5 Struggles Of A Kinship Adoption

What is a kinship adoption?

A kinship adoption is an adoption of a child by an extended family member. An example would be a child’s Grandma, Grandpa or maybe an Aunt, or Uncle.

If a kinship adoption is occurring the circumstances are not typically ideal and can be very heartbreaking for many people involved.

Substance abuse is a prime example of why a kinship adoption may occur.

The great thing about a kinship adoption is the child or children remain within their family who they are usually already familiar with. Which can help with a smoother transition for the child or even other family members.

In many cases it is preferred that a child that needs to be adopted remains within family but sometimes it just cannot be done. And that’s ok. Each adoption case has a story and is different.

Having had guardianship over my niece now for over two years and legally adopting her with my husband I would like to share the struggles of a kinship adoption and maintaining an open relationship with the birth mother.

(It is entirely up to you if decide to keep an open relationship with the birth parent or parents. It’s difficult because the birth parent or parents are related to you in some way and your relationship is now impacted and will no longer be the same going forward.)

I am sharing these struggles for other people that may be in the process of adopting a family member or having to make the decision of taking a child in and gaining an idea of what to expect if you accept this responsibility.

What matters is doing the absolute best for the child.

I am sharing these struggles so YOU reading this have an idea on what to expect when adopting a child and maintaining an open relationship. I hope this will allow you prepare in some way and to go into this process aware and confident.

5 Struggles Of A Kinship Adoption

1. The Whole Family is Affected

When you take in a child within the family the whole family is affected. If the child has other siblings it can be even more of a challenge because they may not know the whole situation. Family members are hurt, upset, concerned and it takes a toll on everyone. The family members that are very affected are the ones taking the child in. It can create hardships within your own family and significant other. It can be even more difficult adapting when you have children of your own for many different reasons.

2. It’s Drama And A Whole Lot Of Emotion

The relationship with the birth parent or parents becomes very unstable. The relationship will be different and emotions will constantly be high. The birth parent or parents are more comfortable saying how they are feeling or saying very inappropriate things because they can “get away with it” because you are indeed kin. Hurtful actions and words will take place and you can’t take what is being said or done personal. Easier said then done.

3. Developing Boundaries And Ensuring EVERYONE Is On the Same Page

A birth parent or parents may have lost custody but they will expect to still be able to see their child whenever they want. They also may expect to still have a say in the raising of the child.

The child is no longer in their care. This is where you need to establish boundaries. The child was taken away for a reason and when the boundaries are set it is very important that the rest of the family respect your wishes. This is the struggle. Not everyone will be on the same page with your boundaries. You may be blind sided at times and will have to constantly remind other family members what is and what is not okay when it comes to the birth parent or parents.

4. Doing What Is Best For The Child

Other family members will share their input and it’s hard to separate those feelings and what’s really best for your child. You will want to accomadate to what they want or you will try to make everyone else happy. It’s easy to lose track of what’s best for the child because now relationships with other family members are interfering and you don’t want to upset or hurt anyone. It’s very difficult and it becomes very upsetting when other family members are upset with you when you are just trying to do what’s best for your child. They will have a difficult time seeing things from your side and perspective.

5. Not Receiving Empathy/Lack Of Support

Some family members will not take the time to really notice the struggles that you are facing or even take the time to understand how hard this has all been. Especially when it happens out of the complete blue. This is why it feels like you are going through this alone at times.

People have a hard time understanding that you made THE CHOICE to take the child and other family members will take advantage of the situation not truly realizing what your position truly entails. Especially as you move forward and as the child gets older. If you decide this or that, a family member may lash out at you because they don’t agree with a decision that you made. When really, you should be supported whether they like it or not.

The birth parent is asked about, the child is asked about, but often you won’t be asked how this is all affecting you.

With writing this my goal is to share common struggles you may face when handling an open kinship adoption and to ensure you that you are not alone.

It’s hard. I know it is.

But I also know the many amazing things that come out of a kinship adoption. Before we took in my now daughter I remember googling the pros and cons of taking in a family member because I wanted to know what to expect. I knew taking her in would be hard and would open plenty of cans of worms but I also knew it was the right thing to do.

You are doing the right thing and that child you may have now is very fortunate to be with you. YOU, are their parent. Despite the struggles you are facing and will face there is no better place they could be.

To the person or persons taking in a Child within the family:

What you are doing is brave and takes courage. I want you to know you are doing the right thing even if you feel confused and stressed right now. Taking a child without any time to prepare is extremely challenging and many others don’t know the hardship of it all.

You are not alone in how you feel, you are not alone in this process, and you are not alone with your decisions.

