There seem to be plenty of stereotypes about birth parents: that they’re addicted to drugs, that birth fathers don’t care, or that birth mothers are women who don’t want children. Stereotypes develop because not enough is known about a person or situation. Stereotypes about birth parents are no different. They’ve developed from a variety of sources, and society has come to develop them into a stereotype birth parent.
Actually, one thing birth parents have in common is the desire to provide their child with the best life they can. Women who choose adoption do so out of love. Birth mothers make a very difficult, but also courageous choice that should be supported and applauded.
It’s time we put a stop to these hurtful stereotypes about birth parents and replace them with the truth:
1. Stereotype: All birth parents are teenagers.
Truth: Birth parents are a wide range of ages
Teenagers aren’t the only people facing an unplanned pregnancy. The fact is that plenty of people decide that adoption is their best option, from teens to women in their forties. They’re making an adoption plan after lots of thought so that they can provide their child with a life that they can’t.
2. Stereotype: Birth parents are addicted to drugs.
Truth: Some birth parents use, but many do not.
Around 20% of birth mothers use drugs or alcohol during their pregnancy. In most of these cases, she used drugs or drank before she became aware of her pregnancy. Women choose adoption out of concern and love for their unborn child. So, they’d rarely consider something that would cause their baby any harm.
3. Stereotype: Birth fathers don’t care.
Truth: Most birth fathers do care, and want to be involved in the adoption.
This stereotype about birth parents damages all men and fathers. There are stories of men who didn’t know they had a baby placed into an adoptive family’s home and then worked for some contact.
Fortunately, adoption laws have evolved to protect the rights of birth fathers, so this won’t happen. As open adoption has become the norm, many birth fathers are actively involved in the adoption planning process. And, they remain in contact with the adoptive couple and their child as the years pass. Open adoption benefits everyone in the adoption triad: the adoptee, adoptive family, and both of the birth parents. So, birth fathers shouldn’t be regarded as dismissive.
4. Stereotype: All birth parents are poor.
Truth: Birth parents come from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds
Some birth mothers receive public assistance and feel that they can’t adequately provide for their baby. Other birth mothers come from middle-class backgrounds. They might be in college, have other children, or be living with their parents.
The truth is typically someplace in between. Often, birth mothers feel like they are just barely getting by and can’t provide for one more child in the midst of everything they’re handling.
5. Stereotype: Birth mothers don’t want children.
Truth: There’s no single reason why a woman decides on adoption.
Some birth mothers are already parenting children and don’t have the means to care for another. Some birth mothers want to have children in the future but aren’t ready right now. Sometimes the baby was wanted and even planned, but their situation led to adoption being the best choice.