From both people who do want to adopt and from those who are just curious, one of the questions I often hear as both a family law attorney and an adoptee myself is: “What are the pros and cons of adoption?”
Like anything in life, adoption comes with its own fair share of advantages and disadvantages. And what may be a pro for one family, may be a con for another – and vice versa. Let’s look at some of the factors and categories that are generally pros and generally cons for adoption.
What are the Pros and Cons of Adoption for a Child?
Pros – Adoption can have a profound impact on a child’s life. The most significant advantage is the opportunity to grow up in a loving, stable environment when their biological parents are unable to provide it. This stability often leads to better emotional health, educational opportunities, and a higher standard of living.
However, there are also cons associated with adoption for a child. One of the most common challenges is dealing with questions about their identity and heritage. They may also struggle with feelings of abandonment or rejection from their birth parents.
From a non-legal perspective, we’ve noticed that adoptive parents may need some guidance about the psychology of adopted children. Parents may have to go through a longterm process of helping lead their adoptive children to break through beliefs of rejection or abandonment.
I was adopted, and have had many feelings and thoughts of abandonment and rejection throughout my life, even though I know that my adoptive parents and biological parents love and have loved me. It does not mean someone who is adopted is stuck or never able to change their beliefs, but it can be a difficult and challenging process to break through.
Pros of Adoption
There are several pros of adoption for adoptive parents. These include the chance to start or expand a family, the joy of providing a nurturing home for a child in need, and the opportunity to share their life with someone who might otherwise not have a chance for a stable family life.
Not to say that adoptive parents “fix” their children, but it really just means giving someone more of an opportunity in their life to grow up into the person they were born to be.
Pros and Cons of Adoption for Birth Mother
The decision to place a child for adoption is one of the most difficult choices a birth mother can make.
One of the pros of adoption for the birth mother is knowing her child will be raised in a safe, secure environment. She may also receive financial assistance during her pregnancy from the adoptive parents.
On the downside, the birth mother may experience feelings of loss, guilt, and grief after the adoption. She may also face societal stigma or judgment from others due to her decision.
Sometimes this process can be difficult for the birth mother as life circumstances have put her in the place that prevents her from giving a good life for her child. Making this decision is not easy and not always what she may want to do, but its the best decision for the child.
What are the Benefits of Adoption for the Biological Mother?
Beyond the emotional benefits, the biological mother may also reap some practical benefits from adoption. These include the ability to pursue personal goals like education or career, and avoiding the financial strain of raising a child.
Sometimes the hardest thing in life is acknowledging when you’re not ready to move forward into something new.
Pros and Cons of International Adoption
International adoption allows parents to adopt a child from another country. This process has its pros, such as the chance to provide a home for a child who may be in desperate circumstances. It also fosters cultural diversity within the family.
However, international adoption comes with potential cons like high costs, lengthy processes, and potential legal difficulties. Furthermore, the child may find it challenging to adapt to a new culture and language.
Along with all the above challenges no guarantees are made that the adoption will come through, thus leaving the adoptive parents disappointed and out of money, time, and opportunity.
Adoption is a process, and we counsel our clients to prepare accordingly – sometimes the process takes longer or is more difficult than expected.
Pros of Adoption in the US
Adopting in the US has its advantages. These include a generally shorter wait time compared to international adoption, and a wide range of children of all ages available for adoption. There’s also the benefit of fewer language and cultural barriers for the child.
Similar to international adoption, adoption within the US can be a difficult process. Every adoption is different and sometimes unforeseen obstacles pop up.
Government Benefits of Adopting a Child
Adopting a child also comes with certain government benefits. These may include tax credits, subsidies, and assistance with medical care. Additionally, some employers offer adoption benefits such as paid leave and reimbursement of adoption expenses.
Government benefits should not be you primary focus when looking to adopt a child. The reimbursement and government benefits are not nearly enough to cover the cost of raising a child. However, they do make the hurdle to adoption that much lower for families who are financially on the edge of making that leap to adopt.
While adoption comes with numerous pros, it’s essential to recognize and prepare for the potential cons. As with any major life decision, it’s crucial to do thorough research and consider all aspects before deciding. The joy and fulfillment of providing a child with a loving home can indeed be one of life’s most rewarding experiences.