What Is an Adoptive Parent Really Like?

This guest post is by Deanna Kahler, an adoptive parent and author.

We’re not saints, saviors or baby stealers. We’re not “playing house” or raising a child we don’t consider our own.

We didn’t choose adoption as a last resort, and we aren’t hoping to get pregnant now that we’ve adopted.

Although I’ve heard all of these phrases when others talk about adoptive parents, I can honestly tell you: we’re regular parents—ordinary, but sometimes misunderstood.

My husband and I made the decision to adopt after two miscarriages, which is a pretty common scenario.

Naturally, we discussed our options at length. Should we attempt another high-risk pregnancy with Heparin injections? Should we hire a surrogate? (We had two offers from friends and relatives.)

Should we adopt an infant or an older child, domestically or internationally? These were all possibilities. We chose adoption because it felt right.

Out of all the ways we could build our family, it was the best decision for us.

We didn’t feel it was necessary to carry on our genes or share a biological connection. What we wanted most was to become parents.

We wanted to love and care for a child; to teach and nurture; watch and discover. And now we do that every day.

We take great pleasure in encouraging our precious daughter at dance recitals, helping her with homework and tucking her into bed at night.

With each and every milestone she accomplishes, we watch in awe and our hearts swell with pride.

Some people tell us how amazing it is that we adopted and that our daughter is so lucky to have us. But we are the lucky ones.

Her birth parents chose us and trusted us to take good care of their baby.  We are deeply grateful and could never fully express how much that means.

Someone believed in us enough to trust us with their child’s life. That’s just plain incredible. We are truly honored to be parents.

Some days we don’t feel worthy of our blessings.  We make mistakes, like all parents. We regret things we’ve said or how we’ve handled particular situations.

What separates us from biological parents is the added pressure we put on ourselves to be the best possible parents we can be. Not just for our child, but for her birth parents too.

We don’t want to ever let any of them down. So with each tear we wipe, we are more determined than ever to be there for our child now and forever, to be the parents her birth family hopes we will be.

Those who are against domestic newborn adoption may scream that we took someone else’s child away and say we are heartless for doing so.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Our hearts ache for our daughter’s birth family, and we will never forget the emotions they experienced at the hospital as they said good-bye.

We know they made a very difficult decision and that it was done out of love.

Although we will never fully understand what it feels like to be a birth parent, we realize it is incredibly painful.

Adoption always involves grief and loss. It is a mix of both happy and sad.  Sometimes we smile; sometimes we cry.

Always, we recognize the magnitude of adoption. We will never forget the struggles and sacrifices that led to our family.

But aside from the fact we adopted, we are simply parents.  We are a regular family who visits parks together, talks around the dinner table and plays board games.

Like other families, we argue and disagree on certain things, and we come to each other’s aid when needed. And most of all, we love.

Deanna Kahler is a proud mom and freelance writer with a passion for educating and inspiring others. She has written for several adoption websites and is the author of the award-winning book, From Pain to Parenthood: A Journey Through Miscarriage to Adoption. For more info, check out her webpage at www.deannakahler.com.

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