In today’s Thursday’s Truth I have to face a truth of my own: Adoption is scary.
I ambitiously set out to lay out a series of myths presented in the book Labor of the Heart by Kathleen L. Whitten, Ph.D. The book is wonderful in helping calm nerves about all of the considerations adoption presents. However, in doing research for this series, I came across more recent studies that helped to confirm the myths rather than dispel them.
The project is officially scrapped. There is too much conflicting information to present an accurate conclusion for you, my readers, to rely on. I can’t give you half-hearted information hoping to present a sparkling picture of adoption. Nor, do I want you to walk away discouraged.
Honestly, reading these studies scare me, but not for the reasons one might assume. The more current studies show that adopted children are at higher risk for mental health and behavioral issues. However, the overall risk remains low so that is not the frightening part.
For me, what is scary is that no one really seems to know how adoption impacts our children. Study after study generates conflicting results. This is not surprising to me as the road to adoption varies so widely that pinpointing the impact of the adoption status, verses the experiences of the child prior to adoption, as the precise variable in the differences is nearly impossible.
Every adoption looks different. Some children are coming out of abuse and neglect. There are other children arriving to our families after lying in a crib in an orphanage for months. Even domestic newborn adoption, the route considered least likely to result in mental health and/or behavioral issues, has a myriad of variables within the prenatal care and the mental well-being of the expectant mom.
I do not have a guide to follow as to how to help my children best. Far beyond any risk of mental or behavioral problems, that is what scares me most. I am just doing my best and hoping it all works out in the end. For someone who thrives on black and white answers, this is a terrifying approach. I like control. I like clear-cut answers. I have neither. I only have one thing I know for sure: Adoption. Is. Scary.