I am Cindy. I was adopted, have journeyed through my adoptive story, searched and found my biological mother, and discovered that I am special– not because I was once hers, not because I became my adoptive parents’ daughter, but because I was made, right from the get-go, to be so! I know you are, too. I hope to convince you of that here as I share my own story of adoption, search, and rescue.

“Her daddy’s a doctor and she’s adopted!”

My second-grade girlfriend slanted her eyes towards me, cupping her hand around the ear of another friend, viciously “whispering” my non-secrets just loud enough for me to hear. For the first time in my precious life, I felt different.

Not good different; my adoptive parents had always emphasized that I was special because I was different. I had been chosen. That my differences from other children made me somehow more special. And yet now here I was, feeling like a leper. Bad different.

The thought had never before crossed my mind that being adopted was taboo. I pretended not to hear.

But I had heard. The words she had whispered rocked my safe little world.

Being adopted never mattered to me before then, but overnight it meant everything. I questioned what I’d been taught by my parents and wondered why they hadn’t more adequately prepared me for the harshness of the world — a world that, in general, didn’t understand the beauty of adoption and instead only saw that my being adopted made me less of a person. The feelings that bubbled up after that experience–and in many experiences that would soon come– were difficult for me to deal with. Ultimately I had to overcome the belief that those whispered words and judgmental glares had instilled in me: that I was less.

Many adoptees suffer from an emotional ‘root of rejection’- a dangerous root causing us to readily believe we are reject-able, drawing us dangerously inward and downward, with strong feelings of isolation.

As we accept the truth that we are special – not because we are adopted, but simply because we are, we will begin to see and appreciate the beauty of the gift of adoption without tying our sense of self-worth to it.

As an adult, I sometimes consider what I would have said to that girl in second grade if I were given the chance again, with the knowledge that I have now. I like to think that I would have smiled, taken a deep breath and told my story – a story just as and no more beautiful than her own. I would have told her that I am special, not because I’m adopted, but because I am.