I was adopted by my mom and my dad. My sister Ellis didn't adopt me but she was also in the family for five years before I was there. As far as I know, my adoptive mom was actually in the room when I was born and Ellis says she remembers hearing me cry from outside the room and my dad was at the hospital, too. And even my grandparents were in town. So, I think they officially adopted me when I was born and when it was time for me to leave the hospital, that's when they brought me home.
My birth mom, I guess she's always been in my life and she's come and visited and been at birthday parties, but I have a little half-sister too. I definitely have more of a relationship with my little half-sister. It's weird because I wasn't always so close to her. When we were younger it was just different. Every time I saw her, I enjoyed it, but that was my little sister, you know? And I only saw her about once or twice a year and now she's getting to the end of high school and we just have a better relationship in the sense where we can relate a lot more now. It's kind of actually strange how we have such similar interests and similar even…almost mental health issues. And so now I'm learning how to fit another family member into my life while also living my life the way its been.
My bio mom, she was younger and I think she had her own things to work through and she didn't want to step on my adoptive mom's toes. So, she was there, but she was also there from afar. Her mother though, my bio grandmother, she was actually very open at the beginning. She would come hang out with my mom and would take me places and hang out with me. I think my bio mom was the age I am now – slightly younger I think – when she had me, so I think she was just going through her own things. There's no bad blood there, but I think she when she visited, she was more there for my adoptive mom than actually for me.
When I was just beginning high school, around that time, I remember her coming over for one of the birthday parties and since me and Ellis’s are so close, we were celebrating both me and Ellis’s. And I remember her giving me and Ellis a pair of earrings and Ellis opened hers first. And she goes, “Ellis, oh my gosh, those looked so much like you.” And so, I was so excited to open mine and then I opened mine and, like, they weren't ugly but they were not me at all. And she was like, “I didn't really know what you would like.”
I was really confused by that and I didn't expect that to stick with me because, you know again, I don't really hold anything against her and I wasn't mad at her for that. I was just kind of like, “oh, okay.” So, that just kind of stuck with me throughout the years and I feel like that's a good example of how I think of her as a family friend, someone I do appreciate and respect, but not someone I have a really strong or big relationship with.
I felt completely normal about [my adoption] because my sister was adopted and I would say, easily 50 percent of the people in my life were adopted and so, to me, it was literally just so normal. But growing up, as people started becoming more cognitive with questions, I think I started to realize, “oh maybe, adoption isn't as normal as I thought it was.”
I definitely did have that feeling of not knowing where I belong because I didn't feel like I fit in with my adoptive family, but I also didn't necessarily feel close with my bio family. And I think I actually disassociated a lot from those questions growing up because I just didn't really have the mental space or capacity to really fully understand everything at that time. And there was just so much unknown and I didn't necessarily feel like I could relate with my adoptive family, especially when I started puberty and growing up because I had a completely different body type, I had such bad acne when no one else in my adopted family really had acne, I had thick wavy hair that they would chop off because they didn't want to brush out the knot. So, you know, there were things where like I honestly did feel really different.
I went to college and had that freedom. That's where where do I belong really came up. I mean I started dying my hair crazy colors before then, but I started doing all different hairstyles, haircuts makeup, and clothing. And you know, started not dating the best guys and not participating in the best activities, especially at my age. And I definitely went down a little rabbit hole there, just trying to discover me. And you know, I may have ended up in the psych ward one or two times, but we got through it. I'm here and I learned so much from it. And I still do have that question of where do I belong but I feel like I'm farther down the path on that journey to figure out where I belong.
My 21st birthday is coming up, so I'm just coming to a place where I want to know more, possibly who my bio father is or if he knows I exist. I think my biggest thing about wanting to know my birth dad is knowing if I have more siblings out there. And also, I really want to know my disposition on specifically cancers that run in my family. In the past couple of years I've really started to process everything and so, I just I feel like I'm just now kind of making that narrative.
I don't really know how to do about it yet, to be completely honest. Especially with COVID going on and not necessarily having as many resources as I would have if COVID wasn’t going on, it’s definitely a little harder. So, I'm kind of at a standstill with all that because I kind of am waiting to find some helpful resources to maybe help me process it in a healthy way and maybe make a plan on how I want to go about everything in my feelings and healing.