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.

in adoption, we must keep our eyes and hearts open to all perspectives—birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents

“Seeing the Bigger Picture in Adoption”

“Seeing the Bigger Picture in Adoption”

I used to see adoption from only one viewpoint—that of the adoptive parents. But working in the field before becoming an adoptive mother opened my eyes to how complex and bittersweet adoption can be.

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woman experiencing baby fever dreams of motherhood, as discussed in an excerpt from The Art of Waiting

[EXCERPT] The Art of Waiting: “Baby Fever”

Belle Boggs's The Art of Waiting sets her own struggles with infertility within a larger framework of sociological, cultural, biological, and literary attitudes toward reproduction and motherhood. In this excerpt, she explores "Baby Fever," the longing have a child that sent many of us on our infertility and adoption journeys.

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adoptive mom Sandy Burkett with her daughter as a toddler

“Are Adoptive Moms Allowed to Have a Bad Day?”

After finally realizing my dream of becoming a mother, I found what most new parents find—along with the bliss come days filled with crying, spit-up, and leaking diapers. But when I dared to vent, I was chided: “You wanted to adopt…you asked for this!”

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author Lauren McLaughlin and her daughter through adoption

“Opting Out of IVF”

As I dove into research about in vitro fertilization, I kept waiting to be excited about this wondrous technology. But the excitement never came. When our talk turned to adoption, however, I felt the rebirth of hope.

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An Adoptee Explains Choosing Adoption

“I’m an Adoptee and Adoptive Parent”

My daughters and I have something important in common. We share the experience of joining a family through adoption.

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The final hoop to adopting, our adoption dossier

“The Fine Print”

When the mundane tasks required for our dossier get complicated, each one we complete feels like a mini-victory—and reminds me of how much I want to be a dad.

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Teens Alejandro and Rosanna, adopted as older children from foster care

“Letting the 13-Year-Old Drive”

How do you empower a child entering his teen years in a state of defeat, powerlessness, and utter self-disregard? You give him a key and tell him to take off!

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adoptive father Billy Cuchens, who tries to strike the right balance in talking about adoption with his children

“A Balanced View of Adoption”

With such a spectrum of opinions about adoption, it’s hard to know if we talk about it too much, or not enough, and in the right way. But watching my son navigate adoption comments at school reassured me of his comfort with it.

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an adoptive mother considers the best adoption advice she would have given herself if she could go back five years

Parent-to-Parent: My Best Advice to Myself

Adoptive parents share the best adoption advice they would give themselves if they could go back five years, whether that would take them back to the adoption process or the early days of parenting.

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When her daughter came home, she saw her fears about adoption attachment were unfounded.

“Loving My Daughter, A Country Apart”

I didn't travel to meet my new daughter. But nothing could stop me from becoming Maura's mommy.

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in a family that's built through open adoption and step-relatives, more love is more love

Three Stories: Unexpected Birth Family Reunions

Today, as more and more adoptees reach adulthood, they are finding birth relatives-or are being found by them. Whether a child is from the U.S., Guatemala, Russia, or China, she may one day be in touch with her first family. These stories, each detailing an unexpected family reunion, may well reflect the complexity of what is ahead.

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One story of a second adoption.

“The Perfect Season of the Heart”

A father and son find that, in the face of catastrophe, despair, and death, the antidote is life.

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author Lakshmi Iyer with her family, including twins adopted as older infants in an open adoption

“How I Met My Daughters”

I may not remember when I first knew I wanted to be a mother, but the moments leading up to and the first time I saw my daughters are indelibly etched in my memory.

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author Brandy Stein with her twin daughters during an open adoption visit

“Letting Go After Months of Struggling to Parent”

After struggling to parent my twin daughters for ten months, I sadly realized I couldn’t provide them with the stable life I’d envisioned.

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A woman uncovers her prospective neighbor's racial prejudice

When Shady Neighbors Come to Call

When new neighbors were looking at the house for sale next door, this mom of a biracial child worried they wouldn't be friendly, until race came up.

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