Internet Rises Up: An Adoptive Mom Is Told She Isn’t “A Real Parent”

"Not every experience is your experience. Not every mother is a mother because she gave birth."

Rachel Skousen May 12, 2017
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It all started with a post on Reddit . . . an adoptive mom, Reddit user vietnamazinggg, shared her response to a statement from a fellow Facebook user that she “wasn’t a real parent.”

Part of her response:

“I didn’t labor for hours for this child, I labored for YEARS. I waited for years to be told that we had been chosen, that we were finally going to be allowed to be parents.”

“I didn’t get to wake up in the middle of the night and nurse my sweet child. I did, though, spend many nights lying awake and praying to whomever might be listening to let us be next. . . My child has been let down by everyone else in his life. You think I am not losing sleep? He may not wake me up to feed him every couple hours, but he screams out in his sleep–no doubt reliving past traumas from the life he led before being adopted.”

“Not every experience is your experience. Not every mother is a mother because she gave birth. Not every child is yours or a ‘part of you’ because you grew it inside of you.”

Her powerful words rang out across the internet, and her post was shared in a variety of places, including:

Scary Mommy. “Because someone’s family does not look like yours does not make it less ‘real.’ Assuming one person is more of a mother because they carried a child is not only offensive, it is wildly inaccurate. Genetics rarely matter where parenting is concerned. Being someone’s parent is about loving them.”

Today’s Parent. “The different, and sometimes winding, paths we all take to motherhood land us all in exactly the same exact place. There is no single ultimate type of mother. We are all real moms.”

The Daily Mail: “An adoptive mother received a callous comment claiming she was not a ‘real’ parent to her child – and responded with a heartfelt message detailing the many hurdles she had to go through before welcoming her son into her life.”

Glamour. “Unfortunately, it’s not just adoptive moms and stepmoms who get comments like these. One photographer actually refused to shoot a woman’s C-section on the grounds that it was ‘not birth’ and she wasn’t willing to ‘give motherhood a go.’”

Global News. “Her post has garnered nearly 200 comments, mostly from people who share her outrage, and it sparked a conversation about the different forms parenthood can take.”

Adoptive parents: Have you ever been told you’re not a ‘real mom’ or ‘real dad’? How did you respond?

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Rachel Skousen

Rachel has a long-held passion for adoption that was sealed through her work as the content manager at She currently works as a content specialist at, finding and sharing amazing adoption content from across the web. She is a mom of three and loves reading and napping in her spare time.

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