Because adoptions are shrouded in secrecy, there are many myths swirling around them. Since the misinformation can result in some people being less willing to consider adoption, our Reading adoption lawyers are dispelling these six myths surrounding adoption today.
MYTH #1: People who are adopted cannot get their birth records in Pennsylvania.
REALITY: Until recently, this was true, but under a new law in Pennsylvania, an adopted person over the age of 18 who has finished high school can get her birth records, just like everyone else. For the previous thirty-plus years, the state sealed the records. Now, an adoptee (the person who was adopted) can get his birth certificate. The new law allows birth parents to take their names off of the birth certificates before the state sends them to the adoptees. Birth parents have other options, such as designating a third party for the child to contact or indicating on a contact preference form if they want the child to contact them or not.
MYTH #2: All adopted children will be troubled, problem kids.
REALITY: Studies show that adopted children have the same challenges as any other kids with no difference between them and children raised by biological parents when it comes to having loving family relationships, psychological well-being, and emotional health. Long-term studies dispute the popular notion that an adopted child will turn out more like her biological parents than her adoptive family.
MYTH #3: If you want to adopt an American, you can only get an older child, not a baby.
REALITY: There are about 70,000 adoptions every year in the United States, and about one out of four are of newborn babies.
MYTH #4: You have to be rich to afford an adoption.
REALITY: If you are a foster parent and adopt one of your foster children, the adoption can cost you as still as several hundred dollars. There are programs that will reimburse those fees, taking your net out-of-pocket adoption costs to nothing. Because of the baby-selling scandals of the past, people think it costs $100,000 or more to adopt, but that is not true. Many adoptions that do not involve foster care cost only around $20,000 to $30,000.
MYTH #5: By the time the adoption goes through, the child will be half-grown.
REALITY: It can take as little as a year or two for an adoption to go through the court. The child usually lives with you for most of that time, which means the child is already part of your family except on paper.
MYTH #6: Adoptions are quicker and easier if you and the birth parents just work out a secret deal and do not involve the courts or lawyers.
REALITY: The best way to guarantee problems of nightmare proportions is to take part in a “DIY” or “under the table” adoption. Since the official documentation will not go through the courts, the child will have difficulty getting a passport, driver’s license, job, registering in school, and many other vital aspects of life in America. You will then have to pay massive legal fees to clean up the mess, or suffer the heartbreak of losing your adopted child if the birth parents change their minds and you have no legal rights.
Adoption is a beautiful but complicated event. If you have questions regarding adoption, give us a call today to set up a free legal consultation with a Pennsylvania family law attorney today.