There will be challenges and there will be tears, however, there are many rainbows within these storms I can assure you.

Sometimes Your Child Just Needs To Hear You Say, “I’m Sorry.”

Parenting is hard. 

As you have probably heard before parenting does not come with a manual guide, nor will it ever come with a guide because every single parent does parenting differently. There would be no way to accommodate to the variety of parenting styles if a guide even did exist.

I have 2 almost three year old’s and expecting another baby in a few months and I still do not have it figured out. Truth be told, I don’t believe I ever will. However, that does not bother me because I can appreciate that parenting is a journey full of never ending lessons. Some harder then others. I hear teenage years are the hardest. 

Before I became a parent I will admit I imagined it being nothing but easy and well, fun. Full of cute and happy moments. I never once thought about the struggles that come along with welcoming a child into your life.

I just thought about how I would be the ‘best mommy ever’. I am definitely not the best mommy ever FYI

I could not wait to be a mother. It was definitely a dream of mine and a calling I felt an eagerness to fulfill at a very young age. I had my first baby at 26, and I finally felt like this prayer of mine was answered.

When I became a parent, it was better then I ever imagined it to be. It was also way harder then I ever thought. I’m talking way harder. I think the way harder really set in when my husband and I received a second baby by surprise. We were completely caught off guard.

(we received our second baby when our first was 10 months old, to read about that story you can search ‘A Blessing In Disguise’)

Noticing A Blessing In Disguise

When you become a parent, you see things differently. You don’t just see things differently but you have a completely different awareness and understanding.

You look at your parents differently…….in good and bad lighting. Your friends who have had kids for a couple of years now? You feel sorry, because you just didn’t know what they were going through. You can even connect now with strangers almost everywhere you go that are holding a little hand.

You empathize with parents because you know it’s the most amazing and yet hardest privilege.

As a parent you want to do your best for your child. But it’s hard. There are many days where you feel like a complete failure. You also blame yourself for a lot of things that are really out of your control.

We never want to hurt them.

But truth be told, we are going to leave emotional scars on our children.

Now, that’s a real tough pill to swallow especially because we are continuously trying to be the best that we can be.

We do our best to give what we didn’t receive. To be, what are parents were not. To do, what are parent’s didn’t do. As well as, try not to do, what are parents did.

We do our best. But what we think is best, is not always the best and can impact our child in ways we can’t even imagine. Which is a little frightening when you really sit and think about it.

It’s a lot of pressure! We are shaping a life or lives! And one can only hope and pray that the wounds we cause aren’t too severe.

I don’t know what type of scar I am going to leave but I know I will leave one. It may be something I say, something I do, something I choose, something I don’t do…..who knows. But there will be a time, when my child will feel let down by me.

My child is never going to forget it. And neither will yours.

And you may never know what emotional scar you left unless your child has the courage to tell you.

Just about everyone suffers from some type of ‘childhood trauma’. From mild trauma to severe.

You had a parent that always put you down, you had a parent that you felt betrayed you in some way, you had a parent that hit you, you had a parent that suffered from substance abuse, you had a parent that was never honest, you had a parent that was never there, you had a parent that favored your other siblings, you had a parent that didn’t choose you, you had a parent that didn’t believe you, your parent had a temper, your parent embarrassed you, etc……

We all have something that is THERE.

Something that left us confused, upset, concerned, worried, scared, alone, numb…something.

I can tell you, causing you pain was never their intention. Maybe there were other things going on in their life, maybe they were afraid, maybe they thought they were doing a good thing for you…..you know, you just don’t know what was going on in their head at the time. OR…..you don’t really know the results of their ‘childhood trauma’ and how it impacted and shaped their behaviors. Who knows….

(note: If your child is grown, you’re right, you can’t change the past. But you can tell them sorry. That will provide more relief then you know.)

When I look at my daughters I can only pray the scars I leave aren’t too severe. And I hope they will be comfortable enough to tell me when I have hurt their feelings or possibly done something they wish I hadn’t.

I think to myself…..what am I going to do, one day, where I am going to let you down. Even Nemo in the Kids movie ‘Finding Nemo’ said I hate you to his dad, do you remember?

My heart breaks knowing that I won’t be a perfect mom where they will grow up and say their childhood was perfect. It’s unrealistic. That’s not going to happen. I will make mistakes. I know I will, because I already do make mistakes, feel guilt, and have regrets.

It’s something inevitable, it’s going to happen.

Can you think of anything that your parent said to you or did that you have never forgot? Whether it’s big or small you remember exactly how it made you feel. 

