Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Are adoptive parents more attentive than biological parents?
The guest of honor was the size of a Honeybaked ham and just as sweet. After months of fervent prayers and false starts, Doug and Cheryl's dreams of adopting a child had finally come true. They named their son Alexander James, but everyone calls him AJ. At AJ's welcome-home party, I looked around the room. Strangers hugged and family members cried as the little man slept securely in his daddy's arms. I had no doubt love is thicker than blood. AJ was finally home.

From Doug and Cheryl to Angelina and Brad, it seems as if everyone is adopting these days. A recent survey found that up to 4 percent of U.S. households include adopted children. That number is expected to increase, so I was interested to read about a new study that finds adoptive parents invest more time and financial resources in their children compared with biological parents. (See Full Study)

Intrigued, I called one of the researchers, Dr. Brian Powell at Indiana University. He says that, ironically, the challenges adoptive parents face actually set the stage for them to excel in parenting. "Society often tells people that adoption isn't normal," says Dr. Powell. As a result, he says, adoptive parents often spend more time with their children, know their friends and their friends' parents and are more involved with school activities.

Dr. Powell also believes this study could change public policy and the way adoption is handled in the courts. The legal system usually bases its decisions on what's in the best interest of the child. Historically, it's been assumed that in most instances children are better off with their biological parents and that adoption should be considered only as a last resort. These new findings, say Dr. Powell, could change the way the legal system handles international adoptions (for example, by older, single parents) and adoptions by same-sex couples.

I want to know what you think. Do you think adoptive parents invest more in their kids than biological parents? Also, do you think this study will change the debate when it comes to same-sex adoption?
I was adopted in 1975 from Korea and my younger sister followed from Columbia five years later. My parents had four biological children before they decided to add to the mix. I would not say that my parents were more attentive, actually quite opposite. My younger sister and I felt as though my parents were too tired to be active parents emotionally and physically along with the fact that they were not very open to the subject of researching or embracing our past as adoptees.
All parents who want a baby and are emotionally and financially ready for a child probably invest roughly the same amount of time, money, and love into that child. It's just that ALL adoptive children are wanted and prepared for, whereas biological children don't necessarily come on a parent's own timeline.
My husband and I are currently in the middle of trying to adopt a child through our state's Dept. of Social Services. Our home, family, personal history and even medical records have been examined. We have had to take state pre-adoptive parenting classes. In adtion tothis we have spent countless hourse reading books on and about adoption and the impact it can have on adopted children. To adopt is a long, thought out and difficult way of having children. You don't simply realize one month that "SURPRISE, your're having a baby!" You have to work sooo hard to get one. Adopted children require hours of work before you can even be allowed to start to think of getting one. I think that adoptive parents invest so much before even seeing their baby that the notion of stopping that level of dedication once you have the child is ridiculous. In short, I do believe that adopted children in many cases receive more of a parent's time than easily conceived biological children.
My husband and his brother were both adopted, but spent more time with a nanny (or locked in a room) than with their socially active and busy-with-work partents. SO much for more attention.
I would say that adoptive parents can be either. My parents adopted my brother when he was three and Daddy wans't good with him or me, his biological child. Mother did the best she could under the circumstances Daddy put on all of us.

On the flip side, my husband adopted my children when they were six and eight. He has been a wonderful Daddy to the kids, however, I would not say that he is more or less attentive than I am.

