If you are a woman exploring your options during your unplanned pregnancy, you’re likely experiencing a whirlwind of emotions, thoughts and questions. Finding the best resources and information will help avoid any confusion and guide you toward the right decision.
If you are considering adoption, you may have already noticed that the process is fairly complex. Most people have a general idea of what adoption is and the steps it takes to complete — but exactly what does adoption mean?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines adopt as: “to take by choice into a relationship, especially to take voluntarily (a child of other parents) as one’s own child.” The definition falls in line with the overall concept of adoption, but does it truly grasp the meaning of adoption?
The answer is no.
The dictionary is able to define the word and the concept, but to fully describe and understand the meaning of adoption, you need to grasp the emotional impact it has on everyone involved. For birth parents, adoptive families and adoptees, adoption means something different; until you can relate, this meaning will remain unclear. But this article can help you get there.
Continue reading to learn more about the meaning of adoption as it applies to all members of the adoption triad.
What does adoption mean to birth parents?
For birth parents, the meaning of adoption will vary— but there will likely be common themes.
The most common meaning of adoption? That it allows them to put the love for their child first.
When a prospective birth mother chooses adoption for her child, she is making a selfless decision for her baby. She wants to provide her child the best opportunities throughout their life.
Although this adoption meaning gives strength to many birth parents, the emotional toll attached to adoption is something that never fully goes away. Grief and loss is common after placement, which is why confidence in your reasons and your personal adoption meaning can help. Don’t forget: Open adoptions allow birth parents to be involved in their child’s life, a key part of the healing process for some.
Not only does adoption provide birth parents the peace of mind knowing they are giving their child endless possibilities, it makes an adoptive family’s dreams come true, too. This can add to the emotional impact and meaning of adoption.
Many prospective birth parents also have personal goals for their life. Adoption allows them a chance to achieve these goals, which may not have been a possibility if they chose to parent their baby.
Although it is bittersweet for birth parents, the emotional and impactful meaning of adoption is something they feel every day. To them, adoption means opportunity, hope and love — for themselves and their baby.
Is adoption right for you?
Choosing adoption is not a decision made on a whim.
Prospective birth parents put plenty of thought and consideration into placing their child for adoption.
What does adoption mean to adoptive families?
Every adoptive parent n is different. Some adoptive families are physically unable to have a child on their own. Other families understand there are thousands of children hoping to be adopted, and they want to do their part to make a change.
There are endless reasons adoptive families pursue adoption, but all families have the same goal in mind — become parents and provide a loving home for their son or daughter.
To these parents, the meaning of adoption is simple: It provides them with the gift of growing their family. It fulfills their dreams of becoming a parent. It allows them to share the love and support with a child they have longed for. It completely changes their lives for the better.
Their adopted child is a daily reminder of the loving choice one birth mother made to give her child the best possible life.
As with every family, adoptive parents will be faced with challenges. These challenges do not take away from the appreciation and joy shared after adopting. They value their opportunity and the emotional meaning of adoption each and every day and will for the rest of their lives.
What does adoption mean to adoptees?
The meaning of adoption for adoptees is something that will evolve or change over time, and it varies for each individual.
For most adoptees, their personal meaning of adoption is the opportunity it has provided them to live their best lives, in a safe and loving home. However, coming to this conclusion and respecting their situation generally takes time. An adoptee’s ability to understand their unique upbringing will advance as they grow.
Where an adoption story is celebrated and discussed openly, it tends to be viewed more positively by the child. Open adoption is beneficial for adoptees; it provides a relationship with their birth parents. In most cases, this helps them understand their adoption more in-depth, giving them an outlet for questions and another member of their r support system.
Adoptees understand the life-changing impact their adoption has had for them and their upbringing. However, each situation is unique, so reach out to an adoptee you know to learn about their personal meaning of adoption.
What does adoption mean to the community?
You don’t have to be part of an adoption to see the positive impacts the process can have on everyone involved. This positivity is not just limited to those who experience the adoption process; the meaning of adoption expands to the community at large, as well.
With every adoption, there is a chance to promote, educate and broaden to the community. Although the views surrounding adoption have changed drastically over the decades, there are still individuals who have their own misconceptions and thoughts. The more often adoption is discussed and supported, the higher likelihood of those misconceptions being corrected for the better.
Adoption acceptance throughout the community can change existing views, feelings and negative connotations. When a community sees a family that has been created through adoption, they see the love and support a successful adoption created. With more than 40 percent of adopted children being a different race, culture or ethnicity than their adoptive family, adoption highlights the beauty of diversified families.
A better understanding of the process and emotional impact on everyone involved helps people empathize with and show support for adoption. Expanding knowledge may also shine light on the various types of adoption — infant adoption, foster care adoption and international adoption.
The meaning of adoption is not limited to just knowledge or emotions;, there are also financial benefits. When a prospective birth mother chooses adoption for her child, it helps reduce the amount of money taxpayers in the community are spending to support parents who are unprepared or financially unable to raise a child
What is the meaning of adoption for you?
Directly or indirectly, nearly everyone has been impacted by adoption. Through friends, family or our own personal experiences, we create an opinion and meaning of adoption.
As mentioned throughout this article, the meaning of adoption will be different for everyone. Although there is no specific right or wrong answer to answer “What does adoption mean?” know that there is a greater meaning than just the textbook definition.
Understanding not only the life-changing impact adoption can have for birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptees, but also the cultural benefits for the community, gives you a better insight on the true meaning of adoption. It may even help you create your own.
Education is key. To learn more about adoption, contact an adoption professional with any questions you may have.