How to Get Ready to Adopt

With all my heart, I truly believe that just as a child is conceived physically, an adopted child is conceived in the hearts of a mom and dad.

As an adoptive grandma (alias, Mimi), I witnessed that event in the hearts of my daughter, Lisa, and son-in-law, John, who adopted our precious grand daughter, Megan Grace, seven years ago. It so happened that I knew the birth mother and our daughter, Lisa, knew of her also.

Adoption Conception

When I told Lisa that this young woman was experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, she began weeping. Not sure, what was troubling her, I asked. She said she felt so burdened for the baby and for the birth mother. Gradually, she realized that those were the tears of motherhood. What a gift! I call this adoption conception!

Listen to another mother describe her adoption conception: “If I had to pick just one moment of absolute, unadulterated joy it would be the moment I saw her photo pop up on my computer screen. I kept saying, ‘That’s her, that’s my daughter, my daughter, my daughter!’ And, somehow in all the crazy excitement of the moment I felt my heart fold itself around her half a world away.”

Adoption Labor Pains

Then came the months of waiting. We prayed and prayed for the birth mother because we deeply loved her and this child. Since our kids already had a biological daughter, Ellie, age five at the time, she had to get used to the idea of having a sibling. We bought her a shirt that said, “I am the Big Sister” to give to her when the baby was born. Still, it was a tense time. Add to that the home studies and the whole nine yards of preparation and you can certainly call the waiting time “labor.”

Adoption Birth

The adoption itself occurred in an ideal manner. Both families were there for a special ceremony, when the birth mother handed Megan Grace over to Lisa and John. Even though it was a joyous occasion, and even though the birth mother had no doubts about her decision, nor did our kids, it was heart wrenching. To see our Megan’s beloved birth mother, belly still swollen from carrying her, hand her to someone else was more painful than any of us thought we could bear. That handing over could be likened to the head of a baby crowning as a delivering mother gives the final pushy at the point of birth. It’s a joyous time, but one of intense pain.

Adoption Blues

After the adoption was finalized, our kids were worn out from stress. So many in our culture believe that adopting a baby is so much easier than physically having a baby. What a misconception! I believe adoptive moms often experience a harder labor and delivery than physical birth. They deserve all the support and after care as someone who has just delivered a baby physically—maybe more.

Adoption Joy

As Megan’s Mimi, I can look back and say the pain was well worth it. Easy for me to say—I wasn’t the adoptive parents or the birth mother! I was simply a spectator.

However, what would our lives be without Megan? I love to get her smooshy “nose kisses” and hold her little hand in mine when we walk to see the duckies at the lake.

So, hats off to you, mom’s that have adopted or are contemplating adoption! Your heart will tell you whether you’re ready to adopt, and if it tells you you’re ready, fasten your seat belt. There is waiting, labor, and the pain of birth ahead. But oh, the JOY that awaits you!

by Expert Mommy, Sherrie Eldgridge


  1. My cousin have adopt 2 kids, they are already grown up, it is really interesting, both kids looks like their host parents and have the same habits.

  2. Janet,
    This is an interesting comment! Thanks for writing. Two insights come to mind. Even though the kids look like their parents outwardly, they’re not the same inwardly. They have a different “gene pool” than the parents. Sometimes the non-adopted think they are paying a compliment to we adoptees by saying we look just like our parents. Our hearts are saying, “But, we’re not. We’re different than them. Please celebrate our differences!”
    Second, research shows that adoptive parents have as much BIOLOGICAL influence as the birth parents. Isn’t this amazing? If you want a good read, I’d suggest “Parenting from the Inside Out” by Daniel Siegel. It’s fascinating!