I have 3 things I will say to my children often that I hope will always bind us together and strengthen our relationships as years come and go.

I hope by saying these things often my children will have peace of mind and not be severely impacted and haunted for years to come by my actions or words that I have no idea will influence my child in the future.

They are below.


I want to make sure I am saying this as much as possible to each child of mine. I hope my child never questions how much love I have for them. It’s not enough to just say it, but telling them why I love them. Expressing to them the joy they bring into my life. Sharing lessons they have taught me. WE know we love our children, but sometimes they don’t hear it enough or feel it enough. They need to hear it and feel it.


I don’t want to just say those words after they accomplish something like a good grade on a test or a tournament won. I want to say these words just because. I don’t want my children to think they always have to impress me or accomplish something grand to hear these words. I will be proud of them everyday and I want them to know how proud I am to be their Mother.


This is a huge one. Being a parent, it’s hard to admit our faults. Especially, to our children. We don’t want to admit that we made a mistake or take ownership for something that we have done, because honestly…..sometimes we think we are in the right. WE think we are, but from a child’s perspective it’s completely different.

A child isn’t expecting an apology from their parent, but sometimes they need to hear it to move forward and let that burden go. I plan on saying sorry often. Sorry if I hurt their feelings, sorry if I couldn’t make their soccer game, sorry for saying NO, sorry for not being cool enough, just sorry. I will always be sorry any time I have upset them but I hope one day they will realize why I did the things I did, why I didn’t do the things they wanted and why I am who I am. I know there will be times that they need to hear this from me, and my hope is they can always forgive me

I know I will never be the best, but I will never give up trying to be the best that I can be.

Parenting is hard…..but it’s also the best gift in the world. A true gift from God and a blessing.

mother and daughter on grass
Photo by Daria Obymaha on Pexels.com


Thank you for reading! 🙂



“Primero Dios – GOD First” Find Yourself Through Your Roots


TijuanaTijuana, Mexico

“The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are. The second greatest is being happy with what you find.” – unknown

Have you ever felt lost in life. Or possibly unsure of your journey, maybe you feel like your life is in a standstill and you don’t know what to do.

Maybe you feel like there is a part of you that is empty and eager to be fulfilled. We all experience that feeling once in awhile, and for different reasons. We all have a story.

I do believe discovering your roots is a huge step into finding yourself again. Being adopted is what lead me down my path. This is my journey.

Being Adopted made me feel lost, has anything ever made you feel lost?

Do you know anyone that is adopted? Maybe you have a sister or brother that is adopted or maybe even a best friend. Have you ever talked to them about how they are feeling? How being adopted has impacted them….how it has shaped them into who they are. Have they expressed an eager want to meet their biological family to you?

They have possibly accepted that there’s a good chance they will never meet any biological family. If they’ve accepted that, you probably have to. I want to encourage anyone adopted or know anyone in search of family members to take advantage of our technology. Ancestry lead me to mine without even trying.

(My name is Marie. This is actually a selfie I took right before we left to meet my family for the first time. It was my birthday and I was so nervous! I posted this on my Instagram and no one really knew I was doing this except family and a few close friends.)


I’m adopted. I was adopted when I was just infant. I have no memory of the process nor do I remember ever being told I was adopted. I just always knew. My birth mom was not in the best mental state, and my birth father was not a US Citizen. Having just adopted my daughter I can understand and empathize the struggles and toll it takes on everyone through the process. I actually feel very thankful that I was able to experience the process of adopting before actually meeting my bio family.

Life is full of different perspectives. It helps to take a step back, reevaluate your life and ask yourself what is it that you want…

“Perspective is the way we see things when we look at them from a certain distance and it allows us to appreciate their true value.” – Rafael E. Pino

(We officially adopted this little doll 2 months prior to meeting my family! This all couldn’t have happened at a more perfect time! The way she came into our lives permanently is whole different story! Ill save that for another time 😉 . I will say though, she has brought so much joy and happiness into our family. She is a total blessing and I thank God for her. )    


Don’t Judge Another Persons Journey -we are all on our own path. Be patient with yours. You may not know what you’re looking for but just start searching.

Please do not feel sorry for me or anyone else that is adopted. Adoption is an amazing thing. Who in the world knows where I would be right now if God didn’t choose this path for me. I am incredibly thankful. But that is a huge reason those that are adopted don’t go off shouting or sharing, “Hey, I’m adopted.” A typical response we get is, “I’m sorry.” Which, I can imagine makes some people feel bad because they are thinking….wow,  I cant imagine not knowing who my mom, dad or siblings are. I understand that. But don’t tell an adoptee “I’m sorry.” It makes us feel bad, and afterwhile you keep it to yourself because you’re tired of hearing that. You also get tired of answering questions you really don’t know the answers to….but deep down inside you wish you did know. If you know anyone adopted or adopting get excited for them! Adoption itself it pretty remarkable journey.

