Adoptive Mom Completely Shut Down Person Who Said She Wasn't a 'Real Parent'

May 3rd 2017

Katelyn Harrop

When a mom had her parental identity challenged by someone online, she fought back in defense of adoptive parents everywhere.

Heather Young-Nguyen's response in her now-viral Reddit post defended her role as a parent after a Facebook user claimed that parenthood is solely defined by giving birth to a child.

Courtesy of Heather Young-Nguyen

“I did not give birth to my child. I did not get to feel him growing within me, or hold him against my skin when he was born. Perhaps by your definition, my child is not a part of me,” she wrote in her Reddit post. “Let me tell you what being a parent is to me.”

Young-Nguyen and her wife, Kelly, adopted their son, Ryan, in April, after fostering him for over a year in Florida. She said a person she doesn't personally know made the comment about her not being a "real parent" on a thread posted by a Facebook friend. “She said the only thing that qualifies you as a parent is if you give birth and feel that child growing within you,” Young-Nguyen told ATTN:.

While this is the first time she has personally come across this critique, she said it happens in the adoption community far more often than people may realize.

“People respond to adoption, especially adoption from foster care, where you don’t have the child from infancy… they respond to it in a different way than they do biological parenthood or even adopting as an infant,” Young-Nguyen explained.

Heather Young-Nguyen

"I didn't labor for hours for this child, I labored for YEARS. I waited for years to be told that we had been chosen, that we were finally going to be allowed to be parents,” she wrote.

Nearly 428,000 children currently live in the foster care system on any given day, and in 2015 that number was as high as 670,000 children, according to Children’s Rights. Many birth parents of foster children have legally terminated their parental rights, or may be unable to regain custody of their children for other reasons. In 2015, more than 62,000 children living in the system were waiting for adoptive homes.

Despite the high number of children waiting on adoption, the process can be expensive, time consuming, uncertain, and emotionally difficult.

“I didn't get to wake up in the middle of the night and nurse my sweet child. I did, though, spend many nights lying awake and praying to whomever might be listening to let us be next. Asking myself why we hadn't been chosen yet. Pouring over adoption profiles and sending endless e-mail inquiries on children available for adoption and being told no, no, no over and over again,” she wrote.

Courtesy of Heather Young-Nguyen

Families are extremely diverse in structure and experience, and adopting a foster child, Young-Nguyen told ATTN:, comes with its own set of difficulties and rewards, some of which may not be relatable or apparent from the outside. However, it's this special set of circumstances that makes adoptive parenting so unique.

“When you look at a relationship like mine with Ryan. It may be hard to see where there is a bond, but this is something that we are going through together, and we’re both experiencing these new things together,” Young-Nguyen said. “There are hard days, there are easy days, and then there are terrible days, of course. Because my child comes with a past. He has been let down by everyone in his life until now. So there is a bond there, and we are creating it together.”

Read the mom's full Reddit post below.

Heather Young-Nguyen Reddit post