Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents: More Alike Than You Think

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

Whether you’re a birth parent or an adoptive parent, adoption can be overwhelming and downright scary at times.

You’re faced with decisions, paperwork, waiting, searching, ups and downs and plenty of tears.

You may wonder: How will this all pan out? Am I doing the right thing?

While no one can fully understand your unique, personal journey, you can take comfort in knowing you are never alone.

Although at times it may seem like birth parents and adoptive parents are on opposite sides, they are in fact an interconnected team.


Throughout the adoption process and beyond, you will work together to give a precious child the best possible chance at life.

And although you may not realize it at first, you both share some common traits and emotions that can help forge a successful relationship.

Here are some ways birth parents and adoptive parents are alike:

Both have experienced loss

A birth parent experiences the heartbreaking loss of the child she carried for nine months. Contrary to what some people believe, birth parents never “give up” their child and just move on.

Most report thinking of their children daily and grieving for the rest of their lives.

Many adoptive parents also cope with loss. They may have suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or infertility and may also grieve deeply.

Those who haven’t experienced these traumas may have had a failed match or encountered other challenges.

Both have faced unexpected circumstances and had to choose a new course for their lives.

A birth parent is caught off guard by an unexpected pregnancy and after much soul-searching ultimately decides to place her baby for adoption.

On the other hand, an adoptive parent may have obstacles or hurdles that make forming a family the traditional way difficult, unlikely or even impossible.

Both come to adoption after a lot of thinking, worrying and shedding tears.

They know in their hearts adoption is the right path for them and pursuing it gives them some peace and hope for the future.

Both are nervous about the adoption process and the developing relationship.

I remember sitting in a meeting with an expectant parent considering adoption. It was so nerve-wracking!

I worried about what she would think of us and was afraid of saying the wrong thing. After a few minutes, I admitted I was very nervous. “I’m really nervous too,” she said.

From that moment on, we connected. We may be different and come from diverse backgrounds, but our emotions are very much the same.

There’s really no need to worry about what the other person thinks. Just be yourself and let the relationship unfold the way it’s meant to.

If it doesn’t work out or your personalities don’t click, that’s okay. Not every potential situation will be a good match.

An expectant parent meeting is all about getting to know each other and testing the waters.

Nerves aside, it’s an important part of the adoption process and will help lead to the best possible outcome for everyone.

Both want the best for the child.

Birth parents and adoptive parents are both focused on ensuring the child is loved, happy, healthy and well cared for.

Birth parents want to give their children the lives they are unable to provide at the time.

Adoptive parents want to be the best parents possible, not only for the precious child, but also for his or her birth parents.

I personally carry that extra determination and motivation with me always. I don’t want to let my daughter or her birth parents down.

I want to provide the best life possible for my daughter, and I want her birth parents to know they made a good choice and that we are the parents they hoped we would be.

No matter where you are in the adoption process—starting out, nearing the end or building relationships after your child’s birth—always keep this important point in mind: We may have our differences, but deep inside we’re all the same.

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 or follow her author page on Facebook.