Guest Viewpoint: Debunking some adoption myths

By Sue Barnhart

Today, when there are children who need homes, when there are couples dealing
with infertility, and when overpopulation is reaching a crisis, adoption is a
choice that makes sense.
In the United States, 1.6 million children are adopted. Approximately 100,000
additional children are adopted every year. Of these, about 42 percent are
adopted by step-parents or relatives, 14.5 percent are children who were in
foster care and 5 percent are international adoptions.

I would like to address three adoption myths. One myth is that people cannot
love an adopted child as much as a birth child. From my own experience, it's
hard to imagine loving a child more then I love my adopted daughter.

From the moment I dreamed of being a parent, I loved my yet-to-be-conceived or
adopted child. I had always planned to adopt children as well as give birth to
a child. As my life unfurled, it turned out I would be an older parent.

As I realized how much I wanted a child, I also realized it didn't matter
whether a child was born of my body or, as we adoptive parents say, born of my
heart; I just wanted to be a parent.

Being a parent has brought me great joy and richness of experiences. All the
adoptive parents I have met agree that love is not a question. You will love
and cherish the child or children you adopt.

Another misunderstanding has to do with the expense of adoption. Adoption often
costs about as much as giving birth in a hospital. Some employers are beginning
to subsidize adoption costs for their employees. There are also some adoption
grants available. Adopting a school-aged child through the state child welfare
system can be free. The IRS even offers an incentive: a tax credit of up to
$10,000 to reimburse an adoptive family for adoption expenses. Hopefully one
day there'll be more financial help for people who want to create their
families through adoption.

A third myth is that adopted children are more troubled than those who live
with their biological parents. In fact, all children - those who are adopted
and those who are not - have about the same amount of successes and failures,
the same number of ups and downs.

We at Adoptive Families of Lane County see daily evidence that young adoptees
are making valuable contributions to their communities. See for yourself: Join
us on Nov. 13 when the first Maan Family/AFLC Humanitarian Service Scholarship
will be awarded.

All of the high school juniors and seniors nominated for the scholarship
volunteer many hours in the community and received glowing recommendations. Out
of this accomplished group, two candidates rose to the top: Meagan and Lara
Colvin, twin sisters who are seniors at Churchill High School. The local
humanitarian organizations that have benefited from Meagan and Lara Colvin's
service include Birth to Three, Womenspace, Camp Willani, an orphanage in
Mexico, and Churchill's student government.

Their school counselor, Shannon Rosen, said, "Churchill is always proud when
Lara and/or Meagan have the opportunity to represent our school because they
are truly representative of the best qualities of today's high school students.
Intelligent, respectful, reserved, talented, humorous, thoughtful and giving
are just a few adjectives that describe these two individuals."

November is Adoption Awareness month. Please join the Lane County adoption
community in celebrating the humanitarian accomplishments of these two
compassionate young people.

A good friend will come and bail you out of jail . . . but, a true friend will
be sitting next to you saying, "**** . . . that was fun!"