Dear Adoption Maharishi: Cause and Effect of Adoption
Dear Adoption Maharishi,
I was wondering if you could explain the cause of adoption and the effect of adoption.
The “cause” of adoption is an easier topic to discuss, so I will address that first. The “cause” of adoption is that there are children who need parents as well as adults wanting to parent children, and adoption brings these two groups together.
The “cause” of adults seeking to adopt children generally falls into two groups – those who want to be parents but are unable to have biological children themselves (such as infertile or same sex couples) and those who want to be parents and choose to grow their families through adoption as a first choice. In either case, the adults have a strong desire to parent a child, which is the “cause” of them seeking to adopt a child.
The “cause” of children being placed for adoption is much more varied. There are basically three types of adoptions – inter-country (international) adoption, domestic foster adoption, and domestic infant adoption. Children who are available for adoption in other countries are typically (but not always) older (not infants) living in third world countries who have no parents to raise them. Poverty is often one of the causes of the children being placed into orphanages or foster care. Children in the foster care system have typically been removed from unsafe homes due to abuse and/or neglect and are older (not infants, although some infants are adopted through the foster care system).
The “cause” of infant adoption is much more varied. The one thing that most infant adoptions have in common is that the birth mother believes that placing the baby into an adoptive home is what is best for the baby. This might be due to the birthmother’s age (feels too young or too old to parent), the birthmother’s situation (baby conceived by rape or incest; birthmother living in an abusive home; poverty; etc.), or a myriad of other factors.
The “effect” of adoption is a complicated answer, and you will receive a different answer based upon who you ask. In the best situations, the adopted child grows up in a loving home and feels very much connected to his or her adoptive family, and the birth parents are able to grieve the loss the birth child and live successful lives. In the worst situations, the adopted child is placed into an unsafe home and/or the birth parents suffer deep emotional repercussions of being separated from their birth child. The effects of most adoptions are likely to fall somewhere between these two extremes.
Some adult adoptees report suffering from a primal wound from being separated from their birth parents while other adult adoptees say they simply view their adoptive family as their family and do not experience a “primal wound.” Some birthmothers (many of whom prefer terms such as “natural mothers” or “biological mothers”) say that they suffer deep emotional wounds that do not heal after placing a baby for adoption while other birthmothers feel very good and “at peace” about giving their birth child the “gift” of a “better” life than they could have provided when the baby was born.
The effects for adoptive parents vary as well. Most adoptive parents I know feel extremely grateful for having the opportunity to parent their adopted children. However, because adopted children are twice as likely to suffer from disabilities, one effect can be that the adoptive parents are more likely to face the challenges of parenting a child with special needs than the average biological parent does. Also, adoptive parents who adopt older children (either through domestic foster care or inter-country adoption) are more likely to deal with special needs.
Bottom line -- The "cause" and "effect" of adoption is going to vary depending upon who you ask and the experiences each person has had with adoption.
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This blog is written by multiple people and expresses our opinions and thoughts about a specific situation. We include adoptive and birth family members.
Our sense of humor led us to select this user name. Dear Adoption Maharishi can be abbreviated as DAM. We are being a little punny. Dam can be defined as a female parent and we are all female.
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