Adoption poems

Adoption Poems

Poetry, for many, serves as a release from things going on inside the mind. For centuries, people have written poetry about politics, religion, society, philosophy, and many other personal topics. It has and still continues to play a large role in the abstract expression of things that are happening in the world. 

In the realm of adoption, many members of the adoption community (from both in and out of the adoption triad) have longed for a way to express the deeply rooted emotions that come about before, during, and after the adoption process. For many, dealing with the loss that creates adoption can be a topic that is dealt with for an entire lifetime; the gains can also be a source of deep emotion. 

Poetry is abstract, meaning that there does not have to be a purpose, rhyme, or reason to how it should be written. There are structured ways to write poetry, such as iambic pentameter or a rhyme scheme. There are also some adoption poems that have a certain shape to them that gives the piece a specific meaning, adding to the message the author is trying to convey. For example, a poem about an adoptee finding their birth family and is written in an hourglass shape (wide at the top, then tapers in at the middle and widens back up at the end) can indicate that the author is experiencing a conflict that is then resolved. The wide portion at the top is before the adoptee finds their birth family, the middle is when they make contact, and the widened bottom describes the events after the connection. 

For some, poetry can be a type of self-therapy. Lisa Wasmer Andrews emphasizes how you do not have to be a published poet to be healed by poetry; all you have to do is have a pen and paper. Pertaining to adoption, any sort of journaling or writing exercise may help improve mental health in a variety of ways including coping with infertility, grief, loss, relationship deterioration, and more. 

I have always written adoption poems; it has served as a cathartic release for a lot of the pent-up emotions I was not able to verbalize until I was well into young adulthood. It also served as a type of self-therapy. On my bookshelf, there are stacks of journals that I’ve filled with poems. Some are multiple pages, and others are just a few words. I’ve turned some of them into spoken word pieces which gives the poem a depth that is unreachable when left on paper. 

If you’ve never written a poem before, I’d encourage you to sit down sometime when there’s nothing else to do and just write. You’ll be amazed at how much better, less stressed out, and relieved you may feel after getting your thoughts out on paper. 

Types of Adoption Poems

There are different types of adoption poems from birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees themselves. Each author will have a unique reason behind why they wrote the poem just as every poem will have a unique meaning. Poetry is often meant to be interpreted in different ways; no two poems will be the same. Included in each section will be a poem from each type of author.  

Birth Mothers 

Often unable to express the emotions that come with placing a child for adoption, poetry can provide a place for birth mothers to speak freely. Poetry can be a safe haven for those who may have kept their adoption journey private, are not comfortable speaking openly about it, or are still trying to process what has happened. Regardless of a birth mother’s journey, it is still healthy to have an outlet for the intense emotions that can come with going through the adoption process. 

An example of an adoption poem addressing the grief and loss that birth mothers can feel is by Heather Corcoran-Schneider. Titled “My Child, Their Child”, Corcoran-Schneider describes her journey as a birth mother: 

This is my child, Yet she is not mine-

My flesh and blood, but their sweat and tears-

She carries my genes, Yet will be shaped by their

personalities-

She lives strong in my heart, but her heart

feels for them-

She lives in my fantasies, my dreams.

Yet she’s their dream come true, their beautiful

and precious reality-

I gave her life, with which she made theirs whole

I learned so much to love her, that I let her go-

My child, their child it doesn’t make sense,

Yet at the same time-

My child, my dream for her to have better, then I

could give,

Their child, their dream, to give her better then

I could give,-

My child, so painful, the hurt caused by her

leaving so much grieving,

Yet a world full of happiness in their receiving.

As this very insightful and well-written poem continues, the reader can see and almost feel the depth of the pain the author is feeling. Corcoran-Schneider’s poem is an example of the fact that not everyone will interpret all poems the same; some may see the pain and anguish in this poem, while others can find happiness and hope within the poem.

Adoptive Parents 

Commonly, adoption poems written for or about adoptive parents and families focus on the happiness of welcoming a child into their home. They may talk about the struggle to conceive, having complications with infertility, or their journey of matching with an expectant parent. 

In this poem titled “Have You Ever Seen a Miracle?” y Sue Saladino, she describes her experience as an adoptive mother in the context of a miracle:

Have you ever seen a miracle,

Beheld one with your eyes,

Seen the magic & the mystery,

The wonder & surprise?

Have you ever touched a miracle,

With your fingertips?

Have you ever kissed a miracle,

Brushed one with your lips?

Have you ever held a miracle,

Gently in your arms?

Knowing that you must protect,

This precious gift from harm?

Have you ever loved a miracle,

Loved right from the start,

Loved with all your being,

Loved with all your heart?

I have done all these things,

I do them every day,

I see miracles grow & learn,

I see them laugh & play.

I’m an ordinary person,

Not special at all, you see.

God gave me not one miracle,

He saw fit to give me three.

