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Grieving Adoption: A Real Story About the Ups & Downs

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I had a conversation with my mom the other day that started like this: “I used to think adoption was so happy and beautiful.”

Now don’t get me wrong. I think adoption is just about the happiest and most beautiful thing on this planet earth. But, in case you don’t know this, it’s not only, just happy and beautiful.

I thought that the sad part of adoption was the time before the adoption. You know, the time where the child is the orphan. The time before I show up on my white horse, stack of adoption papers in hand. It’s supposed to go like this: Child needs family. Child gets family. Child and family live happily ever after.

Adoptive family is ever after. Adoptive family is happy. But I find myself grieving the happily ever after I wanted it to be. 

I didn’t know what I was getting into. I didn’t think babies could experience trauma. I didn’t believe that obscure memories could take ahold of a little mind years later. I didn’t get that the sadness and fear don’t just go away. I didn’t understand that the happy family we offer doesn’t just fill up all the holes of the family that was. I didn’t know or realize or want to see that just because we’re a forever family doesn’t mean that the past won’t be a part of that forever.

Head over to to read more about the range of emotions that comes with adopting.