This Is What Being An Adoptive Mother Feels Like

This guest post is by Mallory Rivas, an adoptive mother. 

Since becoming an adoptive mother in 2016, life has changed in so many ways. I became a part of this “club,” if you will, of other parents that have adopted their children.

We share stories of our journeys, our joys, trials and heartbreaks. It’s true when they tell you adopting a child is the hardest, most beautiful thing you will ever do in your life. It absolutely is.

And it isn’t your child that makes it hard, it’s the adults who have no filter and offer their opinions and advice to you. Unless you yourself have adopted a child, you will truly never know how we feel.

“Do I love him as much as my biological daughters?” Of course, how could I not?? “But he isn’t really yours, how could you love him as much??” But, he IS really mine.

I may not have made him, but I did give him his first kiss, hold him to my chest, whisper songs into his ear, rock him to sleep, teach him how to say “Mama” and everything else he knows.

Just because he didn’t come out of my body does not make him any less my son, or me any less his mother.

It is truly difficult for biological parents to grasp that we love our adopted children unconditionally, just like our biological children.

We may have missed those first nine months together, but that doesn’t mean our love is any less because of it.

It’s hard to put into words how much this child means to our family. He has an amazing grandmother who cares for him during the day while we work.

He has brightened her life and her, his. They have this beautiful bond.

I remember vividly when I got the call about my son. She was there with me. I asked her what to do. Should I say yes and pick up this baby from the hospital?

I knew that this decision would affect not only my life, but the life of my entire family. She said it was not her decision. I will always be thankful for that. I needed to make that decision on my own.

I knew she would support me either way. Later, she would tell me that she was so happy I said yes and that she would be here for me and him always.

My son has made my daughters better people. They love having a brother. They are so proud of every, single thing that he does and they don’t see him as any different than they are.

They know he was adopted and happily share that information with whoever is willing to listen.


Recently, my seven year old was having a conversation with one of her friends and it went like this:

“We adopted my brother!”

“Really?? I thought your Mom had him?”

“No way! She didn’t make him!”

“Then why does he look exactly like you??”

She shrugged.

It is uncanny how much he looks like his sisters. No one questions his relation to us, which is a blessing. We don’t have explain or offer information unless WE want to.

Our son will always know he was adopted. It is not a secret and we wouldn’t want it to be.

It will always be a part of who is he. I have had many conversations with other adoptive mothers, who for the most part agree with me on this.

We feel it would be selfish of us to basically lie to our children about where they came from. It’s a part of their story. A beautiful story, that I will happily share with him when the time is right.

All of us wholeheartedly believe that our children were placed with us through fate. These children were simply meant for us.

I didn’t choose to be an adoptive parent. I wasn’t on a waiting list. I wasn’t barren. I already had two beautiful daughters.

So of all the people, in all the world, was this child sent to me?

I won’t ever really know, but what I do know is that I will do everything in my power to keep him safe, to love him with all my might and to be there for him throughout my entire life.

He is my son. My light, my gift from above and I’ll be damned if anyone questions that. He is not my adopted son. He is MY SON.

I am not his adoptive mother. I am HIS MOTHER. He won’t ever have to question my love for him, because he will already know.

So even though these children came to us another way, it’s no worse a way than how our biological children came to us. We love them just the same, always and forever. ​

Mallory Rivas is the mother to two amazing girls and a son who joined their family through adoption. She and her husband will be celebrating their 11th wedding anniversary this year. 

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