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.

I.D. Steinberg and her husband pose with the son that made them first time parents

“The Adoption Advantage”

“The Adoption Advantage”

Coming to parenthood on equal terms lets my husband and me appreciate the experience all the more.

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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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My Mixed Feelings as An Adoptee Giving Birth

Motherhood? Me? You’ve Got to Be Kidding!

Having children was something that other people did. But giving birth has given me a sense of connection I never felt before.

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Our Adoption Trip to Meet Our Son's Foster Mother

“Visiting Our Son’s Birth Country: The Land of Contrasts”

"Make the trip, you won't be sorry." Our journey to our son's birth country—and to visit his foster mother—was an exhilarating experience.

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can-african-american-children-wear-clothing-with-watermelons

“Can Black Children Wear Watermelons?”

Many symbols commonly found on children’s clothing connote racist stereotypes of black people. Knowing this, should transracial adoptive parents still dress their black children in onesies and shirts featuring monkeys, zebras, and watermelons?

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the moment this dad learned about a surprise adoption match was caught on home video

“Caught on Camera: Our Surprise Adoption Match”

Have you ever been at a baby shower where they play a home video of the mother-to-be surprising her partner with news of her pregnancy? As we grappled with infertility, my wife and I hated those videos, even as we desperately hoped for one of our own.

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Learning About Ethnic Differences on Vacation

“Our Summer Vacation House Swap”

One summer, we traded our Hawaiian home for Berkeley, CA so our son could learn about more ethnic differences and similarities.

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Praying While Waiting for Adoption

“Memory Givers”

As parents, we shape the memories our children will carry through their lives. What a delightful, and intimidating, prospect!

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My son's interpretation of the family tree project for kids

“How We Created My Son’s Unique Family Tree”

The family tree project can be a particularly tricky one for kids who are adopted. Here's how one family tackled the assignment.

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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”

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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