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.

Adoption stories are symbolized by a heart shaped balloon.

“My Heart’s Content”

“My Heart’s Content”

A trip to the doctor's office reminds me of the love inside my son's perfect heart.

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An adoption social worker uses her laptop while her daughter naps on the couch.

“For Their Children”

Years ago, when my son and I were at the kitchen table, a work-related call interrupted our conversation. He said sadly, "Mom, you spend more time helping people have children than you do with your own."

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A dad walks in the forest with his daughter after adopting after age 50.

“Finally Father’s Day”

I became a dad at age 50, and it changed my life in ways I never could have expected. It was the greatest gift.

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A brother and sister through single parent adoption look out the window.

“Feeling Like Family”

After the divorce, my family felt incomplete. To find the missing piece, I traveled to a Russian orphanage, thousands of miles away.

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an adoptive father looks back on his socialy awkward school days, in contrast to his sociable, outgoing son (as his school mascot)

“Life of the Party”

Adoption kismet paired my moody, socially awkward self with an upbeat, sociable son who volunteers to wear his school mascot costume, runs for student council, and is unfazed by the thought of speaking in front of his whole school. Every day I am awed (and exhausted).

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Author Louis De Lauro with his family on their adoption trip and now, with his teenage daughter

“From Then to Now”

I don’t think about adoption on a daily basis; I am just a dad, after all. But when I do, it’s these moments that rise to the surface, indicative of so much else along the way.

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A pediatrician is an important figure in your child's life

“Bonding or Discipline?”

As I sit in the pediatrician's waiting room, all of my parenting skills are called into question. Do I focus on disciplining or bonding with my daughter?

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A mom holds her baby daughter

“Before I Became a Mom”

"I have always known I was capable of giving this much love. What I didn't know is that a child could love me this much."

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A band aid on a broken heart

“Band-Aid Mom”

Can a Band-Aid do more than heal a physical wound? For my daughter, adopted from Ethiopia at age 9, a mother's therapeutic touch — to real and emotional boo-boos — began a deeper healing process.

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A baby smiles in her crib

“Bagels and Pho”

Was there a recipe for raising my daughter from Viet Nam? Holding her in my arms, I discovered that love was the prime ingredient.

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author Shelly Gill Murray with her husband and daughter on their trip to Colombia to meet their daughter's birth mother

“Back to Bucaramanga” – Meeting My Daughter’s Birth Mother in Colombia

We set off on the 3,400-mile journey to meet my daughter’s birth mother in silence, our questions too big to put into words. In Colombia, communicating through an interpreter, but also through smiles, tears, embraces, and shared sensory experiences, all of us began to find answers.

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A pair of sneakers on a rainy day

“I Wish I Had Another Mother”

To my surprise, his comment about wanting another mother did not upset me. Rather, I realized that I knew exactly how he felt, and my mother, too!

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A mom answers her kids questions about adoption

“An Adoption Game Show”

Conversations about adoption are rarely planned, so parents have to be ready with details at a moment's notice. On a recent evening with my kids, I experienced that times three.

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A transracially adopted boy joking with a friend in class

“But How Did He Know About My Mama?”

When my transracially adopted son was teased about adoption at school, he came home upset—and also bewildered about how his friend could have known. When I heard this (and when it came out that he wasn't wholly innocent in the exchange), was it wrong that my reaction turned from anger to laughter?

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Author Karen Hindhede and her daughter through domestic open adoption

“‘Trashy’ Parents?”

At a recent gathering, an acquaintance made a comment based on the astonishingly misguided and downright vulgar assumption that my child’s birth parents are unworthy or subpar. Here’s how I responded.

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