Adoption Parenting Advice & First-Person Stories


Adoption experts offer parenting advice and real parents share personal stories about raising adopted children.

Two preschool children learn about categories.

Celebrating Sameness in Your Family

Celebrating Sameness in Your Family

Help your preschooler process the world around him by pointing out the ways you are alike.

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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 mom holds her baby daughter

“Before I Became a Mom”

"I have always known I was capable of giving this much love. What I didn't know is that a child could love me this much."

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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 grandmother and the granddaughter she adopted share a close moment

When Grandparents Adopt

Millions of children around the world are currently being raised in “grandfamilies.” In this excerpt from a new guidebook, learn how to make sense of your new role and explain this unique form of kinship adoption to your child.

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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 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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an adoptive mother committed to saying yes and parenting her teenage son with positivity

Just Say “Yes” to Positive Parenting

If you’re parenting an oppositional child or teen, you probably say “no” a lot. You may say it so often that it’s become your default response, or you may be stuck in the perception that “no” is the healthier option. How can you bring positivity back into your parent-child relationship?

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an adoptive mother listens to and learns from her child

Lessons I’ve Learned from My Children

Over decades as a foster and adoptive parent and an adoption social worker, I have mothered and supported hundreds of children. Each one has taught me more than I passed along to them. Here is just some of that wisdom.

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An adoptive mother hugs her preteen daughter after a good talk about adoption

What Do Preteens Think About Adoption?

Before the moody teen years, pre-adolescence can present its own challenges for parents. How should you respond to tweens’ questions about adoption or initiate conversation with a preteen who doesn’t seem eager to talk?

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An adopted teen looks into the distance

Your Job as Consultant and Coach

By talking through possible actions and consequences, you can help your child develop decision-making and long-range thinking skills.

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A heart on graph paper

“Overcoming All Odds”

Although we knew our South American-born son would face challenges growing up in a predominantly white middle class suburb, we were totally unprepared for what was to come.

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welcoming an older child into your family and creating sense of belonging through photographs

Creating a Photographic History for an Older Child

Pictures help show our children that their lives matter, and that they are part of a family. A photographer and adoptive mom offers her advice for taking and preserving meaningful moments.

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father's hand placing missing piece in wooden heart tangram puzzle, representing healing after older child adoption

“One of the Missing Pieces”

When older children argue and act out, it’s often connected to events from their past. How could any child move through 14 foster placements unscathed? But last night, another clash, followed by a heart-to-heart, brought us one piece closer to feeling like a solid family.

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