In conclusion, I'd say that the attentiveness and care given by adoptive parents depend on the people themselves, not whether they are biological or not.
My husband and I are in the process of adopting a baby and it is such an emotional process. I plan on spending as much time with my children as I can, regardless if they are adopted or biological. It doesn't matter where your children come from, being a parent is the most important job you can have.
I was adopted at birth in 1963. I have always said that I was chosen and that when my parents adopted me there was no doubt that I was the most important thing in their life. I am proud to be a "chosen one."
I think that there is a lot of merit to the notion that adoptive parents are more attentive. I was adopted when I was three months old, and I have always been cherished, encouraged, and inspired by my parents. They tried to conceive for 8 years before adopting me, so they were very prepared and eager to be parents, and they always made me feel that I was truly "their" child. I sincerely hope that the increase in adoption in the U.S. continues, since a lot of children out there need good and loving homes.
Absolutely building trust listening, worrying, education it's a hard job for a adopted parent because we have to overcome many barriers. Once those barriers are overcomed then we are like other parents. Love is thicker than blood. Because of the initial hurdles then I believe the bond and love is stronger than natural parents
I gave my son up for adoption when he was three days old. I think there is some merit to the theory, but I also think that individual personalities come into play. I would hope had I chosen to keep my son (at age 17), I would be as attentive as his adoptive family, but I know that other girls in my own situation may not have had the support that I had to be able to say that confidently. So, in a way, I agree, but it is a pretty vague generalization.
Being a primary school teacher lends me to observe and be involved with adopted children and adoptive parents. I have to say often times I do see adoptive parents much more attentive and involved in their children's lives. It seems to have something to do with the lengths these parents go to in order to finally get a child to love. Couples wait for years to get a child in many cases involving adopted children and when the time finally arrives they are prepared. For many of the parents it's like a life long dream come true. It has involved years of preparation and planning. These families are usually willing to make the ultimate sacrafice in order to have a child of their own.
Honestly--adoptive parents are often much more involved in school activities than biological parents. I I don't think it's a love thing I think it is just the results of a long awaited dream come true in most cases and much prayer and prepartion on the part of the parents. They usually know what they want, they are older and many times professionl and prepared to take on a new family member willingly and with much happiness.
Amazing. I always thought I was spoiled because I was youngest in the family, but I am also the only one adopted. I read this blog, and realized that I did/do get more attention.

Unlike my siblings the rule of thumb for my childhood was "do well in school and stay out of trouble and you can have anything you want". I've been to South America - twice- and central America once, unlike my older siblings who haven't been anywhere beyond Canada.
I do believe adoptive parents pay more attention to the new addition. Blood or no blood, there's love.
I think it's important to keep in mind that the majority of children involved in foster care and custody issues with the court are not infants. The needs of an infant and a school age child or teenager are dramamtically different when it comes to adoption. An adoptive parent has fewer obstacles to overcome when adopting an infant than a child who has been abused, neglected, or has estranged relationships with their biological family. The sucess that adoptive parents may or may not have often has more to do with the child than their own abilities as a parent or their financial resources. This is why all possible efforts to keep families intact are made. No amount of money or a willingness to invest time into a child can replace a bond with a parent, siblings, and other family or the consistency a child once had.
My husband and I adopted our son at birth (he is now 7 months old). I believe the adoption process prepared us for parenting. We researched everything, answered very personal questions about ourselves and our relationship, and were required to take parenting classes. Other families with biological children often do not do any of these things. The process made us more conscientious of our choice to raise a family and do the best that we could at it.

