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.
Adoption Parenting Advice & First-Person Stories
Adoption experts offer parenting advice and real parents share personal stories about raising adopted children.
“It Takes No Special Power to Love a Child”
As she anticipates the release of her documentary Hayden & Her Family, the filmmaker reconnects with the mother of 12 she profiled to discuss special needs adoption, parenting outside “normal” boundaries, and how loving a child changes you.
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.
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.
Ask AF: Letting a Preteen Take the Lead in a Birth Parent Relationship
“At what age should we start letting our daughter take the lead in birth parent contact? I know that my daughter will be able to call her birth mom freely when she gets her own cellphone, so how do we step back responsibly?”
“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.
“I Needed a Different Parenting Handbook…” – Parenting Children with FASD
Belated diagnoses of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) changed the way this mom parented her children, and the way she savored their successes. Join with her as she recounts some of their small victories and hard-won life lessons from their 20-year journey.
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?’
Parents Share: How Is Parenting After Adoption Different?
We asked parents to “name one way in which adoptive parenting differs from parenting a biological child.” From maintaining an open adoption to understanding trauma parenting to feeling free to agree wholeheartedly with compliments about your child’s looks, here’s what readers shared.
“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.
Ask AF: Should I Try to Contact My Children’s Birth Siblings?
A mother who adopted from foster care seeks advice about contacting the adoptive parents of her children’s birth siblings. Fellow adoptive parents weigh in.
Ask AF: Seven-Year-Old Has Been Saying She Doesn’t “Belong Here”
Parents are puzzled by their seven-year-old’s new questions and feelings about adoption. Adoption expert Beth Friedberg, LCSW, offers an explanation and talking tips.
Ask AF: Rivalry with a Newly Adopted Sibling
“Our son had been excited about the idea of a ‘little brother,’ but, from the day our younger son came home, they have had intense rivalry; there was no ‘honeymoon’ period. What can we do?”
“…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.
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.
Ask AF: Reconciling Different Personalities in Adoption
A mother finds herself exhausted trying to keep up with the boisterous, outgoing older child she’s adopting, and also worries that the girl might start feeling “different” from the rest of the family (who are all naturally more reserved and quiet). An expert offers advice.