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Debunking some adoption myths

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  • Debunking some adoption myths

    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!"
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