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What Adoption Has Taught Me

This is the very first time I’ve publicly acknowledged that I was adopted, other than to family or friends. Don’t get me wrong, it’s only because I don’t really notice and those who know me don’t notice either. It’s never been a big deal for the important people in my life and that’s great. For this article I will be referring to my birth family, as of course, “birth family,” and my adoptive family as “family,” because that’s what they are, blood relatives or not.

This was the first day I met my family. I threw that banana peel at my mom's face and she said that was what won her over.

Adoption day! It's a little blurry, but I'm laughing, not crying in this picture. AND that's a brand new baby doll I scored there.

I was adopted at the age of 3. Before, I was living in between my birth grandma and my birth aunts, who were doing a fantastic job. But, my birth grandma was getting older and I was too wild for her to handle on her own. Plus, my birth aunts each had three kids and growing families of their own. Adoption was obviously the best option for everyone involved, as hard as it was I’m sure. I won’t go into detail about the reason I was adopted because that’s not the point of this article and I don’t want the pity party reactions that everyone seems to think are necessary. I have a happy life and I’ve always had a happy life, regardless of what happened before I was adopted. I’ll try to not to ramble.

Blueberry cheesin' in Grandma's kitchen.

1) IT’S OKAY TO BE DIFFERENT: Yes, cliché, I know, but it’s the truth. It took me so long to learn this. I’m from a small town, so EVERYBODY knows EVERYTHING about EVERYONE (eye roll). When I started preschool, after being adopted, kids would ask me millions of questions that I didn’t know how to answer. I started to become super self-conscious about being adopted and I would get super embarrassed anytime it was brought up because I felt left out. I always wondered if I was missing something. I wanted to be normal. My parents like to celebrate the day I was officially theirs every year, kind of like an extra birthday. When I was 5, I told them I didn’t want a celebration because I didn’t want to be different and it was embarrassing. I still don’t like to celebrate that day, but now it’s only because I believe that they’re mine and I’m theirs, and I feel like I always have been, so there’s no need to remember when I wasn’t.

Chocolate addict at the age of 2.

2) BE HONEST: Growing up, I had the same close friends that I met when I was 3 and they were the pesky question askers, believe it or not. They asked their questions, I answered, and they thought nothing of it. They’re still my best friends to this day and even though others say I’ve always had a loud and outgoing personality, being adopted was one thing that I never wanted to talk about. So, I’m thankful that they’re all so outgoing, too, or I doubt I’d be so comfortable talking about it now. For those of you who don’t know, I have a scar on my arm from an incident that happened prior to being adopted. It used to be a lot bigger when I was younger because my arms were smaller and kids would always ask me what had happened. I went through several phases with this: At first, I used to say “I don’t know,” or say that I had a bike wreck, neither of which logically made sense. Then, in about middle school I would tell people random lies that didn’t make sense either just for my own amusement and to secretly avoid the truth. I would say things like “SHARK ATTACK” and then walk away, smirking to myself. Finally, around high school I started telling the truth- not the whole story though, just the short and sweet truth. I found out that people appreciate the truth, and that goes for everything in life, not just being adopted. Those who know me might say I’m a little too truthful and a little too straightforward sometimes, but if I’m being honest here, I like that about myself. I think it offers people a look at the real me from the get-go and it weeds out the people who can’t handle the heat. Being downright honest is also a great way to avoid awkward conversations. Thanks, adoption!

My parents put this picture in the newspaper they own to show off their new additon to the family- modeling my Tweety Bird shirt.

3)   BE OPEN-MINDED: Sometimes I wonder if I’m too liberal. But, then I think: nah, no way. I think being adopted has helped me to become more of an open-minded person. I mean, I think I’d be open-minded regardless if I was adopted or not, but I think it’s been an advantage that not a lot of other people are lucky enough to have. I’ve literally lived on two sides of a situation, though three years isn’t a lot, it’s still taught me to think openly. It’s fascinating to think how different peoples lives can be. I’m so intrigued by eccentric, strange people and I always find myself wanting to be friends with them, learn about their lives and swap interesting stories.

My brother, Michael and I, LOVING our outfits.

4)   PEOPLE DON’T LIKE IT WHEN YOU FEEL BAD FOR THEM: Bottom line. If someone isn’t mourning a death or something along those lines, don’t say, “I’m so sorry.” Don’t bring the pity party. When I would share details, I would always get the “I’m so sorry” line. Jeez. It’s okay, people, I’m obviously fine. So, because I hate the “I’m so sorry” line so much, I’ve learned that when others are in a bad mood or upset about something, console them by making them laugh and telling them it’ll be okay and better things are ahead. There’s always a future!

My love for cats is already obvious at age 4

5) BLOOD DOESN’T MATTER- My brother was adopted when he was a baby too. A family is a unit of people who love and care about each other. Even though no one in my immediate family is blood-related, people always seem shocked when they learn my brother and I are adopted and adopted from different parents. We used to get confused as twins when we were little and everyone thinks we look like our parents.

FAMILY

6) LIFE IS AWESOME- When something doesn’t go my way of course I’m upset about it. My life is awesome though. My situation could’ve been a lot worse and when I think about that, it makes me love life even more. I’M BREATHING AND I HAVE PEOPLE WHO LOVE ME.

Bowling: gutterball, apparently.

I could go on and REALLY share all the details of my life to make this a more interesting article, but it would probably take you the rest of your lives to read it. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FO’ DAT… or is that saying not cool anymore? So, anyway… I’m so thankful for my life and the people in it. It's really been a blessing to have so much family, on both sides of the situation, who show so much love and support for me. I can’t help but wonder how I got so lucky, because not a lot of adopted kids can say that. I wouldn't be where I am today without them!

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