You Might Be a Parent-By-Adoption If...

by Rachel Garlinghouse
Originally Published: 
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Seven years ago, my husband and I got the call that informed us we were parents. Our daughter had already been born. We frantically packed, made phone calls, and headed out of state to go to court and get custody of our baby girl. Fast-forward to today. We have three children, all of whom were adopted transracially and at birth. We’re in a club of sorts, a club of adoptive families who often experience and hear the same things.

Here are 20 ways you know your family was built by adoption:

1. You can spot another adoptive family in any crowd and give them the knowing nod.

2. You immediately think someone is speaking of reactive attachment disorder when someone says something or someone is “rad.”

3. You know adoption and fostering stats and can spout them off at the drop of a hat.

4. You’ve been asked if your kids are real siblings.

5. Your family gets double-takes wherever you go.

6. “Adopt a puppy” and “adopt a highway” grate your nerves.

7. You’ve been asked how much your kids cost.

8. People have said, “God bless you for giving those children a good home,” in front of your kids.

9. A stranger has asked if Sandra Bullock or Angelina Jolie inspired you to adopt.

10. You’ve been asked if you plan to tell your children they were adopted while your children are standing right next to you.

11. People have suggested that it’s common when a woman chooses to adopt, that’s when she also finds out she’s pregnant (surprise!).

12. You’ve been asked what country your kids are from and then see the bewilderment in the asker’s eyes when you share the state the kids were born in within the United States.

13. You know what FAS, RAD and PTSD stands for.

14. You’ve been annoyed by being called an “adoptive” mom instead of just your kid’s mom.

15. You own six copies of Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born because it’s been gifted to you time and time again.

16. You’ve been told how good you look for just having given birth to your baby.

17. People tell you they’ve always wanted to adopt all the time.

18. Your children have been deemed “lucky” to have you as their parent.

19. You’ve been asked if, now that you’ve adopted, you are going to have your “own” children.

20. Your hands are full, your heart is full, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Choosing to adopt means embarking on a different path to parenthood, one the requires extra doses of patience and dedication. If you are already on the adoption journey, or if you are considering adoption, my advice is to put on your big girl panties, fill your tumbler with wine, and get ready. It’s going to be an adventure.

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