For many adoptive parents, welcoming a child into their home can be a miracle—one they may have dreamed of for years. This poem exemplifies how meaningful adoption can be to those who choose this method to expand their family. 

While the first poem talked about the experience of bringing a child into a home, adoptive parents have also written about how thankful they are to birth families. An author named Tabitha wrote the following poem, “Just a Year Ago” as a letter to her child’s birth mother:

Just a year ago

I had no hope

My dreams were shattered

Four lives had taken shape in my womb

And four lives were taken by it.

Just a year ago

I feared that I would never be a Mommy

That no one would ever look at me

With that special love

That comes from trust, acceptance

And complete dependence.

Just a year ago

I railed at God

Over the injustice of a body that betrayed

My innermost longings

That denied me the “simple” gift of life.

Just a year ago

I woke up and gave away that anger

Let Him bear my cross once more

I placed my trust

And gave up a dream

To take hold of another.

Just nine months ago

I would rush home from work each day

Hoping for a phone call, an email

Needing someone to fill

My empty crib, my empty heart

Just nine months ago

I prayed each night

For that one woman who

Would look at me

And instead of a barren woman

See a Mom.

Just nine months ago

I would go through the baby boutiques

Looking at the pinks and blues

Wanting to buy so I could feel like a mother

But holding back because I wasn’t a part of that world.

Just nine months ago

You called and changed my life

You said I was good enough

You gave me your friendship

You gave me your heart

You promised me the angels you carried inside you.

Just four months ago

I was full of anticipation

I was full of fear

Would I be a good enough Mother?

Could they love me?

Would you go away and leave my life?

Just four months ago

I didn’t know what true happiness was

I didn’t know what it was to be so exhausted

I didn’t know what it was like to consider

A dirty diaper a privilege to change

Just four months ago

I had no idea what it was like to LIVE.

But then they were here

And so were you.

To have you stay in my life

Made my joy complete.

I feel selfish for wanting you to stay in our lives

When our lives are so full

But without you there would always be a hole

That only you can fill.

Now

I know what it is to be truly and utterly in love

I know that baby laughter is the sweetest sound God ever created

I know that a baby’s smile can brighten the darkest night

I know, in just a small part, how much God must love me.

I know, for the first time in my life, what it must feel like to have a sister…

And I know that I owe it all to you.

You are the best mother I have ever met.

I love you,

Tabitha

Adoptees 

For adoptees, poetry is often only a glimpse inside their complex soul. While every adoptee views adoption and their journey differently, some may write adoption poems to express grief, confusion, happiness, among many other things. Written as a narrative, Tom Andriola describes how he searches to answer the question: ‘Who am I?’ Throughout the piece, Andriola mentions how abandonment can play a large role in how adoptees develop a sense of self. Because of society’s stigmas that are placed on birth mothers and the use of negative adoption language such as “giving a baby up for adoption,” it can become hard to create an identity that is truly understood and accurate about yourself. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that adoptee poetry can be so deep.  

An example of a poem written from the perspective of an adoptee is titled “The Search” by Scott D. Hughey: 

i fear the truth

will it set

me free

or will the answers

prove harder to face

than the unknown

i hope

but still cringe

at every progress

made, sighing at

each false hope

made known and

why

am

i

afraid?

Take a moment and read this poem out loud. You should be able to feel the rhythm of the poem created by the structure the author wrote it in. The sentences are short for a reason, most likely meant to show the fear and anxiety the author feels about the unknown situation about their birth and adoption. 

Resources

Published works of poetry are also common in the adoption community. Authors from all points in the triad can give a glimpse into their lives and adoption experiences

While there are many resources for adoption poems, Adoption.com has a large selection of adoption poems ranging from topics that include: placing a child, the adoptee experience, being a hopeful parent, living as an adoptive family, being a birth parent or part of a birth family, having a foster family, and more. 

For more information on adoption, regardless of where you are in your journey, consult The Gladney Center for Adoption

Morgan Bailee Boggess

Morgan Bailee Boggess

My name is Morgan Bailee Boggess, and I am originally from Owensboro, KY, (where I was raised) and was adopted from Henderson, KY. I currently live in Lexington, KY, with my fiance, our Yorkie (Heidi), turtle (Sheldon), and a variety of saltwater fish. Beginning in 2016, I sought out and met most of my biological family. At the end of my searching, I discovered that I have, in total, 8 brothers and sisters, 20 nieces and nephews, and one godson. I graduated from Georgetown College in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and am currently working towards getting my master’s in Social Work (MSW) with plans to get my Ph.D. in Clinical Neuropsychology a few years after that. I am a psychometrist and clinical research assistant at Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky. My research focus is looking at how forms of complex trauma (particularly intergenerational) affects the cognition in older adults. In my spare time, I write and read spoken word poetry at events to help benefit local nonprofits. I am also involved with several national diversity organizations and serve on the Board of Directors for Adoptees Connect, Inc.