21 Things Only Adoptive Moms Know

I am the very lucky mom of two girls from China, thanks to two governments, over 100 pages of paperwork, a few years’ of waiting, and one amazing social worker. And while many adoptive moms grieve the fact that they their kids didn’t come from their own bodies, I never really sweated it; there are certain parts of pregnancy (like the tiny hand bulging out of the pregnant belly) that feel Alien freaky to me. Another bonus: I spent my last day before becoming a mom scaling the Great Wall of China. Can’t imagine I would have been able to do anything that exciting at 9-months-pregnant.

While outsiders may think that adoptive parenting is fundamentally different than parenting a bio kid, honestly, once that kiddo comes home, it’s the same for us all: the sleepless nights, the vomit-covered days, the crazy feelings of love and joy and worry. There are a few key differences, though, the truths that only adoptive moms can possibly know. Like these…


1. Tax forms, medical forms, and mortgage applications are child’s play next to adoption paperwork.

2. Yes, it can take years to adopt a child, but that process won’t give you stretch marks. Or vaginal tearing.

3. You’ve never had to wear mesh undies, and that’s just great, thankyouverymuch.

4. You secretly feel a little smug when friends complain about all the ways pregnancy messed up their bodies.

5. The home study is a cross between a home inspection and dream job interview by Martha Stewart — and you will prep accordingly.

6. You know more than a few people who should have been subjected to a home study before they were handed a baby.

7. In the nature vs. nurture debate, you actually know what wins.

8. The people who ask you what your child cost deserve a swift taco karate chop.

9. So do the ones who say how sorry they are that you don’t have “one of your own.”

10. And the people who start in about your child’s “real parents.” 

11. That whole blood is thicker than water thing? Total bullsh*t.

12. You will present on your kid’s heritage in school, if you adopted internationally, at some point without feeling like a phony. At some point.

13. Whether your baby came home at 2-days-old or 12-years-old, you’ll grieve the loss of every minute you didn’t get to spend with her. 

14. People may think that your kid is the lucky one, but you really know the score. 

15. Even if you think you don’t want to know about the birth family, eventually, you will. 

16. Once you’ve adopted transracially you’ll find it odd to see kids who look like yours…but with parents that “match” them. 

17. The number of elementary school projects that revolve around family history rivals the number of times you tell your kid to put on his shoes in the morning.

18. You will fill in the paperwork at your child’s pediatrician with your biological family’s medical history. More than once.

19. You’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that your kid is proud of where she’s from and where she is now.

20. Most of Hollywood doesn’t get adoptive families, which makes you appreciate shows like “Modern Family” even more.

21. People who say they can’t imagine loving another person’s child like their own lack imagination. And they are most definitely missing out!

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