When you lose a parent or grandparent, you mourn the past. When you lose a child, as I lost my 24-year-old daughter, you grieve for the future that will not be. By adopting after this unimaginable tragedy, I wasn’t aiming to bury my grief or to start over, but to start a new beginning.
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.
As I prepared to adopt my second child, I welcomed the home study worker into a perfectly clean and ordered home. The scene that greeted her at her post-placement visit was, well, different—but much more real.
Thank You, Bàba
Six months after she came home to us, our daughter stopped speaking. As I searched for clues as to her sudden silence, I became profoundly grateful to her Chinese foster father, a man I had never met, for teaching me a valuable lesson about selfless love.
Mothering Children of Color Who Are Becoming Adults
As my children move into the world without me, I can’t protect them the way I could when they were little. I can’t assume that their lives and actions will be cloaked with the same privilege I was born with.
“From Waiting Mom to Flexible Working Mom”
Adoption allowed me to fulfill my dream of finally becoming a mother, and my flexible work schedule allows me to be the mom I’ve always wanted to be. Here’s how you can make it work, too.
“On Parenting from Afar”
Once, I grieved the loss of a biological child. Nineteen years later, as I watch my son leap and soar (literally) into adulthood, I am at peace with my role of nurturing the many gifts built into his nature.
2019 Cover Photo Contest Winners
Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Adoptive Families Cover Photo Contest! See the nine photos selected from more than 500 entries, and read stories from the proud parents.
“Finding My Inner Mom”
For years, I felt ambivalence about becoming a parent, and worry that I wouldn’t be a “perfect” mother. In an open letter to my daughter, I look back on that moment of calm and utter clarity when we met.
“I Can Still Be Shocked” – Encountering Ignorance About Adoption and Race
Fifteen years into parenting in a transracial family, I thought I had heard it all—with appropriate comebacks at the ready—until an interaction with a racist (former) boss left me simply dumbfounded.
“A New Path in Our Adoption Journey”
For years, my daughters’ birth mother dropped in and out of our lives as she battled a drug addiction. Now she is back in our lives, back in her own life, and I can’t wait to see what the future will bring for all of us.
We all imagine different ways our lives could have played out. For adoptees, these fantasies may seem particularly compelling: ‘What would my life have been like if I had not been adopted?’
The day we became a transracial adoptive family was the day we lost our anonymity in our community. We’ve learned to handle the extra attention with some advance prep before going public, some choice words, and some perspective.
“She’s Leaving Home”
As parents, our goal is to raise independent, self-sufficient human beings. But, truth be told, it hurts like a %$#* when you realize you’ve done your job.
“…and so It Goes”
My older son is off at college, and I’ve been heartened to see that his “new normal” includes a maturing and strengthening of the bond between us. I look back to the day I met him, just over eight years ago, and our years of attachment struggles, even as I look to his future, and ours, with hope.
“The Advice I Wish I’d Gotten While Waiting to Adopt”
Most prospective adoptive parents don’t get cards or baby showers, or even much excitement. It’s time to change that. Buying something for your hoped-for baby won’t ‘jinx’ your plan to adopt, and 11 more things I wish someone had told me during the wait.
2018 Cover Photo Contest Winners
Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Adoptive Families Cover Photo Contest! See the nine photos selected from 1,000 entries, and read stories from the proud parents.
“What Being a Foster Family Has Taught My Children”
Amazingly, the number one question we’re asked about being a foster family is: “Are you afraid of what they’ll teach your children?” So, what have my kids learned? To start—to be open, generous, non-judgmental, thankful for their warm home….
“…and Letting It Be” – My Son’s Transition to College
When I adopted my two sons eight years ago, they couldn’t separate themselves fast enough from their “old” life in Brazil. As I prepared to visit my oldest son two months into his “new” college life—a lifetime for any freshman—I wondered to what extent he might have compartmentalized his now “old” family life.
“The Fine Line Between Letting Go and Being Let Go”
I adopted my son as he was entering his teen years, and now, too soon, I have seen him off to college. How will his still tenuous attachment play out when I’m no longer a constant, physical presence in his life?
“Home Safe Every Night”
Isaac is 14 years old, but he’s six feet tall and almost two hundred pounds. He’s also black. He hasn’t been a discipline problem since the day he came home, but someone who doesn’t know him could see him as a threat. So what was I to do on a recent evening when he asked to bike home alone in the dark?