Real Adoption Stories


Adoptive Families’ collection of personal adoption stories, written by adoptive parents, adoptees, birth parents, and others touched by adoption. We hope the stories will make you nod your head in recognition, help you reminisce, make you laugh—or fight back tears—and encourage and inspire you on your adoption journey.

Two siblings play together in the yard after being adopted.

“Adopting From Russia…Again?”

“Adopting From Russia…Again?”

One thing led to another, and we became—unexpectedly—twice blessed.

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A young refugee, sponsored by a family

“You Have Thousands of Angels Around You”

How one young woman lost her family, survived a war, escaped two continents, and through the kindness of strangers found a lifelong home in Atlanta.

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birth family meeting at a restaurant

The Paternity Test, Part 1: “I Hope It’s Them”

When our daughter was born, her birth mom listed the birth father as “unknown.” Ten years later, he found us on social media and reached out.

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We considered adopting a second child, but eventually decided to grow our family by adding a dog, instead

“A Different Kind of Sister”

My partner and I thought long and hard about whether we wanted to adopt a second child. We decided to adopt a puppy-sister for our daughter instead.

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My cardiologist's discussion of adopting his daughter opened my heart to the idea of adoption

“My Cardiologist Opened My Heart to Adoption”

The defective structure of my physical heart ultimately led my emotional heart to pause and consider—do I try for pregnancy, or for parenthood through adoption?

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Author Lisa Emmerich and her husband with their three biological children and newborn son through domestic adoption

“Uncharted Territory”

Sometimes, you go somewhere expecting it to be totally different, and it ends up seeming familiar. I had that feeling as I led a group of students on a trip to China—and then again, back home, as we met an expectant mother.

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An airplane a family took on a visit to their daughter's birth country.

“A Visit to My Daughter’s Homeland”

Our trip to her birth country gave my daughter a picture of her early life. She discovered that she was, and had always been, real.

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A group of adoptive women connect over their struggle to meet American standards of beauty

Becoming My Own Beauty Role Model

"Growing up, makeup felt like a mask—a cover-up for my true inner self."

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Two girls started as friends, and discovered they were birth siblings

“The China Sisters”

Two families, linked by a shared adoption experience, discover that they are bound by DNA, as well.

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three-real-families-adoptive-legal-biological-emotional-three-hearts-chalkboard

“Three Real Families”

When my granddaughter asked me if I was the “real” mother of her mom, whom I adopted as an infant, I found a way to help her explore her many real connections, through biology, law, and love.

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A father who adopted older children from foster care shares his story, likening parenting and filling in missing pieces to playing Jenga backward

“Parenting After Foster Adoption—Like Playing Jenga, Backward”

As a father who raised a child from birth and is now parenting older children adopted from foster care, I’ve come to see that the game and pieces may, indeed, be the same, but you have to play in an entirely different way.

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A woman looks into the distance and thinks about the stages of adoption

“My Journey Through the Stages of Adoption”

Much like the trimesters of pregnancy, I moved through phases of worry, disbelief, and pure joy while I waited to adopt.

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Visiting My Daughter's Birth Country: Honduras

“Amanda’s Journey Home to Her Birth Country”

"You belong to two heritages-Jewish and Latin American-and at this special time in your life, when many Jewish families travel to the Mideast, we're heading south." More than a few heads turned when I announced this in my speech to my thirteen-year-old daughter, Amanda, on the occasion of her bat mitzvah.

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"Committed to honoring our children’s African American race and culture, we buy lotion for every room in the house and spend a small fortune on hair products…"

“Keeping Up Appearances” – Our Skin and 4C Hair Care Routine

As the parents of four black children, we drop a small fortune on lotion and products and build time into our schedule to style their hair, all the while questioning whether we know what we’re doing. A recent conversation offered some much-needed reassurance.

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Author Jessica Wagner with her family after her uncertain waits to adopt

“Waiting on a Dream”

Matched out of the blue with an expectant mother, we were told the next call might come within days. But as the wait stretched to weeks and then months, I despaired—would our dreams ever come true?

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