My Adoption Journey: An Adoptee’s View of Adoption
There are times when people will ask me, “What’s it like being adopted? Do you feel different around your family? Do you wish you knew your biological family?” The truth is, I really had no idea how to answer them when I was younger. Those are some tough questions to answer even now, let alone for an 11 or12 year old kid. But, if you’ll indulge my ramblings, I think somewhere we’ll see the answer to those questions together.
What’s it Like Being Adopted?
In 1992, when I was 3 months old, my mom and dad were finally able to bring me home after my adoption was finalized. My birth parents had a hard time making a decision about whether or not to place me for adoption. But my soon-to-be adoptive mom wrote them a letter, asking them to please make a decision so I could have a forever home. My birth parents, who already had one child, decided it was best to place me for adoption, and give me (and themselves) a better chance at a better life. I stayed with a foster family for a little while, then got my forever home.
My parents told me when I was about five or six that I was adopted. By the time they were finished explaining everything to me, I thought it was pretty cool. I mean, I had two families out there who loved me! How great is that? I asked my mom if I’d ever meet my biological parents someday, and she said I could when I was much older. Although I wanted to meet my biological parents and sister, I could live with meeting them one day.
I really did want to meet my older sister, though. I was the only child in my house and that got pretty lonely. I had my parents and grandparents, but I really didn’t have any siblings to talk to. Maybe that’s the reason why I told everybody about my being adopted. Mostly kids from my church. But they didn’t understand. They had questions too — the questions I shared at the beginning. If I didn’t or couldn’t answer any of their questions, they made fun of me. I don’t believe it was about my being adopted, though. There were lots of other kids who didn’t live with their biological families. But, unfortunately, I was one of those kids who was an easy target. I got made fun of for being chubby, having to wear shoes that would help my being flat-footed and just, overall, being different from everyone else. So, I stopped talking about my adoption and kept it to myself.
Did You Feel Different around Your Adoptive Family?
Throughout my preteen and teenage years, I still didn’t mention it. I needed to really trust you if I was giving you that much information. But the idea of having another family was still in my head. I still wanted to know more about them. My mother kept paperwork from the adoption agency. They described my biological parents and different make-up of my biological family. I asked my mother if I could read it, and she said yes. As I read, I learned I had lots of traits from my biological family. My birth dad was interested in music — I was in the band. My birth mother’s strongest subjects in high school were Social Studies and English — so were mine. Knowing this, I felt a connection to my biological parents, one where I was truly understood.
Do You Wish You knew Your Biological Family?
Fast forward to my college years to now, and I’m finally feeling more comfortable talking about my adoption story. There’s something about having close college friends that makes you truly trust them and want to open up to them. But I had other motives too. Most of the people I went to college with were actually from the same city. And while it is a big city, there was still the chance that someone maybe knew my sister or birth parents. I just wanted to know.
I’ve started my journey to find my birth parents, but I ended up stopping. By the time I picked it up again, the way to investigate it had changed. So, I put the process down all together.
Though I did wish I had a sibling, I did have parents who truly loved and cared for me. They did everything in their power to make sure I had everything I needed. My grandparents were a big part of my life as well. My parents were strict and no nonsense when it came to education, but they are the reason I have a bachelor’s and a master’s degrees today. I just didn’t feel like I needed to meet my birth parents anymore.
Then it dawned on me: what if my biological parents needed to meet me? Maybe they would like to know how it turned out. How I’m doing and who I’ve become. So, I began my search again.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, I haven’t been able to get very far. My hope is that I will find them someday, and that I can tell them: “Thank you. I know your sacrifice wasn’t easy. But you also helped me become who I am today.”
Long story short?
If you are thinking about placing your baby for adoption, please truly consider it. If you’re not ready to be a parent, that’s okay. There are so many families who would love to have the opportunity to be a part of your child’s life. In addition, while I came from a closed adoption agreement, there are other options available now. For instance, Adoption Choices of Kansas is a private adoption agency in Kansas that strongly encourages open adoptions. They have great info about that and their services on their website.
So, please be open to all ideas. You never know. Your child may come back and thank you one day. I know when I meet my biological parents, I certainly will.
Meet the Author: Gabrielle Willis is a lover of writing and knowledge, which shows in her everyday life. She graduated with a Bachelors in English in 2013, and recently graduated with a Masters in Creative Writing. She has also worked in the education sector for over 10 years, recently becoming a Literacy Tutor. At her core, her passion is reading and writing, and she loves sharing that with others.
She enjoys helping those considering adoption or going through the adoption process any way she can. This internship opportunity truly resonated with her and she hopes that her words will connect and inspire everyone who reads them.