health issues) the remit for acceptance is not as strict as many people seem to think. The BAAF Chief Executive states that in fact, ‘94% of people who make it to an adoption panel get approved.’

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