Even though adoptions have been happening for a long time, there still exists some societal stigma around the topic that has yet to dissipate. There is an unfounded misperception that Adoptive Families are fundamentally different from, and inferior to, the Birth Parents. There is also a general atmosphere of anxiety and misinformation around the topic: since most people do not have to undergo the adoption process, most people are unaware of how it works.
Thankfully, however, this is changing, and adoption is gaining greater public visibility than ever. Attitudes about adoption are becoming much more open, and have had prolific places in films, literature, and the news in general. All in all, adoption has been gaining a lot more exposure in the news, and the many issues and challenges about adoption have gained entry into the public sphere. While many topics under the wide umbrella of adoption have been discussed widely in the news the past few years, this article lists some of the more important and interesting issues that the news has covered.
For a number of years now, this has been a big issue in American politics, and continues to be one in this current political climate. Many of the news stories about adoption nowadays revolve around same-sex couples fighting for their right to adopt and to retain the children they have gained through adoption.
We are immersed with news stories where the Supreme Court weighs in on the issue, to public officials who voice their opposition to same-sex adoptions, to studies about changing public perceptions about gay adoption. There are also more emotional stories about same-sex adoption and its successes over the years.
Even though the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex should be legal nationwide, the question of same-sex adoption was left hanging in the air for many states, and its status is unclear in the current climate. While the Supreme Court has a history of emphasizing with gay couples who wish to adopt, there is little solidly in place that gay couples can rely on when it comes to adopting.
However, this may also be a changing focus, as equality becomes an increasing focus, especially after the legalization of same-sex marriages. While it remains a hot button topic now that divides people into different views, we may see this focus fading away in the next few years as same-sex couples win more fights over equality.
How Adoption Affects the Birth Mother
It can be a lot more rare to hear about the Birth Mother’s side of the adoption story. Many Birth Mothers may simply not have the means or resources to make their voices heard. However, especially since open adoptions are becoming more popular and the negative stigma behind adoption is lessening, it is becoming more prevalent to seek out the Birth Mother’s side of the story for the adoption process.
These stories can also come from the most unlikely of sources. For example, Cosmopolitan wrote an article anonymously interviewing four Birth Mothers about the process of adoption: how they came to adopt, what their circumstances were, how they felt after the adoption took place, etc.
An article about the intricacies of adoption and the Birth Mother’s perspective managed to garner a fair amount of attention, despite the fact that the magazine mostly writes about sex, relationships, and celebrities. The exposure to how adoption positively and emotionally affects the Birth Mother is vital to the exploration of this option and opportunity, and has helped to shed light on the negative stigma surrounding adoption.
What saturates most media reports about Birth Mothers, however, are the reunion stories. There are countless stories of Birth Mothers reuniting with the children they hadn’t seen since birth. This trend might slowly disappear, however, because of the rise of open adoptions that allow Birth Mothers ongoing contact with their children.
Open Adoptions in the News
People tend to be fascinated by the idea of open adoptions because they are not publicized so much in the media. The stereotype is that the child is born and then does not have contact with the Birth Mother for the rest of both of their lives.
However, now that more than half of domestic adoptions are open ones, the story is gradually changing, and people are beginning to wonder what open adoptions are like for everybody involved in the process.
ABC News did some coverage on open adoptions, where they also compared the adoption process in the 70s to the process now, explaining that a sense of openness is much more common now. The article also addresses the legal aspects of these kinds of adoptions and the degree of enforceability they carry. The Vancouver Sun published a similar article about the risks and rewards of open adoption, and interviewed people involved in them.
The popular New York Times series called “Modern Love” has also produced a moving illustration of open adoption from the point of view of a Birth Mother.
The processes and ethics behind international adoption has also become a hot button issue lately. Many people think of international adoption whenever they think about adoption in general, and there has been a growing trend towards news stories that do their best to make people think about international adoption differently and to delve into the true stories behind it.
Celebrities have done their fair share in popularizing international adoption, and this article highlights Angelina Jolie in particular and how she may have helped spark the increase in adoptions from Ethiopia. However, many news outlets push against this idea, reminding people that the realities of international adoption are a lot more complex than celebrities make it seem.
CNN did a feature about the decreasing numbers of international adoptions and attempted to analyze the reasons behind this trend.
Adoption is very much alive in the recent news, even though it is a process that has been around for decades. Every day there are fascinating reports, studies, or personal stories that arise out of adoption, and each of these articles is able to shape the ways in which people think about adoption, and the degree to which it has shaped our daily lives.
Hopefully adoption’s increasing exposure will enable it to become a commonplace and normal way of being, and will be able to shed light on valuable and positive perspectives from those involved in the adoption process.