What Does Adoption Mean To Me?

Michele Fried
By Michele Fried

Adoption STAR Founder & CEO Michele Fried writes about the significant role that adoption has played in her life.

Twenty-eight years ago today I became a mother. A first time mother. An adoptive mother.

What is Adoption?
Google tells me that Adoption comes from the Old French word adoptare, meaning, “to chose for oneself.” Adoption is also described as a means of becoming a family, but it is also the severing of legal ties with one’s biological parents.

What does adoption mean to me?
I ask myself that again 20 years after our last adoption and 28 years after our first adoption, as my husband and I just finalized the adoption of a teenager. It means more than any definition ever written. How do you describe love? What is commitment? What is always and forever?

Adoption may be feelings, experiences and connections.

This new adoption brings the same feelings I had the moment our first baby was placed in my arms. He was mine always and forever but he was also hers in a way he will never be mine. It reminds me of the Jody Landers quote I have shared before, “A child born to another woman calls me mom. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”

While that quote reminds us that adoption is bittersweet, my motherhood is secure and my love for my children is so intense that there is no question that it is so real and profound. There are no words other than saying I feel no different in my love and attachment to my birth children then I do for my children who came to us by way of adoption. No matter the age they arrived, they are my children.

Whether it was a newborn or a 15-year-old, they made me a mom all over again. The feelings are overwhelming, beautiful, unconditional and forever. My hope and prayer is that my children will always feel that connection and love and feel proud to carry the Fried name. That adoption will be a part of their story, not too much and not too little, that they will feel they were meant to travel this road and that any pain invoked strength, and the love of family is at the core of who they are today.