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You’ve likely heard stories by now of what adoption is like, how it can be useful and how it can be harmful, and how many controversies there are that surrounded it and the people that practice it. It’s a wonderful thing really, or at least it’s meant to be. Children that need a home, that have been given up for whatever reason, are allowed to be adopted by people that are put through a rigorous amount of screening. One can only hope that the people these kids go to will be trustworthy enough to care for their new child, and won’t be harboring any unhealthy motives for taking a child into their home. That’s the hope at least, and sometimes it’s enough.

But that’s the process of adoption from the standpoint of those doing the adopting, not the adopted. Some people are adopted when they’re slightly older, meaning toddler to even adolescent age, but there are a lot of kids that are adopted as babies, meaning that they’re too young to remember, and therefore will either never know unless 1) they’re a different race or ethnicity than their adopted parents, or 2) their birth parents decide not to tell them. In the case of the former it’s bound to come out and therefore isn’t a wise ting to hide. In the latter, it’s up to the parent really. If the child somehow resembles their adopted parents in any way it becomes simple to just accept the child as part of the family and never tell them.

Some might think that’s a wise move never to tell the child, to spare them from ever knowing, while others insist that it’s a necessity to tell them, to make it known that they were in fact adopted and absolutely desired. Parents that adopt tend to want a child so badly that they’re willing to go through the long, mind-numbing and soul-sucking process that some agencies make them go through.

Telling a child they’re adopted when they’re young is a wise move.

To be honest this can go either way, as it can alienate a child if the information is given incorrectly or it can enlighten them if they’re reminded that out of all children that still need a home, they were lucky enough to be picked for the current life they’ve been given. If the parents are smart they will tell the child when they are still relatively young, but old enough to understand. This eliminates any need to feel alienated, allows them to understand that they have a home, a family, and a life that they were chosen for. It makes them feel special in a way that allows them to realize, later, just how fortunate they are.

Telling a child about their adoption can have negative effects as well.

Take any person in this world born to their parents, their natural parents. They have a defined starting point in their lives, even if they don’t have both parents. They know where they came from, they know their lineage, and by extension what genes they’ve had passed on to them. Take a child that’s been adopted and it’s less certain. If it’s an open adoption, then it’s very possible that they’ll know. If it’s not, then one’s existence essentially starts with a question mark, an uncertainty that can only be solved by finding the birth parents or undergoing a DNA test that might be able to tell you what is in your genes and what you might be predisposed towards, meaning what type of genetic diseases might be found lurking in your bloodline.

But what’s the negative part you ask? It’s taking the test and determining that you are actually predisposed towards contracting something, or the fear that comes with actually finding your birth parents and finding the reason you were given up. Some might find that they were given up to lead a better life than their birth parents could give them, others might have been given up because they simply weren’t ready. But for many of those adopted, no matter if they admit it or not, it’s hard to simply move past  the idea that you did not come by your family in the natural way that others have. In short, it eats at you in a way that is hard to stomach for a while, until you find a way to move past it, to accept it, and to accept that you have a life that many other children, those that don’t get adopted, can only dream of.

Being adopted feels like winning the lottery that you never played. It feels like a life that you might not deserve, and in many ways, it feels like a chance at a life that might have slipped through your fingers otherwise. It is the world you’re given because someone had the will to love a child that was not theirs with everything they had.

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