When adoptive mother Whitney Smith began the adoption process, she was surprised to find that the experience was different from what she had expected.
Smith joined HuffPost Live to discuss her journey, during which she welcomed two kids from foster care into her family.
"It is one of the most amazing journeys of my life, but it's also incredibly hard," she told host Nancy Redd.
Three years after she adopted, Smith said that the preconceived notions she had about the process were all wrong.
"I thought I would love these children instantly as much as I love my birth child, and I did not. I've had to grow to love them in a way that's very different from [how] I would love my children," Smith said. "I spent a lot of time feeling like a complete failure as a mother, and also I spent a lot of time beating myself up because I felt very alone with those feelings."
She said she has since had some "very frank conversations" with other adoptive mothers, who assured her that her mixed feelings were totally normal.
"And that was when I started my blog, because I realized nobody told me the truth," she said. "[I'd only seen] the very sterile, academic adoption books. I didn't get a lot of the truth."
Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about adoptive parents with Barbara Freedgood, LCSW below:
Also on HuffPost: