Adoption and the 7 deadly stigmas

When you decide to adopt as a young, single male, you have to deal with why. Why do you want to adopt? people want to know. This is I’m sure the case no matter what your circumstances when trying to adopt.

I think I have a somewhat uncommon situation, though, because of where I’m at in life. These are the stigmas often attached to my situation…

1. Are you crazy? I read recently that one study from about a decade ago found that more than 25% of respondents question the mental health of prospective adoptive parents. I can understand that from experience.

2. Are you infertile? People often assume the only reason someone would adopt is because they want to have kids but can’t. I can understand that assumption too, since lots of adoptions do go down that way and – more interestingly – most people wouldn’t consider adoption themselves unless this were their situation.

3. Are you gay? Why else would a guy want to adopt? Why else would a guy care about parenting or children in general or anything emotional at all? It’s sad that these are the stereotypes that exist, for gay men and for straight men.

4. Are you a pedophile? As it turns out, adoption’s actually pretty tough, not something someone does to be creepy or sick. There are easier ways to do that, sadly. Adopting is way too hard. But still the stigma persists.

5. Are you unmarriable? This one’s tough because I am single. Still, I don’t wonder so much about whether or not I’m unmarriable, not yet anyway, but I do question whether or not I’m going about this in the right order.

6. Are you just trying to look like a good person? There seems to be a self-righteous attitude that accompanies the stereotypical adoptive parent. Like many stereotypes, even if it might be true in some or most cases, it’s not an accurate representation of everyone in the pack.

7. Are you embarrassed? Last but not least, kind of as a result of the other stigmas attached to adopting, I end up fielding this one too. Friends assume or at least wonder if I feel awkward talking about the topic, like, “Is this too personal to talk about?”

One of the most difficult aspects of any of these stigmas is that they rely on assumed answers to very personal questions. Few people will actually ask any of them  (I’ve really appreciated the few friends who have brought them up). As a result, if I don’t bring them up on my own, it’s unlikely that the questions will get discussed openly and honestly the way they should be.

That’s why I’m trying to bring them up now. That’s why I wrote this. Any one of these can stop an adopter from adopting. I’d like to stop the stigmas from spreading.

Let’s talk about them.