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.
Growing Up Adopted - Parenting Through Developmental Ages & Stages
As children grow, their behavior and understanding of adoption changes. Below, find parenting advice for different developmental ages and stages.
“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.
“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: 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.
“…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.
“…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.
“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?
“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?
Handling Teenage Meltdowns
Your child may see you as less understanding than his birth parents might be. Here’s how to cope with teenage temper tantrums.
Ask AF: How to Help Our Teen Through Depression?
“Our 17-year-old is experiencing depression and has been smoking pot. She told us she sees her depression as connected to adoption, which surprised us, because we’ve always talked openly about adoption. How can we help her?”
Parents Share: What My Child’s Friends Want to Know About Adoption
Parents share the questions their children have been asked by friends and classmates over the years, from being in an orphanage to whether they know their “real” parents.
“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).
“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.
Celebrating Sameness in Your Family
Help your preschooler process the world around him by pointing out the ways you are alike.
“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?
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?
How to Support Your Teen’s Developing Racial Identity
Embracing your child’s racial identity means embracing his friends, too.
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.