Why Didn’t Anyone Warn Me Before I Adopted My Daughter?


If I’d only known.

Somehow, I thought by adopting a full-sized kid I would avoid biological changes to my body.

Silly me.

I met my daughter when she was 11. We finalized the adoption earlier this year.

No, there were no post-pregnancy pounds to lose, as I had my figure back within minutes of signing those papers.

I can’t blame any stretch marks on my body on pregnancy. Those were of my own making.

But there is one key biological change I never expected that has taken over my body, mind, and soul.

Since becoming a mother, I have become a crier.

Yes,  crier. Just ask my daughter. Making me tear up and cry is as easy as flipping on the kitchen sink.

Watching my daughter get on the school bus and drive away on the first day of school—you’d thought I was watching the sappiest TV movie of the week the way the tears poured down my cheeks.

Seeing her gather nice girlfriends for a simple birthday party. Let’s just say good thing I wasn’t near the candles on the cake.  My tears would’ve put out the flames and made for a soggy mess.

Going to her first school football game with my husband and her, just like my dad used to take me and my siblings—oh boy. Tried to hold on until a big play so I could nonchalantly wipe away tears while standing up to cheer the team.

“Why do you always have to cry?” my daughter wants to know, which is usually followed by “You’re so weird.”

I get her not getting it. I certainly didn’t get it when I was her age.  Shoot, I didn’t get it well into my 40’s before I got her.  I, too, used to look at my friends who are moms and criers and silently think to myself, “You’re so weird.”

But now I know to be a mom, or maybe simply a parent, no matter how or when you become one, is to love someone outside of yourself and to be so excited for all that is before them and all that is possible.

That, is what I suspect triggers the tears. A trigger so strong it feels like it must be mommy biology at work.

There we were in the post office the other day–My daughter and I applying for her passport.

Uh oh. I could fill the tear tank filling up.

“You’re going to cry? Here? Really?” My daughter was not pleased. “It’s a form. A really bad picture of me. It’s a post office!”

“That’s what you see,” I told her. “I see the years flying by.  In about two minutes you’ll be a college student with a knapsack over your shoulder backpacking across Europe, having the time of your life.”

Yeah, so I almost lost it in the middle of the post office.  I bit inside of my cheek, focused on checking the boxes. I actually kind of held it together.

So, if you’re thinking about adopting, I’m telling you what no one told me. The biological changes, the tears—they are a comin’.

If I’d only known.

The idea that I could love someone so much and get so much joy out of taking care of another person?

If I’d only known.  Truth is, I probably would’ve cried.


Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.



One comment

Why Didn’t Anyone Warn Me Before I Adopted My Daughter?

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min