Growing Up Adopted

When you’re adopted, you don’t usually mention it right away. You don’t let it define who you are. It only becomes something when someone brings it up and makes you start questioning yourself. I didn’t think about being adopted (obviously, my parents told me at a young age) because it didn’t become an issue until Elementary/Middle school. The age when young people start asking questions without a filter, once they saw that my parents were white and I was brown. They would say things like, “But who are your real parents?” or “You’re not really Latina since you’re adopted”. Which, you try to brush off and explain that those are your parents. You tell them that family is not necessarily made by blood, but they never get it. They disagree and move onto another topic. 

Last year, I remember talking to a former co-worker, who is also from Mexico and he said, “You’re not really Latina because you don’t speak Spanish and you’re adopted”. Which absolutely stunned me because 1. That’s extremely rude, and I am learning to speak spanish and 2. Even though I am adopted, it doesn’t make me less Mexican. It’s in my blood. Once people talk to you this way, it sticks. Even at 22 years old I still have those thoughts in my head. I have always felt different, even if it was in a predominantly Latino area because I didn’t feel like I belonged there. This wasn’t my parents fault either because they tried to get me in touch with my roots, but I was so young and I didn’t appreciate that side of me. All I wanted at that age was to fit in and eat pizza. 

I remember at 14 years old, I wanted to know more about where I came from since I started realizing how important my Mexican roots were. My parents fully supported and encouraged me to do this, buying me a 23&Me kit in hopes to find out more information. I even asked to have a quinceanera, which is the Mexican coming of age celebration for 15-year-olds. We immediately started planning and researching what it was all about to ensure we did it correctly. I know I will always remember that day because I was celebrating my culture and was surrounded by my loved ones. Even to this day, at 22 years old, I am still learning about my heritage. I hope to one day go back to Oaxaca with my parents and explore my birth town.