When I was a little international adoptee, my parents would take the family traveling and camping through Europe. My dad refurbished an old VW van that he purchased in the United Kingdom. He and my mother would pack it up and off we’d go exploring!
Everywhere we went, it seemed I’d be claimed by the locals there. In Italy, folks would say, “Surely, she’s Italian.” The Greeks would add, “She’s one of us!” I was a European girl growing up in an American family. There’s both bitter and sweet in that statement.
As an adult adoptee, coming back to Europe always makes me smile. I feel at home here. I feel home. International adoption took me far away from my biological roots. And, on the other side, it brought me closer to understanding a deeper meaning of love, of inclusion, and of family. Both sides of the adoption experience have helped to mold me into the person I am today. I’m so grateful to be at a point in my life where I can find value in the two: in the biology and the biography of me.
This wasn’t always the case. There was a time when I felt I had to shut down the memory of one side of my history, in order to be true to the other. I lived only half of my story, and that’s not really living. Adoptees should be given the gift of embracing a fuller story. This is not the first time I’ve made that statement. As I sit here in Greece and watch the blue water gently roll by, I feel deeply inclined to say—again—that adoptees need to be allowed to live their fullest story.
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