I am my adopted child’s real mom. She has a birth mom who happens to be real, too. It’s OK. No worries! We’re both good with that fact. We acknowledge that she had a past before coming into my life and entering into her new family–our real family. We acknowledge that her past is real, too, and that someday she may want to explore it. And if and when that happens, she knows I’ll be there to support her. Her beginning was a bit different than most kids born into traditional, natural families. That’s OK, too. We all come from somewhere, go through lots of stuff, and eventually wind up in our (hopefully) happily ever after. Her particular first chapter is nothing to be ashamed of and there is no reason to feel sorry for her.

My adopted child is really smart. I mean really smart! Despite broad-brushed adoption stories the media publishes asserting that adopted kids fare worse in school, she can work a math problem in her head like nobody’s business. And she’s a great writer, too. And she’s quick to raise her hand in class. But, she doesn’t love to do her homework. Just like most kids, I keep on her for that. She also gets frustrated when she doesn’t understand something. She may be smart, but that doesn’t mean she has all the answers or makes perfect grades. Her teacher sees her potential and wants her to try harder to do even better. She’ll get there because we believe in her.

My adopted child is super athletic. You should see her on the playground. She jumps around like an American Ninja Warrior and, no doubt, gives the boys a run for their money. Sometimes, I’m convinced that she’s fearless. She takes chances and puts herself out there more so than I would’ve felt comfortable doing at her age. She does not always enjoy getting up for early morning practices and games, though, and sometimes would rather skip to play with friends or watch something on her tablet. I keep on her. Her coaches and instructors see her potential and want her to work hard to improve her skills.

My adopted child loves her family. She loves the holidays and birthdays when she gets to spend time with her cousins. She looks up to the older ones and hopes they think she’s cool, too. I try to remind her to be just as kind to her younger cousin, because he probably feels the same way and wants her to think he’s cool, too. This doesn’t mean she doesn’t think about her birth family or not love them, too. She does and she does–she values all family.

My adopted child has been described as a survivor for what she overcame early on. I agree with that, but we also don’t dwell on it. I do hope that someday she will embrace her strength rather than view it as a hinderance and understand that she can apply that same strength to future life challenges.

My child is creative. I love seeing her put her ideas onto paper and/or any other medium she chooses. Sometimes I know she’s creative by looking what she’s drawn and sometimes not so much, but I love it all the same. Her bedroom walls are coated with her designs. Sometimes she integrates the colors of the flag from her homeland into her work in clever ways. She likes to wear mismatched outfits and put colored hair chalk in her hair to express herself. Not gonna lie, I’m a little nervous about the teenage years! But for now, I’m enjoying her passion for the arts and her love of making cards and crafts for people she cares about.

My adopted child loves to have friends. She doesn’t care if they’re boys or girls. She doesn’t care about their color. She doesn’t care if they are rich or poor. She doesn’t care if they have a mom and a dad or if they come from a divorced or non-traditional family. She can be an instigator (argh!) sometimes and other times she is the peacemaker (yay!). She can be super shy, which surprises me because she is so outspoken in private. She loves kids who love to run and play outside rather than sitting inside playing video games. Mostly, she just loves to laugh and have a good time.

My adopted child, really, is just like your non-adopted child in more ways than she’s not. They may have had different beginnings, but despite the differences, her story is that of a loved and wanted child. A loved and wanted daughter. She has her strengths and weaknesses like all children do. She has her good days and bad and you’ll usually be able figure out which pretty quickly! She is passionate and kind. She can be a stinker, too. She is my passionate and kind stinker. She just happens to have become so through adoption.