1. You get a kick out of people telling you that your child looks just like you even though you know she doesn’t.
2. The woman you once feared more than anyone else in the world isn’t only your new best friend, she’s the first person you think of when your child reaches a milestone.
3. While all the other mothers get asked about the cost of their baby stroller, you get asked about the cost of your baby,
4. You discover that Jamie Lee Curtis is a darned good writer –maybe even better than she is as an actress.
5. You feel like you’ve joined this exclusive club that you never thought would have you as a member.
6. Everyone wants to know what’s it like to co-parent and whether you’re worried that the “real” mother will come back?
7. People treat you differently, but not necessarily for the reasons you want them to.
8. You can’t believe how little people know about open adoption.
9. The joy you feel as a new parent is tempered by the loss that you imagine your child’s birthparents must feel.
10. When the person behind you in the check-out lane gets impatient, you no longer feel the urge to take him aside and explain what waiting really means.
11. You understand that nature alone doesn’t define an individual, nurture also plays a role.
12. You begin making plans again, starting with that vacation you put off for three years just in case “the Call” arrived,
13. Everyone wants to know whether you’re going to have “your own child” now.
14. You can’t believe how little people know about open adoption.
15. Just as you start to find your footing, someone online attacks you for adopting a newborn and reminds you about the thousands of orphans and foster children available for adoption.
16. Your heart no longer skips a beat every time the phone rings.
17. You can’t believe how many trolls there are.
18. You notice that even though you didn’t give birth to your child, you’re just as tired and stressed at the end of the day as every other new mom.
19. You can’t believe how hard it is to find a new mothers’ group that doesn’t talk about stretch marks and breastfeeding.
10. As you drive home at the end of a successful birth family visit, you wonder what was it again that you were so worried about?
11. People tell you that you’ll get pregnant now, and the funny thing is you don’t care any more.
12. You can’t believe how little people know about open adoption.
13. You feel good about being a parent, but also, surprisingly, guilty.
14. You’re convinced your child is perfect and seriously question whether you could ever have produced such a perfect child yourself.
15. People misinterpret the meaning of “open” and start drilling you with questions they would never ask another parent.
16. You constantly feel the presence of your child’s birth family even though they’re hundreds of miles away.
17. Every time something unexpected happens to your child, you panic, wondering if it’s adoption-related.
18. You come to realize there are times when you would rather hang out with your child’s birth family than your own.
20. It suddenly feels like you’ve got this big new branch grafted to your family tree.
21. Everyone asks when are you going to try for No. 2, as if No. 1 just fell into your lap.
22. You can’t believe how little people know about open adoption.
23. You learn that adopted babies really aren’t all that different from other babies — they scream and cry and keep you up at night.
24. You look back on your adoption story and realize it’s way more interesting than any Lifetime movie could ever be.
25. It feels like your child has always been there and you can’t imagine life without her.
26. Whenever you feel unlucky or that life isn’t fair, you remind yourself that someone actually picked you to be the parent of her child.
27. You really begin to understand the meaning of the phrase “no two adoption stories are alike.”
28. You become an advocate for ethical adoptions.
29. You start lecturing waiting parents about the difference between a “birthmother” and “an expectant mother considering adoption,” forgetting that once upon a time you didn’t know about it either.
30. You think about your child’s birthparents way more often than you ever thought you would and really, really, really hope they’re okay.
31. You discover that not everyone is as excited about adoption as you are and encounter lots of people who have been hurt and damaged by it.
32. There’s no sweeter sound in the world than hearing your child call you “mommy.”
33. Your parents who initially weren’t so hot about open adoption are now its biggest fans.
34. You realize that for all of their quirks, your child’s birth family is nowhere near as crazy as your own family.
35. You discover that just because someone may have had a bad adoption experience doesn’t mean that you will too.
36. No matter how many times you look at your child, you still can’t get over the fact that you’re her parent.
When did you first realize you were an adoptive parent? What does being an adoptive parent in an option mean for you? Share your comments here or on our Facebook page.