This I Believe

Rose - Niskayuna, New York
Entered on October 23, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: children

I love November. It’s my birthday month, pumpkin pie is divine, and who doesn’t get excited about the floats in the Thanksgiving parade? It’s also National Adoption Month. The time of year that adopted families like mine celebrate the special way our families have been created.

I believe that, thanks to adoption, I am one lucky lady. I have four children: two adopted and two biological — all mine. Each is an amazing individual with a warm smile and a bright future. And while my family doesn’t all have the same DNA, you bet we share love.

Five million people in the US today are adoptees, with more than 100,000 children being adopted every year. Adoptees are everywhere — writers, doctors, police officers, even fast food entrepreneurs (as in the late Dave Thomas who did so much for adoption). Typically adoptive families don’t get much fanfare. Angelina’s and Madonna’s adoptions are the kind that make headlines. I’m glad these celebrities draw attention to tragic world situations and needy children, but I believe big bucks and star appeal aren’t adoption prerequisites. Love and a warm home will do just fine.

When people see my family out, they often smile and pay us compliments. (My adopted kids are Asian so folks surmise they’re adopted.) Occasionally though, we’ll get a misinformed remark, and I try to set people straight.

Here are some of the adoption myths I dispel:

Myth 1 – Adoption is outrageously expensive. Not always. Costs to adopt domestically average $15,000, and that’s before the $10,000 adoption tax credit. And state agencies will help families needing help.

Myth 2 – -Birthparents can show up at any time and reclaim their child. That makes for great TV ratings, but it’s not true. With extremely rare exceptions. once an adoption is finalized, the adoptive family is recognized as the child’s family by law.

Myth 3 Adopted kids have more problems than birth children. Research shows that adoptees are as well adjusted as their non-adopted peers. And forgive the bragging mom here but my adopted kids are musical, athletic, hard-working students. Did I mention adorable? Funny? Even presidential material? (Make that vice president. Foreign-born children can’t be president because they are naturalized citizens. But this could change. My son Connor has already sent President Bush a letter proposing a Constitutional amendment.)

Myth 4. That the adoptive parent-child bond can’t be as deep as in biological families. Way wrong answer. Ask any adopted parent this question and you’ll get an earful about a heart full of love.

So this Thanksgiving season, I’m thankful for all those in the ever-widening circle that is adoption. The birth parents who make the difficult decision to offer their precious children what they hope will be a full life. Fellow adoptive parents opening their hearts and their homes. The adoption professionals who work hard to connect the child- and parent- dots. And adopted children, of every age and ethnicity who bring far more than they ever realize to their adoptive families.

This is what I believe: right now there is someone out there whose heart strings may be feeling the tug of adoption. This year’s national adoption month theme is “Answering the Call” because so many babies, children, and especially teens, are calling for families, and one could be calling you.

It doesn’t matter what leads you to adoption. Go. Go. Go. Adoption doesn’t demand perfect people, just those who are perfectly willing to surrender their hearts unconditionally.

This is what I believe.