Adoption stories—there is almost something magical about them. People always want to hear adoption stories, and they often have questions they would like to ask. I think that a part of the fascination with adoption stories is that, although statistically, one in ten of us are touched by adoption in some way (knowing or being related to someone who was adopted, knowing someone who has adopted, etc), less than 2% of the general population will ever adopt, themselves. Adoption.com is a wonderful place to go in search of all things adoption, and additionally, I’d also like to share some real adoption stories from real families within my adoption community. I think one aspect that always surprises people, whether it should or not, is the fact that many (dare I say most?) adoption stories which are filled with joy may also have a hue, or even an overtone, of sadness.
Here are a few of those stories:
“When I asked my adopted daughter T (names have been changed) what adoption means to her, she said: ‘It means that I got a different family. It also means that my parents care about me and that I won’t move families ever again. It makes me feel sometimes happy and sometimes upset. When I was adopted [from foster care], I didn’t know what it meant.’” (for more information on adopting from foster care, visit this webpage. for more information on adopting a child from a previously disrupted adoption, visit our Wiki page and this article.
“When I asked my adopted daughter K what adoption means to her, she said: ‘Adoption is awful. Not our family. Adoption is awful because I didn’t want to switch families; I just wish I had always been in my second family. Life is better now.’” For more information on helping an older child adjust to a new adoptive placement, visit this article.
“When we signed the paperwork and adopted our foster daughter, I felt like I had won the lottery, or that I was flying to the moon, or that I was going to explode with joy. I felt like we had the whole world lying ahead of us, and that all we had to do was just LIVE now. No more worrying and planning and preparing. We had our lives ahead of us, with OUR daughter, and all we had to do, was live…it was the most incredible feeling ever. Three adoptions later, it still feels the same!” Want more information on adoption day? Read this article as well for a different and valuable perspective on Gotcha Day.
“From our biological son, about our adoptions: ‘I think it means that they change their parents; they change their brothers and sisters, and that it would be hard on them. I expected adoption to be different than it was. I didn’t think adoption was very hard, but now I know it’s very hard for everyone in the situation.’”
“[Adoption.] It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do. They will give you great joy, but you will also cry buckets of tears for those children.” (for some encouragement, read this article on Adoption.com.
“We accepted our adoption proposal based on paperwork; there were no photos in the file. I remember sending our social worker, Cindy, an email telling her that our decision was a resounding YES. We wanted these two girls, ages 5 and 7, to be our daughters. She showed up unannounced with an envelope that evening, and I panicked. My husband was at a night class, and I couldn’t look without him, but there she was in front of me with the first photo I would ever see of my daughters. I was SO tempted to rip that envelope open, then and there, but I resisted. I asked if she would leave the sealed envelope with me, but she squirmed and smiled and said she wanted to be there when we saw them, too. I knew my husband wouldn’t be home until ridiculously late, but she promised to return with photos in hand as soon as she got our text that he was home. He got home at dark, and Cindy was at the house minutes later. We opened the envelope, and our daughters’ smiling faces looked back at us; we matched. Our 7-year-old’s hair was the same color as our biological son’s, and the style was the same as my mother’s. Our 5-year-old’s hair color was the same as my own, and her round face mirrored mine. A few years later we moved back to our hometown, a town we had left only three years before. The confusion on the faces of old friends and acquaintances when we introduced them to our three children brings joy to my life. They knew we left town with one small toddler, and yet, here we stand in front of them with three small mini Smith’s. While they work to reconcile that in their brains, you can actually see gears spinning. Adoption is diverse. Each family is put together differently. Ours is a case where we don’t actually fit most people’s expectations. We match, and that’s what makes us different.” (See families meeting their adoptive children for the first time. Also, visit the photolistings page for children who are waiting to find their forever families.
Our own adoption story makes me feel like I’m floating just to recount it all. As a child, I had always dreamed of adopting or doing mission work in orphanages. After two medically rough pregnancies, and after almost not surviving the second one, we were told I should not have any more pregnancies. This was devastating to me, and I felt really down for a long time. Tyler and I had always planned to have four to six children, and life just did not seem complete to me. I was so thankful and felt blessed for the boy and girl we had, but I felt there was something more. Tyler came home from work one day and said we needed to talk. I was happy about that, because I planned to tell him God laid on my heart the need for foster families in our area, and I thought we were being called to this. With relief he replied, “ME TOO! That’s what I wanted to talk to you about!” I had seen a flier in a local recreational center advertising the need; Tyler just felt the idea settle on him one day. We had both been nervous to bring up the idea with the other.
The six months it took to prepare to become foster parents (home study, training, etc) crawled by. I will never forget even one of the 18 children we have now fostered. Some we thought might stay, and some we worried and prayed over have stayed and will stay forever! We were blessed to be able to adopt two of our foster daughters, and recently we completed a third adoption through a direct placement adoption (a little-known form of adoption where the birth mother and prospective adoptive parents are working without an agency. A lawyer and social workers are required, but all the responsibility is on the adoptive parents to ensure the legal requirements are met). The memories of each step of the process, the memories of the people that helped make it happen, the memories of driving to the Ministry office to sign the papers. They are memories I will cherish forever. I love it when people ask us questions about our adoptions. Tyler and I are huge adoption advocates, and we love to talk to people considering fostering or adopting. We love to get together to talk about the good and the hard, the easy and the tricky parts. We love to talk to our biological and adopted children about what adoption means. This is not always easy, and there are some hard emotions. We figure however that this has to happen at some point, so why not start the conversation now or when the kids have questions? In turn, our children choose to share parts of their stories with those who ask, and sometimes they do not. We have taught them either way is fine. Sometimes they share with their friends in their schoolwork without even really knowing it (adoption is so much a part of our everyday life; I’m not sure that it can be separated anymore, and I love that). Sometimes they draw pictures about it, and sometimes they play games about adopting children of their own one day. Adoption stories are important. Adoption stories encourage us, drive us, propel us into the unknown to do something that might be unexpected, challenging, or even previously unplanned. Adoption stories pass on a legacy of reaching out. Our stories help us define who we are and what we stand for. Because of people’s curiosity, this helps us advocate for those still waiting for a forever home. So, let’s share our adoption stories boldly. There is no need to edit out the hard things because your overcoming is another person’s motivation. Your joy is another person’s wish. Your adoption story is the jumping off point for someone just starting the process. Adoption stories are that powerful.
Visit Adoption.com’s photolisting page for children who are ready and waiting to find their forever families. For adoptive parents, please visit our Parent Profiles page where you can create an incredible adoption profile and connect directly with potential birth parents.