Adoption Parenting Advice & First-Person Stories


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

Author Corey Schaut with her family

“From Waiting Mom to Flexible Working Mom”

“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.

Adoption Experts answer your questions.

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?"

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Author Shelly Roy with her adult son, 19 years after adoption

“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.

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Adoptive Families' 2019 Cover Photo Contest Winner

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.

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author Rosemary Shulman with her son adopted from foster care as a toddler, years after his belated FASD diagnosis

“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.

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As in the movie Sliding Doors, adoptees grow up imagining alternate realities

“Sliding Doors”

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?’

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adoptive father and son

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.

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adoptive mother Kris Rose with her daughter at home and in her college dorm room

“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.

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Author Gary Matloff's two sons, adopted from Brazil as older children, home together for Thanksgiving

“…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.

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Adoptive Families' 2018 Cover Photo Contest Grand-Prize Winner Sadie Jane

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.

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The Littlefield foster family – author Deirdre with her husband and two sons

“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….

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author Gary Matloff visiting his son, adopted as an older child, as a freshman at college

“…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.

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

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.

Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Worried My Daughter Will Think Her Birth Mom Is More “Fun”

“My nine-year-old has been asking me about her birth mother. I was able to find her on social media, but I’m worried about sharing the photos I found.”

author Gary Matloff with his sons, after adoption and now, as teens

“The Fine Line Between Letting Go and Being Let Go”

I adopted my son as he was entering his teen years, and now, too soon, I have seen him off to college. How will his still tenuous attachment play out when I’m no longer a constant, physical presence in his life?

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author Billy Cuchens with his transracially adopted teenage son

“Home Safe Every Night”

Isaac is 14 years old, but he’s six feet tall and almost two hundred pounds. He’s also black. He hasn’t been a discipline problem since the day he came home, but someone who doesn’t know him could see him as a threat. So what was I to do on a recent evening when he asked to bike home alone in the dark?

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