Letter to an Adoptive Mom

Dear Friend,

Congratulations! After all those months and years of living on pins and needles, you are finally a mom. Now that the home-study is over, the selection process complete and the placement finalized, you deserve to take a deep breath and relax with your little one.

Here are a few lessons from another lucky adoptive mother.

DON’T feel bad if you find motherhood exhausting and overwhelming. All moms get tired and wonder if they are up to this job–no matter how they get their babies. In fact, feeling this way shows you actually are a REAL mom.

DO smile and be gracious when someone says, “You look really good for just having a baby.” They don’t need to know your new-mom-tummy really came from eating chocolate chips and Doritos!

DON’T get all hung-up on the unknown genetic pool. Sure, it is tricky not having a full medical background and you’ll always worry about some DNA surprise. But, look at your own family tree–there are probably all kinds of medical (and mental!) problems hanging from the branches. If not on your side, then definitely on your husband’s! The bottom line is: no baby is health-risk-free.

DO buy the book “Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born” by Jamie Lee Curtis. Read it often.

DON’T feel left out when other moms share their pregnancy and delivery war stories. You labored just as hard to get your baby, in a different way. Smile, nod, and change the subject.

DO keep in touch with your child’s birthparents. Aside from the grandparents, no one else in the world will be as happy to receive photos, cards and updates. As your child grows, you will want to have information to share with him/her. Keep the lines of communication open.

DON’T listen to everyone’s prediction that “Now, that you’ve adopted…you’ll probably get pregnant.” Statistically, it just isn’t true. Besides, it makes adoption seem second-best.

DO get involved with other adoptive parents. Make sure your kids have a few other “adopted” friends. Volunteer to help at your adoption agency. Be willing to mentor adoptive candidates or to talk with prospective birthmothers.

DON’T get your feelings hurt when people say tactless things. “Someday you might have a child of your own.” “Do you keep in touch with his real mother?” No parent owns a son or daughter. All children are on loan from God. Once we recognize this, a lot of the unimportant details just don’t matter.

DO write your child’s beginnings in a Once-upon-a-time storybook. Keep the details simple and add pictures, if you can. Read it often and use it as a conversation starter as your child grows older. Answer questions openly. Let your child feel proud and safe about the way your family came to be.

DO sing lullabies. DO blow bubbles. DO run in the sprinklers. DO lick the spoon together. DO savor these precious moments. You waited a long, long time for them.

A Real Mom

Gabi Larson, the mother of 4 children, lives in Pennsylvania. She writes at The Gab Blog.


7 responses to “Letter to an Adoptive Mom

  1. You don’t have to just send photos and letters, these days open adoption can include visit and real life contact. If you are in contact with the first family then medical information doesn’t have to be a mystery. Genetic pool is more than medical info, it’s the sound of the voice, the way we move, the colours we like, what kind of chocolate we choose, how we decorate our writing paper and much much more.
    signed by another real mum

  2. As a grandparent I am amazed by the way an adopted child comes to a family. It is every bit as miraculous as the pregnancy-delivery way.

  3. I love this list – you write so well. Good words of wisdom for every parent.

  4. Lovely. I always wonder what it is like to be an adoptive parent. Sounds like it isn’t very different from bio. I love the angle you took with this letter.

  5. That was so wonderfully written. I loved hearing each word.

  6. This was beautifully written, Gab. Very true on everything. However, sometimes birth parents don’t want to be involved, and that is okay too.

  7. Thank you for a well written article from the heart, especially love the DON’T get your feelings hurt when people say tactless things.

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