There are many widespread common misconceptions about adoption, particularly about adoptees.

First, people think if you are adopted then no one wanted you.

Not always, but often it is the exact opposite situation. Usually when an adoption takes place it’s because the birth mother loves the child very much and wants the best life for that child, one she believes she can’t provide.

Another misconception is that all adoptees have spent time in the foster care system or in an orphanage.

In reality about 18,000 infant adoptions take place annually in this country. That’s a whole lot of babies that were never cared for by anyone other than the birth or adoptive families. I can’t count the number of times someone has apologized to me for my being adopted as if I had experienced a traumatic life in multiple foster homes first.

Some people wrongly assume my adoptive parents are not my “real parents” because they are not related by blood.

Nothing could be further from the truth. They are even more my parents because they have been there every day. They have experienced life with me, made memories with me, and taught me the skills I needed to be a successful adult. It doesn’t get more real than that.

Many people think adoptees are sad about being adopted.

Most adoptive parents do a wonderful job at making their children feel loved and wanted. That makes an adoptee well-adjusted and happy. I have never been sad that I was adopted. Every choice that has been made for or in my life has directly contributed to the person I am right now. If any of those things had been different, my life could have gone in a different direction.

When you are in doubt about issues surrounding adoption, don’t assume the worst. The truth might surprise you.

Ashley Foster is a freelance writer. She is a wife and a mother of two, currently residing in Florida. She loves taking trips to the beach with her husband and sons. As an infant, she was placed with a couple in a closed adoption. Ashley was raised with two sisters who were also adopted. In 2016, she was reunited with her biological family. She advocates for adoptees’ rights and DNA testing for those who are searching for family. Above all, she is thankful that she was given life.