Myths & Misconceptions About Adoption: Part 2

parents with child in the middle, wrapping her arms over their shoulders

This blog post is part 2 in a series where we dispel some of the common misconceptions and harmful assumptions that are made about adoption.

This week, we challenge the idea that: “Adopted children are lucky to be “saved” by the families that raise them.”

Adoptive parents should not consider themselves “saviors,” and adopted children shouldn’t be looked down upon and pitied. Parents should not expect their child to be grateful to them for being adopted— just as a biological parents shouldn’t expect their biological child to thank them for allowing them to be in their family. What all children need is unwavering support and the complete love of a forever family. They don’t need a parent with a savior complex.

In specific, the White Savior Complex is a phenomenon in which a white person provides help or “rescues” people of color who are experiencing unfortunate circumstances, in a self-serving manner. Although these actions may stem from good intentions, this mentality puts marginalized groups in an inferior role when it comes to issues that they are facing firsthand.

In terms of adoption, as well as foster care, it is imperative to dismantle this preconceived, subconscious notion that people of color need of “saving.” This is highly relevant to the child welfare system, as more than 40% of adoptions are transracial, according to a survey from the Department of Health and Human Services.

In this woman’s personal experience, the process of being adopted was extremely frightening and confusing. When adults told her she was “lucky,” she responded:

“Did you lose your first brother and sister? Did you grow up cold and hungry? Did you live two lives, in two different countries? No? Then you must be the lucky one.”

Children going through adoption may have difficulty transitioning. They need their caretakers to prove that they will stay dependable, trustworthy, and loving. After the trauma involved with being adopted, they don’t need to be told that they are lucky to be wanted.

As you think about adopting a child, or the role you already have as a parent of an adopted child, keep your goal and intentions in mind. The most successful adoptions aren’t motivated by the adoptive parents’ personal desires, but rather by a focus on the interests of the child.

For support and resources, you can join Evolve’s Proactive Parenting Support Group. It is a place for current or prospective adoptive parents and foster care providers to encourage one another through community, education, and common understanding.

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