That Baby Don’t Look Like Me!
9 months. That’s how long it took from the day we turned in our adoption application until the day our beautiful baby girl came home with us. I couldn’t have planned it better if I’d gotten pregnant myself!
Of course we adopted because I had a big problem getting pregnant myself. When I started facing infertility challenges, adopting was a no-brainer for me. I told myself, “Girl, you get to keep your cute figure AND have a little bundle of joy!! What a win-win situation!” I later found out that many of my girlfriends were having the same challenges conceiving. In fact, the studies show that 1 in 6 couples face infertility challenges*. I was so excited to be a mom, that I suggested adoption to other women facing infertility. However, most were adamant about having biological children at any cost. And I had to wonder why.
According to the Adoption Institute**, more than 30% of children in foster care are African American and are less likely than any other ethnic group to ever have a permanent family. Black children in general, whether they are infants or older children, have much lower rates of adoption***
I surveyed some friends to find out what myths are prevalent among African Americans when it comes to adopting. Here are some of the common thoughts and my responses:
“You just don’t know what kinds of problems that child will have when you adopt a baby!” The truth is, you never know what you’ll get when you have a baby – biological or adopted. When you give birth to a baby the child could be perfectly healthy or have health issues that arise later. The same is true for adoption. Most adoptive parents are informed if the child has a high risk of health issues prior to adoption.
“Adoption is expensive.” It doesn’t have to be. Many adoption agencies have a sliding scale to enable people of all economic backgrounds to adopt children. This is especially true of agencies that specialize in African American adoptions. Also the IRS offers an adoption Tax Credit of up to $13,360 that significantly reduces the cost of adoption.****
“Adopted kids rebel against the people that raised them once they find out they are adopted!” Every child is different and will process the fact that they are adopted in their own unique way. Our family has told our daughter that she is adopted since before she could speak. We always tell her that she is a special gift to our family, and because of this she sees adoption as “normal.” In her eyes, adoption is just another way to build a family.
“I want my baby to look like me and my family!” For our family, love trumps biology. It was more important for us to have the experience of raising a responsible little citizen with values, than to have a child that looks just like us.
Adoption isn’t for everyone. But for my family it was the best choice we ever made.
Mommies, would you ever considered adoption to expand your family?
**www.adoptioninstitute.org, “Finding Families for African American Children: The Role of Race & Law in Adoption for Foster Care”
***US DHHS, 2008
Yolanda Darville is a mom, writer, communications strategist and blogger focusing on philanthropy and empowering women. Learn more about her on her blog www.bahamamommyinc.com .