Alright, that’s a little backround for you. Now, I will share how this all came to be.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

Being adopted and not knowing an bio family lead me to wonder a lot about my ethnicity. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have been asked, “What nationality are you?” Many times my reply was “mostly Mexican.” Because well, that’s all I knew and was told. And then, I would be told countless times, “Really, I see middle eastern in you.” Or, I would get asked, “are you middle eastern?” and I would just start saying, “Yes…yes I am.” (hahah) and they would say, “I knew it!” (hahah who knows! At that time I didn’t know!) It became rather funny just making up ethnicities for myself. My friends that knew my life had fun with it too. This all lead me to ask myself then, what the heck am I?! I was told numerous times by my family, “you’re full Mexican” and I would argue saying that I had to be something else because everyone thinks I’m something else. I was convinced and I was just curious. Once I gave birth to my daughter I had to know more about my DNA and background. Not just for myself, but for my daughter and any other possible children I might have in the future.

(My first born. My little answered prayer. Being adopted and never knowing any biological family is what made me actually want to be a Mom so bad. I wanted someone that was apart of me if that makes sense.

To be a Mother became a dream of mine when I was very young and I always feared and asked what if I can’t have children. I’ll never know what that connection feels like….it scared me. You can imagine the emotions I felt holding this little baby that actually shared my DNA. I can’t express how much love and joy this little girl gave me when she was born.)


You have to learn how to control your thoughts and not let your worries and regrets consume you. 

For 27 years, I never knew what my ethnicity was, and then, because of ancestry my answer was just a click away. My results read; Native American, Italian, Greek, Iberian……and less then 3% Middle Eastern. Go figure. This was a huge and very exciting thing for me!! I can’t really describe the joy of finding out this information.

Now if you are unfamiliar with the way Ancestry works. Here it is in a nutshell. You order kit, you receive kit, you spit in a tube, you mail it, and then receive results via email in about a month. I currently have access to my detailed DNA and I can see if I have any DNA matches with family members.

Its amazing, I definitely recommend this service even if you are not adopted. Keep in mind, I didn’t do ancestry to find family. I did it to answer a prolonged question that had been nagging me for years. When I received my results the only DNA matches I had at that time were 3rd cousins and below. I did reach out to one of them but we couldn’t nail it down to exactly how we were related. Still in contact with him today via social media.

“Remember and honor family who come and gone before you, because they had a hand in shaping who you are.” – unknown 

(A small preview of my DNA results via Ancestry)

dna results

Sometimes what you’re looking for in life comes when you’re not looking at all. The unexpected is what changes our lives.

Fast forward about a year and half. I receive an email from Ancestry out of the blue in June of this year. The last time I had visited the Ancestry web was a few months prior. The message read, “Hola Marie! Me sorprendi al obtener mis resultados y ver somos primas en primer grado.”

I don’t know spanish very well, so when I  first read that my response was, “que?” haha! Jk…kinda of.

In other words, this translates to, “Hi Marie! I was surprised to get my results and see that we are first cousins.”

I of course messaged her back explaining that I was adopted and didn’t know much about my biological family, just my biological parents name. I provided the name of my bio dad and you know what her response was….”OMG, that is my Mom’s brother!” Crazy right! Strait out of Telenovela! *Where are my Jane the Virgin fans at!*

“Marie’s life now was the stuff of Telenovelas.” -Narrator 



MI PRIMA! (MY COUSIN! The one that set this all up! AND our first selfie. )

She proceeded to answer any questions I had and let me know how huge our family was. It was incredible. We exchanged numbers and just began texting. It was overwhelming and emotional for both us in different ways. By the end of that day, my whole family knew of me and my cousin finding me via ancestry. Which BTW was completely by accident! She joined ancestry for a whole different reason! She basically demanded that we need to visit and that everyone wanted to meet me. Especially those family members that actually knew about me since the day I was born. The only thing was almost all of my family resided in Tijuana, Mexico. A complete foreign place to me. I was being asked to bring my husband and daughters to a part of Mexico I’ve never been…. with people that I have never met. I was very hesitant as you can imagine.

After many texts exchanges we agreed on a date and time to travel to see everyone. We would meet in San Diego and then go from there.

