While the definitions for certain adoption terms are easy, it’s a bit more complicated to answer the question, “What does adoption mean?” See, adoption means something different to every person involved in the process, so there’s really no singular “meaning of adoption.”
One of the best ways to find out what adoption means is by speaking to someone personally affected by the process. You can read all day about adoption meanings online, but those explanations are nothing compared to the truth you’ll receive from a personal experience.
Even though the meaning of adoption varies from person to person, there are some general themes that members of the adoption triad feel when you mention adoption to them.
What Adoption Means to Adoptive Parents
For adoptive parents, adoption means the chance to finally become parents after a long time of waiting. Many have undergone failed fertility treatments, and adoption is one of their last chances at adding a child to their family. For them, adoption is a selfless, priceless gift that a birth mother chooses to give them — one they can never repay her for.
Even if hopeful parents have not gone through fertility treatments and have always known they wanted to adopt, it’s still just as meaningful a process to them. Adoption means they have a new joy in their life — a child whom they never would have had without the adoption process. Many adoptive parents feel like adoption completes who they were meant to be, and finally having a child is a dream come true to them.
While adoption can mean a challenging road ahead for prospective adoptive parents, they find it all worth it in the end when they’ve finally added that perfect child to their lives.
What Adoption Means to Birth Parents
Adoption is a challenging process for all members of the adoption triad, but perhaps none more so than for the prospective birth parents involved. Their meaning of adoption is the chance to give their baby a stable and supportive life that they cannot provide themselves — but that doesn’t mean adoption is an easy sacrifice to make. For them, adoption may mean many late nights deciding what to do and an emotional decision-making process.
However, adoption doesn’t just mean a choice full of sadness and grief; it also means a future of happiness. Open adoption allows birth parents to see their children grow up happy and healthy, and they may even have the chance to get to know their children personally. At this point in their adoption, they can finally see the positives of their choice and recognize that their adoption is really a blessing in disguise — a chance to give their child the best life, even if it hurts at first to do so.
As much as adoption means to birth parents for the future of their children, it also means a lot in regards to their own future after the birth of the baby. By choosing adoption, birth parents can continue to pursue their life goals — whether that’s advancing their education, traveling the world or even getting married before having more children. The meaning of adoption, in many cases, is a fresh start for all involved.
What Adoption Means to Adoptees
Finally, adoption has a special meaning for adoptees; it represents the love their birth parents had to give them their best opportunity in life, and the love their adoptive parents had to go through an extensive process to bring them home. So, even before they were born, adoptees had two sets of loving parents looking out for their welfare and well-being.
An adoptee’s personal meaning of adoption will vary based on their individual circumstances. Their adoption may mean a close relationship with their birth parents or just a vague understanding of who they were and why they chose adoption. It can be an integral part of their identity and life story, or they may choose to see it as an incidental part of their childhood. No single meaning of adoption is “correct”; adoptees are always entitled to whatever feelings they may have about their adoption journey.
So, What is the Meaning of Adoption?
Clearly, adoption means many things — a sacrifice, a gift, a possibility — but perhaps more than anything else, adoption means love. After all, adoption creates a family where they may not have been one before and gives birth parents a chance to do the right thing for their child. While adoption can mean certain challenges (both practical and emotional), it’s a process that’s well worth it in the end for all involved.
To learn more about what adoption means, talk to someone affected by the process or contact an adoption professional today.