For years, I felt ambivalence about becoming a parent, and worry that I wouldn’t be a “perfect” mother. In an open letter to my daughter, I look back on that moment of calm and utter clarity when we met.
“We are preparing for our first overnight visit with sisters we hope to adopt from foster care, and are nervous. What are we supposed to do for 24 hours with two children who are essentially strangers?”
A mother who adopted from foster care seeks advice about discouraging her children from charming or hugging strangers— and how to respond to the adults who think the child is just ‘being sweet.’
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.
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.
Adoptive moms and dads share their best advice for bonding with a newly adopted child, from taking time off to never leaving a child to cry it out at night.
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.
When we adopted our son as a toddler, he rarely displayed emotion and wouldn't show us any affection. How far my big, cuddly 10-year-old has come!
“Recently, my 12-year-old has been questioning whether an adoptive mother can really love her children as she would biological children. She’ll say things like, ‘You think you love us, but you would love a child you gave birth to more. How should I talk with her about this?”
Sometimes love comes easy. Other times, it must be earned. This is the story of how I let go of my preconceived ideas about bonding and motherhood and became brave enough to trust my heart.
What if I don’t love this child the same as I love the others? This question is probably every pre-adoptive parent’s most secret worry. Here are the words that reassured me.
“We adopted our 10-year-old daughter as an infant, and adopted her seven- and eight-year-old biological sisters last month. How can we help all three girls bond with each other?”
Adoptive parents and adoptees share their favorite adoption memories from the past year, including first Mother's Days, finalizing adoptions, and gaining access to open records.
A single mother who’s adopting a boy from foster care seeks advice on a challenging older child adoption adjustment. Parents who have adopted older children respond.
A parent solicits opinions about a day care that encourages the children to call the employees “Auntie” and the other children “brothers and sisters.”
Near-strangers feel compelled to tell me about friends who got pregnant after adopting and say, “There’s still hope….” But I don’t hope for a biological child; I hope for a healthy relationship with my two kids.
What do we teach our children, and what are the born knowing?
My daughter came to me at nine years old, so neither of us knows what she looked like as a baby, but walking these aisles is a way for us to recreate what we both lost.
"We found that using massage techniques helped our child relax and eased the transition from an orphanage setting to that of a loving family."
"Moments after bringing our new puppy home, I understood that raising this dog would begin to create a history for our new daughter, would lodge her firmly within our family. A family pet conjures notions of family ties, of belonging."