November is National Adoption Month, and survey results suggest attitudes about adoption are changing. A recent Harris Poll found that 37% of Americans are considering adoption, which is the highest rate since the survey began in 2007.
More than 1,500 children in Indiana currently are in need of an adoptive home.
Michelle Savieo, adoption program manager for the Indiana Department of Child Services, said some of the myths around adoption include the idea that some children aren’t adoptable or that you have to be a perfect person.
“People believe that you have to have this perfect persona to be an adoptive parent, I think anybody can do it if they have a desire to parent and are willing to make a commitment,” Savieo said. “Anybody can parent and all children are adoptable, and you don’t have to be perfect to do it.”
She said other myths include that you have to be married, or young, or that it’s expensive to adopt.
Adoption is a life-altering event, and Savieo said all children they work with have had some type of trauma in their lives. This often results in traumatic behaviors or challenges that make parenting more difficult.
Savieo said in 2023 adoptive parents will be required to undergo annual training similar to that required of foster parents.
“In the past, Indiana has not licensed adoptive families, I believe that effective in 2023 we are going to require the same ongoing training for adoptive families that we do for foster families,” she said.
She said the agency has learned that ongoing training gives parents skills to identify trauma behaviors as they are happening and avoid perceiving them as an attack.
“With adoptive families, it’s really important for them to be able to recognize trauma behaviors, because what we often see is that when the children are demonstrating behaviors, parents become challenged, and when they can reframe that and recognize that it’s not an attack on them as a parent, it allows them to kind of take a step back and parent the children differently,” Savieo said.