On another note, the adoption route we took was expensive. This process therefore is often only available for well educated, financially secure families. Therefore the families that adopt are often more educated and settled in life than the general population and therefore likely more able and willing to be involved in their children's lives.
I am the biological Mother of two beautiful, cherished, and much wanted children. My husband and I carefully considered adding to our family both times we conceived and were extremely blessed not to have difficulty conceiving or carrying the pregnancies to term. Not every family is so lucky, and often adoptive parents have prayed for a family for many years before adopting helps make it a reality for them. Sometimes fertile couples get pregnant by accident and consider the surprise a blessing,and sometimes not. It's unfortunate that common sense, compassion, and responsibility do not necessarily come with our fertility. There are people who keep having children and do nothing to prevent pregnancies and consider their children a burden rather than a blessing. I do think these children fail to get the quality of attention that long awaited adopted children often get. The time, expense, and emotional investment most often required in an adoption probably does better prepare adoptive parents to be actively and enthusiastically involved in their children's lives than some biological parents are. I think, however, that there may be a stronger correlation between how much children are wanted and prepared for, than whether their parents are adoptive or biological. Your parents are the people who parent you, whether they're related or not!
As an adoptive child I would say that no, my parents didn't invest anymore in me than they would in their own biological child. I AM THEIR CHILD, REGARDLESS OF WHOSE WOMB I WAS CONCEIVED IN. This debate is silly, anyone who is involved in the adoption triad will tell you that.
For a well written exploration of adoption and its affects on the family, I suggest you read "The Primal Wound".
I think it is hopeful and encouraging that adoptive parents spend so much time and resources with their children. However, the policy implications mentioned in the blog entry are a little too much for me. For one thing, parents who adopt seem to generally have above average amounts of time and money to start with. Parents with limited resources probably have a harder time adopting, so that is a dynamic that could affect the results. I don't think that this should affect the legal assumption that being with biological parents is in the child's best interests. As a society, we should not necessarily be farming out our children to high bidders just because of their wealth and leisure time. Plenty of poor, overworked parents are still able to be there for their children - money does not necessarily mean a better life or more love. I think that this information should definitely be used to raise awareness about the potential benefits of same-sex couples adopting, but that biological families should still be preserved first and foremost, when those parents are around. Adoption should be about finding homes for homeless orphaned children, not about tearing existing families in crisis further apart.
I am an adoptive parent and I KNOW I spend more time on my daughter than other parents. I get to know her friends and their parents and also take more time at school getting to know her teachers. I also make sure she is involved in church and community activities and Girl Scouts. I see other parents just drop off their kids. I also hear complaints from teachers that other parents are not as involoved in their children's lives.
My experience with adoption started with our son and daughter-in-law and their desire to adopt a child. It took more than a year...we are now blessed and our sweet granddaughter is the light of all of our eyes! To say we all dote on her is to make an understatement. I say often that she has an "enriched environment"...and the attention and love from many adults...their friends have also adopted and the same is true for them.
Proud "adopted" grandma Lola in Ojai
I was adopted when I was 2 years and 5 months. My father was always the best father. When I was adopted my dad was 54 years old. As I was growing up he found things for us to do. We played catch with a baseball. He scared me a few times. At 65 he decided to ride my bike. I was so scared but my dad never showed his age.At 70 I maded him a grandfather. He was so proud. He would take my son to the park. I go to check on them and what do I see. My dad is running to fly a kite as my son is standing looking at him, daddy was 75. At 80 he got parkinsons. That really slowed him down. But he would do his walking an a little running to exercise. At his side was his granddaughter and grandson.At 89 he would still find a way to be happy and active. He would pick up his walker for a few steps. We would laugh. At 93 he couldnt talk, cancer and parkinsons took over. But he eyes showed Love as well as his smile.I never felt adopted. He was my Father. I dont care what the paper says. I was his daughter and he was my Daddy. I was Blessed. :}
I work with parents and children to help get children out of foster care. My first choice is to return the children to their parents if this is possible, or if not (some parents just have too many problems to be capable of raising a child) then to help free the children to be adopted. Whether a birth child or adopted, it's important that children have a permanent, loving home.
Linda
http://cheercounseling.com
My husband and I are the adoptive parents of a Romanian orphan. I have never felt so much love as I do for my son, who is now 14. However, GOOD parenting is definitely the most difficult thing in the world, and we are continually amazed and saddened by many parents we see who do not act as if parenting is a serious undertaking. Consequently, my husband and I spend most of our time and attention on making sure we provide the best home and security that our child needs. Easy? No. When most people make the decison to adopt, they truly have made the decision to be there for
for their child.
It is a little scary to think that the legal system could change to give more preference to potential adoptive parents than to the biological parents. I'm pregnant with my first child, conceived in the first month we started trying - and I can't even tell you how delighted and overwhelmed by gratitude we are for this baby! Granted, this was not unplanned, and yes, this was a very easily conceived child - but trust me when I tell you - I can't imagine not being totally invested in this child. And let me tell you one other small detail: Pregnancy is great, but it is not exactly 'easy. :) And it lasts 9 months. And then I get to work pretty hard to get back in shape. I do actually feel that I'm putting some energy and elbow grease into this!

I have a sister who came to our family by adoption - and I have two very close friends who are adopted - and have friends who have adopted children - and we hope to adopt someday - but I don't know the answer to the question... I think some people are better suited to be parents than others - whether or not they adopt, that's just one aspect of how a given parent becomes a parent... there could be a correlation, perhaps.

I absolutely think that the restrictions on who can adopt should be lifted - there are too many wonderful kids out there who need homes... and so many couples who would delight in giving of themselves to raise a child.
I have read most of the 23 comments about adoption and have seen several things that make sense. The first is that people who adopt have to prove themselves as parents making it much more likely that they will be excellent parents. However I do take exception to the fact that adoptive parents are better and more involved. My mother gave up over 25 years raising me and my siblings. She spent weeks in the ICU with me after I almost died from a series of asthma attacks when I was young. She then went on to practically live at the hospital with my little brother due to the fact that within days of his being born he began to lose weight and had to be hospitalized to help keep his weight up. Daily visits to the doctor for the next 8 monthes with five other kids in tow soon followed. Adoptive parents have the reassurance of knowing when, where, and that their child is healthy. While they may work harder to get a child it also comes with certain reassurances about that child. Thank you.
PS- My parents always knew every one of friends and spent as much time as possible at our school and doing everything they could to give us a good start in life.
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