“Have faith in your journey. Everything had to happen exactly as it did to get you where you’re going next!” -Mandy Hale

(I had butterflies the whole time driving to California from Arizona)


I kept thinking to myself is this real life, is this really happening? Am I really going to go through with this? Something that I thought would never happen or even planned on happening was HAPPENING!

I let my family and closest friends know my plans and I could tell they were thinking this whole ordeal was a little crazy. Probably thinking, this is dangerous. Yes, they are my family, but at this point they were still strangers as well. I was definitely reminded that countless times by close people in my life.

My husband surprisingly was never worried.  I began to think all these what ifs…..and it really freaked me out. I became scared and untrusting, thinking of all these different scenarios. I actually reached out to my cousin and allowing her to know that I was nervous and scared. Her response to my fear was so genuine and so assuring I knew I had to go through with this. I told my fear to shut the eff up!

“Go find yourself first, so you can find me.” -Rumi

Long story short…WE DID IT! We ended up traveling to San Diego and agreed to meeting at a fun little Italian Restaurant before traveling to Mexico together the following day. I ate way to much bread with oil and vinegar. Remember I mentioned it was my birthday too! Talk about an amazing birthday present! I got to meet my family! We hit it off instantly! Thank God my husband nor myself said the word, “biscuit.” That was our code word in case we had to make a run for it. Come on now, of course we thought about them kidnapping us.

(Waiting in front of Buca di Beppo to meet my cousin for the first time! Excited!)


The interaction was so great we decided to go through with staying the night with them! Close your mouth, its not that crazy, is it?! Her family is amazing! Now I am just reminiscing how great of an experience this was and so thankful I trusted God for this gift of meeting my family. I know this was a gift. I just do.

The best things in life are on the other side of terror.

The following morning we all piled into an SUV and traveled to VIVA LA MEXICO! Oh my gosh it was amazing!! We were scheduled to meet the whole family at 1pm for a gathering. Beforehand we ate some delicious food, they showed us around the city, and we took some fun pictures. One being on a donkey painted like a Zebra. Check it out!

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” – Mother Theresa

BREAKFAST! Mmmm……que rico!


Yummy Treats


Talk about awesome architecture! I swear, sometimes I look at things and I’m like, “Man made that….”. My husbands typically laughs at me. 



Look at this beautiful church. Its an open church, there was actually a funeral going on when we walked by. Anyone can go in during any ceremony. Whatever service you have done at this Catholic Church is welcomed to anyone. 


I really enjoyed the markets while visiting! Very authentic and captivating.




A Downtown Mall…very cool and original. It was almost like a maze. 








Crickets anyone? I’m not kidding, the ones on the left are crickets! No gracias!


OH HEY! It’s the DONKEY I mentioned! Hey Ruben!


In finding yourself you will have moments you can’t put into words.

The afternoon came closer and we began to make our way to my Uncles house. Butterflies began to swarm in my belly. I was about to meet a group of Uncles, Aunts, and Cousins. I was about to meet the people I always wondered about. I was about to have a dream become a reality, and my husband and daughters got to share this amazing moment with me.

This was so special to me I’m getting choked up just writing this. I felt alone so many times not knowing these people, curious as to the characteristics that run in the family, facial features that I picked up, and inherited traits that I may have acquired. This moment was very surreal.

Some of my Cousins! (Primas)


We had gorditas for lunch. These were being made while we sat around a table just laughing and crying! Like I said before, this was very emotional for all of us. The food was SOOOOOO GOOD! I’m craving some now!


Everything you will come to you at the right moment, be patient and always be grateful.

Many smiles, many hugs, many laughs, plenty of happy tears and plenty of food happened that afternoon. My face even got pushed into a cake! But I’m not sharing that picture! The love that was surrounding all of us that day is indescribable. This moment I shared, was something I will treasure forever and I already cant wait to plan our next trip and see my family! Hope you all enjoyed getting to know me a little better.

Special thanks to  for its amazing service and countless opportunities. Thanks to my cousin and her family for arranging this gathering and taking a leap of faith to allow us into their lives. Huge thanks to my family and friends that supported this adventure and kept us in their prayers. And one more huge thank you to my family in Tijuana that welcomed us with loving arms and took such great care of us! Love you all!

SOME OF YOU might be asking wait….did she meet her birth dad or does she know anything about her birth mom? Does she have other siblings out there too?

I guess you’ll have to wait and see.

Embrace the Journey, Embrace Change, Embrace life. Go Find Yourself. Know Your Roots.

Share this story, comment, or ask me any questions!

Thank you for taking your time to read some of my journey! As my family says,

“Primero Dios!” If God wants it to happen, it will happen.