One Happy Adopted Daughter Speaks Out!

I talk to parents who are imminently waiting to adopt a baby or adults who are themselves adopted. Here is a refreshing interview with my fitness friend, Carolyn.

Adopted domestically through Sacramento, Calif. foster care at age one, Carolyn, now 34, was adopted into a home with a mother, father and an adopted older sister, age 7. Schooled in California, and a happy child, Carolyn has become an animal rescuer and dog trainer. She is also a personal trainer based in Los Angeles. I rarely see her without a huge smile on her face!

Carolyn McGuire, 34, grew up knowing she was adopted because her older sister was adopted and her adoptive parents were truthful and loving if not especially stable. (Carolyn’s adoptive father announced he was gay when Carolyn was only a teen, and the family went through volatile changes as dad came to grips with his sexuality.)

Her adoptive parents also encouraged Carolyn to find her biological family and emotionally supported her journey as she searched.

Sadly, in her late twenties, Carolyn discovered she was too late to meet her real mom: Her biological mother was a schizophrenic who had died of cancer several years before.

Carolyn nonetheless went on to nurture an affectionate relationship with her biological grandma and uncles. And she remains close with her sister.

Carolyn says, “It was hard to know that my biological mother was schizophrenic and died without knowing me. This condition makes me worried for my future children; I wonder if my boyfriend is disinclined to have children with me because of biology?”

Great advice from a beloved adopted daughter

Carolyn says, “Adoption without support from your new family or even your old family is an empty feeling that sets you up for failure. In my case, therapy helped and also my biological family helped me grieve when my adoptive parents died.

“My adoptive father, although he went through great emotional upheavals in his life, was also my lifeline and soul mate. My father claiming me as his daughter irrevocably changed my world,” she says.

Carolyn says, “You don’t have to be biologically tied to someone to have that whole, spiritual connection that helps guide you through life.” She encourages all frustrated parents to keep hope alive.

“As an adopted daughter, I am telling you to hang in there and change a life. She or he is definitely out there waiting, just like I was.”

Thanks Carolyn, for being so honest. If you’d like your adoption story posted here, please write in under Comments. (She’s photographed above with one of her dogs.)

Add a Comment
Back To The Adoption Diaries, by Nicole Dorsey-Straff
  1. by Carrie

    On July 21, 2011 at 11:18 am

    As an adult adoptee who has also gone through search, and had the same result in that my birthmother died before I could meet her, I appreciate Carolyn’s experience. I am also an adoptive parent who will be teaching a workshop at our adoption camp this weekend about using sensitive adoption language. I found the use of “old family” and “new family” uncomfortable. I never thought of my adoptive family as my “old” family, or my birth family as my “new” family, and I wouldn’t want my daughter to think that way either. Thanks so much for an excellent post – anything we can do to support adoption is necessary and good.

  2. by Nicole Dorsey

    On July 21, 2011 at 11:48 am

    That’s interesting old family vs. new family vocabulary… As you can tell, I don’t possess much sensitive language yet. DO you have any interest in providing the top five vocab mistakes we make when it comes to adoption? If you like I’ll post it in the future! Love to hear more about your workshop! I am happy to cross-link as well, thanks!

  3. by Carrie

    On July 21, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    I’d be happy to submit something for you. Just let me get back from camp and I’ll do that. Thanks!

  4. by Nicole Dorsey

    On July 26, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Please tell me your healthyvocabularbasics on adoption when you get the chance. I could make a chart BAd vs good, old vs new, you get the drift … would help!

  5. by Shonna

    On August 6, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I am an adoptive mother and I admit I only read part of this article because once I read ” Carolyn discovered she was too late to meet her real mom” I was completely put off and stopped reading. Her REAL mom is the mother that raised her, loved her, was there for her, and adopted her. I do not get offended easily, but this is something that just infuriates me. My son is my REAL son and I am his REAL mother.

  6. by Karol

    On August 7, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I never formally adopted the two stepsons i raised, but i totally agree with Shonna in the above comment. I am their REAL Mom. I nursed them when they were sick, make sure they had immunization, took them to baseball, soccar, basketball, karate, football practice. Made sure they had proper clothing and things for school,went to teachers conferences, helped with homework, nagged them to clean their rooms, bought them electric guitars and drum sets and allowed them and their friends to play in the bedrooms, listened to their hearbreak when they got dumped, worried when i loaned them my car, grounded them when they stayed out late, scrimped and saved for their college funds and watched with pride as they graduated. They are MY sons! Their bio mother who has seen them maybe 10 times in the past 20 years never even bought them a birthday present.

  7. by Melissa

    On August 14, 2011 at 6:22 am


    I never comment but, your story compels me to thank you so much for making this world a better place by treating your children like a mother should. You really touched my heart. These two little boys are lucky to have you. Not all stempmoms are like you….You are a wonderful woman and Mom!

  8. by mary

    On August 14, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Hi Nicole,

    I am also an adoptee. I read your articles about the adoption diaries, both one and two of the woman who was an abused adoptee later given up then adopting her half-brother, as well as, reading the one titled “One Happy Adopted Daughter Speaks Out”. As an adoptee, myself, I would be interested some how of you contacting me.

  9. by Leslie

    On August 15, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I was adopted at 3 days old. It was a private adoption – it was 1964 and my mother was not Catholic so the area adoption agency, which was run by Catholic Charities, would not help them. My parents were wonderful and I was loved beyond words. People always ask how old I was when dicovered I was adopted. Well, I don’t ever remember NOT knowing I was adopted. They made it sound like they walked into a big room full of babies and said “We want THAT one!” In fact, when I was very young, I thought it was a whole different process. I would ask kids at school if they we “born” or “adopted” My parents have both passed away but a few years before my Mom died she gave me info to start searching for my birth family. I was able to find non-identifying info and learned that I have half siblings. I don’t really know how to go on from here but I will keep trying.

  10. by Bernie

    On August 20, 2011 at 5:27 am

    I agree with Karol and Shonna. I’ve enjoyed reading many of the articles, but was totally put off by the phrase “Real Mom.” I just had this conversation with my son the other day about what makes me his “real” Mom. I know it was not your intent, but it was very insensitive.

  11. by Allison

    On November 2, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Agreeing with those above…”Carolyn discovered she was too late to meet her real mom…”
    Um…her adoptive mom is her REAL mom. She was too late to meet her bio or birth mom.

    Great article – just please watch your wording. Adoptive parents and adopted children are not fake.

  12. by Kristy

    On November 4, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Decent article but I too am offended by the disgusting lack of tact shown by the author. The word real does not belong in adoption period.

  13. by mercatino musicale

    On November 21, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Men and women usually surprise how they’ve already cellulitis. And the majority of time that it is only one thing. His or her’s weight loss diet. In the event folks who suffer from bumpy skin can stop eating poor quality meal most of the cellulite would undoubtedly begin to dissapear. If and when they dined healthy weight loss programs make use of them get started with becoming better furthermore.

  14. by brenda berry

    On December 23, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Were adoptive mothers not so almost universally insecure over their motherhood when it comes to their adoptive children they would not react so violently
    It is, surely, up to people adopted to use the language they feel comfortable with, after all this is supposed to be firstly about them.

  15. by Debbi Stittsworth

    On December 25, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks for the info, very useful