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Adopting my daughter as a single mother

My name is Cindy. I grew up in a large family and knew that I wanted to have children at some point. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was in my early 20s, and my doctors informed me that it would likely be difficult to become pregnant. Eventually I had to have a hysterectomy and face the fact that I would likely never have kids. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I also wouldn’t meet a man I wanted to share my life with. But as my birthdays flew by, and as my friends all started getting married and having kids, I found myself without a uterus, without a partner, and with a growing desire to become a mother.

So I did some research on adoption as a single mom and joined an online support group of single people who wanted to have kids. It became apparent fairly quickly that as a single woman, international adoption was likely my best shot for adopting a child. So I started working through an agency that specializes in international adoption. I went through the home study and completed all of my paperwork. I decided to keep my options open and applied for adoption in a few different countries that were currently open to placing kids with single parents. My path to motherhood through adoption wasn’t a smooth one. Just when I thought that I was close to being placed with a child from China, the country closed its doors to single mothers. I was devastated, but refocused on my other options. Adoptions from other countries like Guatemala and Vietnam were restricted soon afterwards. During this time, the other hopeful parents in my online support group were my refuge – I chatted with other hopeful single moms and dads who were trying to navigate the adoption process like I was, and shed tears of sadness and joy as they shared their ongoing stories. The months dragged on and turned into years.

Then, just when I was starting to lose hope, I received the call that would change my life forever – there was a newborn baby girl waiting for me in Ethiopia! Soon after I arranged all of my travel details, I was on a plane to go and pick up my daughter. On the plane ride over, I clutched my daughter’s picture, and decided that I would call her Zara Grace after my grandmother. Within 48 hours of landing in Addis Ababa, someone from the agency took me to the orphanage to meet my daughter. Holding Zara in my arms for the first time is a moment I’ll never forget. Looking down into her sweet face, I wept tears of joy and relief. I knew immediately that the emotional toll of the last 4 years was worth it.

Being a single mom hasn’t been easy. But I’m lucky to have a very supportive family and good friends who are thrilled that I’ve finally been able to become a mom. I’m often sleep-deprived, and running behind schedule, but I couldn’t be happier. Despite the challenges, I’m incredibly thankful for the other adoptive single mothers I’ve met along the way, and most importantly, for the sweet baby girl who is now my daughter.

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