You Know You’re An Adoptive Parent When…

My brother is adopted. My nephew is adopted. Three of my cousins are adopted. It was a normal part of “how you got kids” when I was growing up. I got married at the tender age of 42 and the fertility ship had sailed. When the question of adding children to our family came up, hubs and I decided adoption was the answer.

Here are four things parents who have come to parenthood through adoption can identify with:

You know you’re an adoptive parent when you have an arsenal of canned responses to any question or comment that resembles the following:

“…are they all yours are they brothers I mean real brothers what happened to their real mother how much did they cost can’t you have any of your own do they know they’re adopted are you afraid they’ll turn out to be crazy my friend’s sister adopted from Russia and that kid was cuh-ray-zee we adopted a dog so I totally get what you’re going through now that you’re adopted you’ll get pregnant they’re so lucky…”

Your mileage will vary based on your mood, time of the month, and your perception of the “asker’s” motives. (Someone genuinely interested in adoption is probably going to get a different response than straight up nosy old biddy in the frozen food section).

READ MORE: The Checkout Line Makes People Ask Dumb Adoption Questions

You know you’re an adoptive parent when you spend the night before Mother’s Day quietly celebrating another woman who is the reason your kids call you mommy.

You might have an open adoption. You might know nothing about the woman who chose life for your child. You spend time before church, brunch or opening presents made from pipe cleaners and elbow macaroni thinking about a woman who made sacrifices so you could be a mom. You might know her name, her face or her Twitter handle (although I think the latter would be awkward). You might know nothing. Regardless, this woman holds a special place in your heart and you think of her every Mother’s Day.

You know you’re an adoptive parent if you dread school assignments that involve the “family tree”.

Adopted children may (or may not) want to include the genealogy of their birth families. If they do, they’re singled out. They might want to include this info but might not have it. This assignment may conjure up hurt or feelings of loss and spark difficult conversations at home.

My kids were adopted when they were toddlers. I don’t have baby pictures, and this makes “baby picture day” uncomfortable.

READ MORE: Blinded

You know you’re an adoptive parent when quotes like this make you tear up:

“You may not have my eyes or my smile but from the very beginning, you had my heart”;

“Not flesh of my flesh or bone of my bone, but still miraculously my own, never forget for a single minute, you didn’t grow under my heart, BUT IN IT.”

And if that doesn’t give you at least a little tear, you must be in the Tin Woodsman “I don’t have a heart” club.

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