Adoption Awareness Month was the month of November and it did just that… made me entirely more aware of the total three sided adoption triad. I was privileged to read stories from birth mothers sharing their views on their choice to place and all their emotions both immediately following and months even years passed placement. I watched videos made by adoptee’s regarding their personal views of their adoptions. I was blessed to watch friends become parents through adoption for the first time after years of struggling. To see all the different angles of adoption, vulnerability with the aftermath of choices that were made, and to feel the warm and even the hurt was truly inspiring. Through all these vulnerable stories shared, I was filled with overwhelming emotions. The most surprising emotions came from the adoptee aspect. See, I have occupied one side of the adoption triad for 32 years as an adoptee since birth. I have never really put much thought into my adoption except for the common questions about my biological parents and personal demographics and ethnicity. Not because I wasn’t heavily impacted but probably because I never knew any different.
My parents (yes, my adoptive ones) struggled with conceiving naturally after many years of trying due to endometriosis. My sister was also adopted at birth and we have never really known differently. It has been our story from the beginning; a conversation always open to have. Questions were (and still are) encouraged and welcomed. Biological information was limited as both of our adoptions were private and closed but I always knew that when the time came I was motivated to reach out and seek further details.
Adoption, to me, goes beyond where I came from but who I allow myself to become. Adoption does not define me but my experiences and outlook does. Throughout the years, my placement has helped me find my own identity; who I really am outside the label of an “adoptee”; outside my ethnicity; outside of my roots. Identity doesn’t only mean your ethnicity or race or what you were born with or without. It means you find where you belong. You can develop your own character filled with your own opinions, beliefs, likes and dislikes. Discovering what makes you unique and distinct can truly make you shine and excel as your life unfolds.
I remember reading in a Facebook group coming from an adoptee saying her adoption took things away from her. Made her invisible; unknown. I wanted to reach through the screen and hug this person. To have such a weight, such a burden, seems heavy and dark. I was asked in a different forum about “being an adoptee” and if I felt lost or disconnected; if I held blame to my biological parent for making their choice of placement. I was proud to really dissect these questions because I knew that I didn’t come from a place of isolation or even sadness. I will always be proud of my birth mom but it wasn’t until recently that I attempted to see through the eyes of a birth mom. Turning my gratitude into thoughts of courage and bravery.
Growing up an adoptee I have been able to find my own peace and comfort with the adoption. I ask questions and equally so do my parents. We lean and learn about each other and our individual needs. Never before did I see the the worry of bonding until I became an adoptive mom. The phrases my parents feared we’d speak, scare me to death envisioning it can be toward myself. As a family, we light heartedly dream together about what my biological parents look like and what they enjoy in life based on certain attributes I possess. My parents have never given me glorified stories about my placement. It’s been real, raw detail and emotion. Since the adoption has been a developmentally appropriate, ongoing, open conversation in my family, I have found comfort and even joy. I am proud to be an adoptee. I am proud to be an adoptive parent. No doubt have I had negative emotions regarding my placement or where I come from, but I was taught that I am ultimately responsible for my own happiness, no matter where I come from. And that, that brings me peace and comfort.
Now, as an adoptive mom as well as an adoptee, I am privileged to explore the depth of my adoption and how it can and will impact the way I raise Brooklyn. I have a unique bond with her that I do not posses with Beckett, but isn’t that the case in any household with multiple family members? No two relationships are alike especially when it involves parents and children.
As I sit back, feel, ponder, type and delete repeatedly trying to jot down everything going on in my brain, I clearly see that the way I raise Brooklyn won’t be much different as I raise my biological son. I am empowered to carry on the open conversation concept of adoption as an adoptee within my family as I raise my children to the best of my ability. That is what I promised both of them as they entered this world.
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