There are around seven million adopted children in the United States according to safy.org. The adoption process can be long and scary for upcoming new parents.
Katy Murdock is a mother who has adopted three children and wants to shed light on the process and how to be accepting of birth parents that have struggled with drugs.
Kendall, Katy, Madeline, Max, Mitch, and Maelee Murdock are just like any other family, but there is more to their story than meets the eye.
“My husband and I have a biological daughter and when she was five we ended up adopting our son Max through an agency,” says Murdock. “We couldn’t have any more kids after her. So we tried multiple fertility treatments and nothing really worked and we decided to try and adopt.”
To start the adoption process, they were given a checklist asking them what kind of baby they were hoping to adopt, what kind of health problems they were willing to accept, and if they were okay with the birth mom had used drugs during pregnancy.
“When we got the call for Max they told us that he had very little drug use– maybe some light marijuana use was all so we were like we were like absolutely adopt this little boy,” says Murdock.
Katy made sure Max’s birth mother was a part of his life. They started a blog to keep her updated with pictures and information. Then they learned more about Max’s birth mothers history.
“When we came home with him and found out he was healthy and good — I didn’t know at the time she had been using drugs– well hardcore drugs rather than just the light use of marijuana,” says Murdock.
They learned that Max’s birth mom had been using meth during her pregnancy. A year and a half after the first adoption the birth mother revealed she was pregnant again and asked the Murdock’s if they were interested in another adoption.
Katy says there was no hesitation. They said yes, and adopted their second son Mitch, who required some extra attention from the doctor.
“We explained the drug use– now that our birth mom is clean and sober and is doing extremely well- she has explained how much she has used. She says with that particular child she had used about 75% of the pregnancy. I explained that to the neuropsychologist as we were trying to get the diagnosis,” says Murdock.
Mitch was diagnosed with autism and ADHD, but there’s no way to know if it was because of the birth mother’s drug use.
“There’s not a lot of research to tell us if these sorts of delays and developmental issues that our son was experiencing,” Murdock says. “If they were from drugs or not.”
Six months later they found out the birth mother was pregnant again. This time with a little girl that would end up becoming The Murdocks’ fourth child.
“She is completely healthy. There are no developmental delays. There’s no issue with behaviors.”
She wishes people knew that just because a birth mom uses drugs during pregnancy, it doesn’t mean their baby is automatically going to have issues.
Murdock says, “So many people are afraid. I mean when you hear a birth mom is using meth–that sounds scary and it’s really terrifying and a lot of the stories are not good. But there’s not enough coverage in the media of the good things of normal healthy things of kids with no issues.”
Katy tells me she and her husband have no regrets, and she hopes their story will give people an open mind when it comes to adopting children who come from similar situations.
Murdock says, “There’s a stigma attached. They don’t want anyone to know and be like ‘oh no that’s a meth baby’ and have this stigma attached to their child. I think if you can talk about it in a positive way and find families that are willing to share then you will find out it’s not as scary as you think.”
The birth mom has been sober for nearly five years now and continues to keep in contact with the Murdocks.
Katy says if you would like to reach out you can find her on Instagram @mskatyjo.