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.

Christine Bauer, author of a memoir of her story as a birth mother, with her children

[EXCERPT] Those Three Words

[EXCERPT] Those Three Words

Christine Bauer’s revealing memoir begins when she hears those three words (“You are pregnant”) and faces an unplanned pregnancy, and takes readers through her open adoption decision, and the ensuing three decades as a birth mother and mother. In this excerpt, Bauer relates the complicated emotions that accompanied her second pregnancy, 11 years after placing her daughter for adoption, and the birth of her oldest son.

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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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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 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 mother plays with her son through foster adoption on the beach and shares the adoption story behind the photo

The Story Behind the Cover Photo: “The Words I’ll Never Forget”

“Looking back on this picture, I see a child who was confused, but yearning for what we all want and need: security, a family, and love. The picture is about hope.”

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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 Mother's Day Card reminds a mom of the dichotomy of adoptive motherhood and her children's birth mother

“Motherhood, Cleaved.”

My love for my youngest child, who was born to me, takes a different timbre from my love for my twins through adoption. Accepting this helps me understand the inimitable bond they share with their birth mother, and the ache she must feel.

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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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