What It’s Really Like Being an Adoptive Mom

I could say what you sometimes hear… that being an adoptive mom is just like being a “regular” (non-adoptive) mom. The truth is many things are the same. But there are quite a few differences as well.

The Paperwork

For one thing, in the beginning, there is so much paperwork!  One of my favorite funny little sayings, when we were in the process, was “No morning sickness so far, but the papercuts are horrible.” Once the paperwork is done and you bring your baby home, the waiting period that the birth mom has to change her mind (10 days in Virginia) can feel intense. You’re caring for your baby’s every need from the day you bring them home. You worry about them and love them like any parent. Imagining that they could be taken back is a hard thought. Although the truth is this is rare, the thought is still there. That’s a pretty big difference.

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Extra People to Love

There is one huge difference, in my mind, that makes adoptive moms different: we now care for an extra person, the birth mother, as well. Our adoption is open. I know that is not the case for all. But it is becoming more and more common. This makes me happy.

When we first started the adoption process, I could not imagine an open adoption and thought I’d prefer a closed one. But the more I learned about open adoption and how it was generally better for everyone involved, especially the child, I became more open to the idea. This person was going to change our lives forever. Why wouldn’t we want to know her and have her be a part of our lives? No one else will ever give you a gift like this! In my opinion, it’s an absolute honor to have her as a part of our lives. We have even had the privilege of meeting our children’s birth mom’s mother, father, and brother. We’ve also met our children’s birth dad. There are plenty of extra people to love.

Unexpected Disappointments

Adoption is not an easy process. Not only is there tons of paperwork, training and fundraising, there are also disappointments. When you find out your profile was shown but you weren’t chosen…again. Or, you plan a meeting with your child’s birth mom, but it falls through.

Also, the actual adoption finalization can be a bit anti-climactic. I had seen adoption finalizations that happened at court with pictures and celebrations that followed. Ours involved getting a letter in the mail. Don’t misunderstand. We were so excited when we received our adoption finalization letters. But it wasn’t exactly what we were expecting.

Unexpected Emotions

I still remember the day we walked in and met our children’s birth mom. I had no idea before then how much I’d care for her. A lot of people don’t seem to get this. Or, how I could be comfortable having a relationship with her. But, some people do get it. Other adoptive parents with closed adoptions have told me they are jealous of our open adoption. They wish they had that. I am thankful!

Our children’s birth mother and I share a love for these sweet children. That’s something very special to open adoption. I’m honored to have this amazing extra person in our lives. We are blessed to be our children’s parents. And, she is the reason this is even the case.


I love adoption and am passionate about it so I actually love questions and enjoy talking about it. I don’t always intend to tell strangers and acquaintances we adopted. But I end up telling people often because I love it! I’m proud of it!

I could get away with telling no one because my kids look like me. Everyone comments on that. But, I’m too passionate not to talk about it when I have the time.

Plus, maybe they are interested in adoption and I can help them. That matters to me!

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