Adopted Children Stories
I’ve always been adopted. In my mind, there was never any issue with it. I’ve never had issues discussing it, never felt like it was something that separated me from anyone else. As far back as I can remember, a book titled The Day We Got You was on my nightstand, and occasionally, my parents and I would read it before bedtime. Then they’d tell me the story of how they got the call and were so incredibly happy to find out they had a baby! It was the day before my father’s birthday, and he’d tell me how exhausted they were from staying up all night with me, but how I was still the best birthday present he could have asked for.
I vividly remember jumping rope with a friend in my driveway one day when we were probably eight years old. Somehow, in the midst of a jump-roping session, I told her I was adopted. She said, “no, you’re not.” And I said, “yes, I am! Go ask my parents.” And so she did. She could not believe it. Adoption still has a reputation of being international or through foster care. People don’t think I am adopted because I am so much like my parents. I do look remarkably like my father and everyone in his family. The only time my adoption ever comes up is for things like medical history or genetics. People ask questions like “do you get your eyes from your mother or father?” expecting a simple answer. I still haven’t found a tactful way to respond in situations like that, and usually end up clamming up or spluttering something about adoption.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve started to think more about my adoption differently. One year, when I was probably 16 or 17, around the time of my birthday, I had a realization. It suddenly occurred to me that my birth mother probably still exists, she probably still thinks about me; it’s not like I’m dead to her. I realized that she didn’t just give me up because she couldn’t provide for me, but also because she loved me and knew that I would be able to have a better life elsewhere with my parents. Now, I end up thinking about her a lot more, especially when it gets closer to my birthday.
This summer, I’ve decided to look at the adoption process from a different perspective. I’ve been working three days a week as an intern at Adoptions With Love – the very same agency my parents adopted me through twenty years ago. It’s been a real pleasure getting to know Amy, Nancy (who was my parents’ social worker!), Karen, Meghen and Deborah. I’ve also had such a valuable learning experience here, and have gotten to see what’s on the other side and behind the scenes of the adoption process. We joke that there is certainly no stork that delivers babies, but more an insanely large amount of paperwork and phone calls to get these placements done. I’ve gotten to hear stories of joy and horror; women who cannot afford to purchase maternity clothes, let alone get to a doctor; and families who have been waiting for so long and finally get the call that there is a child waiting for loving parents. Just today, I saw the child from the first placement I was around for. It was so rewarding, because the last time I had seen the adoptive parents, they were getting ready to get on a plane to Illinois, and here they were with the most adorable little baby in their arms.
Another great thing is being able to talk with my parents about their experiences adopting 20 years ago and how the process has changed since then. One of the biggest differences is that back when my parents adopted, birth mothers actually came to live with adoptive families after a child was placed with the family. After I was born, my parents had two birth mothers living in our house, and my mother even took one of them to the hospital when she was in labor and was in the delivery room when her baby was born. Also, now, Adoptions With Love fosters the relationship between the birth mother and the adoptive parents by providing a letter and photograph exchanging system. This is fun for us – we love seeing all of the babies – but many of our birth mothers really appreciate seeing their child grow in their new home. For the adoptive couple, we work hard to obtain family medical histories from both the birthmother and birth father – something that I only wish had been done 20 years ago!
This is surely one of the most interesting and rewarding experiences I have ever had at a job. I can see little bits of my parents in every joyful adoptive couple I see. Working at Adoptions With Love is a wonderful experience and has brought me one step closer to finding my own birth mother. I know that it is something I will do, eventually, when I feel the time is right. After all, she is part of the reason I’ve had the opportunities I’ve had, and she deserves thanks! I also want to thank everyone that I’ve had the opportunity to work with this summer for giving me an experience I won’t forget and will impact the rest of my life.