What Adoption Means to an Adoptive Parent

hand the sleeping baby in the hand of mother

  • It means being entrusted with the most important thing on this planet. Whether you are handed and infant or an older child walks through your door, you are given that trust with another person’s life and future.
  • It means knowing that from that moment on you are the maker of memories, the helper, the teacher, the calmer of fears, the encourager, cheerleader, coach, taxi driver, and chef.
  • It means Family. A child. And forever.
  • It means loving a child you did not carry or create, in way you may never have known you could, but that only a parent can.
  • It means looking into eyes that reflect another person, but a smile that came from you.
  • It means in many cases, having the honor of those first “I love you’s” and a lifetime of them after. In other cases it may mean the thousands of other firsts a child has never known: having their own pillow or room, opening up about their past or knowing they don’t have to worry about their next meal—that it will come.
  • It means openness and honesty—never knowing when questions might come up, but knowing you want to do right by your child when you answer them.
  •  It means embracing another family because they are a part of your child. It means never speaking unkindly about a birth family because that is where your child came from and it could affect how your child feels about them self or how they think you feel about them.
  • It means maybe sharing holidays or visits, pictures or letters with another family because you made promises and are committed to keeping them.
  • It means knowing YOU will be the one your grade schooler looks out in the audience for at their class play. It means being the one with the button with your child’s picture on it at the ball game and the one that feels their every hurt and joy for the rest of YOUR life.
  • It means your name will be called to soothe fears when there are bad dreams, scary thoughts or monsters in the closet. It means being the boo-boo kisser when they are little and the shoulder to cry on when their first love has broken their heart.
  • It means wanting to do the right thing and not always knowing what that is.
  • It means for some, the responsibility of helping your child deal with the pain and loss they have known and lifting them up. Not understanding all of your child’s feelings but doing all you can to work through them.
  • It means putting a child and their needs before yourself, because that’s what parents do and who parents are. Of anyone in your life, your whole life, no one will sacrifice for a child like a parent—that is how it is meant to be and adoptive parents are no different.
  • It means homework and ballgames, growing pains and sleepless nights because guess what? Parents through adoption ARE parents. We’ve caught throw up in our hands and spent hours on science projects.
  • It means a lifetime commitment that you knew you would keep before a judge ever asked you. It means being a parent with no need to quantify with “ADOPTIVE”—that was an avenue to parenthood, not a name.
  • It means love. Unconditional, Unwavering , no matter what, in good times and in bad, with all your heart kind of love. The kind only a parent can share with a child and no DNA was needed for that.