When a mother loses her first child… or her fifth, it’s devastating. When a young woman becomes pregnant with little to no money or any means of caring for the child, it’s destructive. The love for those children is unconditional, no matter the situation. No matter the case, adoption is a way for a young parent to say, “I love so much that I am willing to give you up for a better life that you couldn’t have with me”. Adoption is telling your child (by both the birth parents and adoptive parents), “I love you no matter what.” For the adoptee, adoption is love from both biological and adoptive parents. Hearing the words “Oh, I’m so sorry” after telling someone you’re adopted is resentful. Adoption is love, not a nuisance.
There are multiple students at Academy who are adopted. They have allowed us to tell their stories, but some wish to stay anonymous.
“(Being adopted) means to me that they (outsiders such as other students) think I’m different, and it makes me feel annoyed. My parents told me about my adoption. I felt pretty comfortable about it. They told me when I was young; when I could understand the concept. The first few years were very vague, and then, later on, I felt weird, like I didn’t know them (my birth parents), and as I got older I started to think a little more in depth: what/how would my life be like/different? Better or worse? Why do I think this/that? Why do I like this or that? Was she (my birth mother) athletic? What were they like at this age? I would try to relate what happened to them and what happened to me. I have a closed adoption*.
I have connected with my mom, she always is open about my adoption, she tells me I love you; sometimes I have moments where I feel like she’s my real mom because we are alike in many ways. It’s not like we (the adoptees) are insecure; you may look different, or feel different, but we are loved and the parents we have are our parents because they raised us. I remember when I was little I used to go out with my dad every Saturday, and we got donuts in the morning. Then my mom took me to ballet, after that she took me to get onion rings. I remember when I was with Maddison, we loved the movie Bolt, and my dad got his gym bag, and pretended to be the villain (Dr. Calico) from Bolt; and then he would put us in the gym bag, and then pretended to be Dr. Calico, and we had to try to escape from the bag.”
-Malia Bulloch, 7th Grade
Adoption can either be open or closed. Open adoption is when both the birth parents and adoptive parents decide to allow to adoptee to have contact with the birth parents, but this is only one scenario. Others may just be where the adoptee only has Identifiable Information which includes things such as first and last names, address, phone number, personal email address and more. Closed adoption is when there is no contact with the adoptive parents. There might be a semi-closed adoption, which is when there is contact in the early years or later years of the child’s adoption between them and the birth parents (America’s Adoption Agency). There are many different scenarios, each one unique, and filled with its ups and downs.
“When people say ‘Oh, I’m so sorry’, I normally ask why, and they normally say ‘because that must be hard.’ The truth is that it is hard. It is hard not knowing who your parents are and why you are you. It makes you think about yourself as a person harder and question yourself more.
I was told the truth about my adoption before I understood what the word meant. My parents have always been honest about the adoption and they have always been willing to try to answer any questions I have. I am grateful that they care and are willing to tell me this because some parents don’t share this with their kids.
How I found out about my adoption was my parents just talked to me about it ever since I was little and always said if I had any question that I could always ask them. They’ve always been very supportive of this topic.
For the first few years of understanding what it was all about, I started to question myself more and ask more questions. I asked myself the what if’s. What did they look like? Do they like the same things as I do? The simple questions that normal kids can answer that I cannot.
I ask myself questions such as: are we similar at all? Do I look anything like them? Why did she have me if she couldn’t take care of me? Sometimes I try to imagine life with them. I imagine what they look like and what they would sound like if they talked. The sad thing is I will never know but I keep on hoping one day I might be able to know.
I am willing to tell my story. There is nothing I can do to change it, so I might as well embrace it.
And finally, my adoption was a closed adoption. This has many advantages and disadvantages; but as I said before, I can’t do anything about it so I might as well embrace it.”
-Ryleigh Van Veghel, 8th grade
Whether international or domestic, adoption is different for everyone, but its foundation is always love.
“It (saying ‘Oh, I’m sorry) means to me that people are unaware of the topic of adoption and they don’t really understand what it means. What it means to me is that our society focuses on more marginalized groups than on this particular group.
I knew from the very beginning that I was adopted. They (my parents) read to me stories about adoption and explained how I was loved by many people. I didn’t start to understand what it meant till I was about 10-12 years old. It took me awhile to come to terms that I was adopted. I knew who my birth mother was, but I didn’t know who my birth father was and I am unable to find out till I am 18. I started to gain an understanding of my situation around the age of 15.
The questions I ask myself are: Who am I? I don’t know the background of my birth-father, so this is a major question. Do I have half siblings? How big is my birth family? Will I ever know my birth mother? What qualities (that I possess) are from my birth family? I see part of my adopted parents in myself because they raised me but I know I have some traits from my birth father like my height and curls. My dad has told me that the older I get the more I sound like my birth mother.
I have a partially open adoption. I have full contact with my birth mother and no contact with my birth father until I am 18.”
-Madeline Goserud, 11th grade
Adoption isn’t something upsetting, it’s beautiful. All these different stories come together to create a great big picture, one filled with love and joy along with frustration and strife. Adoption, like any story, has both good and bad. Next time you hear that someone is adopted, “Oh, I’m so sorry” isn’t the correct response.