My parent did not start their family the typical way. My parents were faced with a decision to never have children or to adopt their children, and they chose adoption. I am sure it was not an easy decision to make. My parents had the privilege of adopting four children. Their journey started 42 years ago.
My mother and father were married in 1972. My mom had an identical twin sister, and my mother and father got married the same day as my mom’s twin. After my parents married, they went on to continue education, travel, and buy homes, among other things. After a few years, there knew something was missing in their life: children.
Everyone around my parents was having babies, including my mom’s identical twin. My mom has expressed the pain that this caused, but she continued to have faith that she would get pregnant. After three years of trying to have a baby and countless tests, they received fateful news. They would never have biological children.
I cannot imagine the emotions that come from hearing this sort of news. The reality of it must have been painful. It must have felt as though something dear was taken away from them. I am positive there was grief. The dream and faith that my mother had, that she would get pregnant, was suddenly shattered.
After hearing the news that they could not have their own children, my parents decided that they would adopt. They took the necessary steps to become parents. Then they waited and waited and waited for three years.
On a spring day in 1978, my mom received the call they had been waiting for. The agency they were adopting through had a 6-week-old baby boy. The agency informed my parents that they had my parents’ baby. The agency just knew this baby belonged to my parents. My parents wasted no time and went to pick up my older brother. They told no one in their family about going to get their new baby. Upon their return home, they walked into a relative’s home, my mother cradling the baby. A relative asked, “Whose baby is that?” My mother tearfully responded, “It’s my baby.”
After six years of waiting, my parents finally had the opportunity to become parents. Graceful birth parents broke their own hearts to allow my parents to raise children. After the birth and adoption of my older brother, my parents adopted three other children: two more boys and one girl, me. Each of us have different adoption stories but with the same outcome: a wonderful family.
My parents never hid our adoption from us. In fact, they embraced it. I am often asked when I was told I was adopted. I do not remember. It has always been who I am. Since I could understand language, adoption has been a part of my vocabulary. My parents did not shove adoption in our face, either. It was simply, “You were adopted, and that means you were extra loved.” I was always told how loved I was.
“Your birth mother loved you so much she wanted you to have a mom and a dad from the start.”
“You have extra people who love you.” I always knew that I had a birth family that loved me because my mother and father told me so.
My mother had each of our birth mothers write us a letter. She wanted us to have something so we would know a little bit about our heritage and birth mothers. It is a letter that I have always cherished and held dear to my heart. I have always loved my birth mother, and I owe all that to my mom. Despite any choices that my birth mother made after placement, my mom always instilled in me the love that my birth mother had for me.
If I tell people I am adopted before they meet my family, they never think I look like my family. If I tell people I am adopted after they meet my family, they tell me I look exactly like my family. It really doesn’t matter; they are my family. Although we initially did not have the “same” blood, they are my blood now. Our connection is just a strong as someone who gave birth. Adoption connects people through love, and love is one of the strongest emotions known to man. As my dad likes to say, “if you don’t have family, you don’t have anything.”