I was adopted in ‘95 basically two days - I think exactly two days - after I was born, so I was adopted straight out of the womb, thrown right into a car, and off I went. I would say [the adoption] was really open and more so in this sense of there was open for communication because my birth family, though I knew them by proxy, I hung out with them a little bit in childhood. I know that they were around for celebrations. I remember during Rose Festival they would take me to the carnival and stuff. We would have fun parent days, but it was more of a friend day because growing up, I really felt pretty connected to my birth mom. We are very similar in personality types and we got along pretty fine. But at the same time, she wasn't my mom, she was like my friend because though she did give birth to me, she was not present at all during day-to-day stuff. I only saw her maybe once a year and even then, it was maybe for two or three hours at most.
I don't have a great memory of all that happened, but I know that we saw each other yearly for a while and then when I turned 16 or 17, it kind of trickled down to pretty much nothing, but it was a very open adoption where they would communicate with me on Facebook and my parents.
From a very early age my parents always made sure to let me know that I was adopted from a family, that the circumstances were right, and that it was meant to happen, and all the real childlike explanations of how you should be adopted and all these things of explaining the situation and all that. I'm definitely proud that my parents took such great caution about explaining it the right way and making sure that it wasn't weird or anything.
I feel like, ultimately, I did not know who they were until I got to meet them and so, I would have probably had some really toxic viewpoints of what my biological family was and what they were doing. I feel like not knowing would have driven me so crazy. I would have turned it into some weird story that they were witches or something. I would have been like they were all terrible people. But actually, getting to know them, they're just normal people. They just couldn't raise me as their child.
Growing up, I definitely was a little unhappy – not unhappy about being adopted – but being adopted, I was like, oh what went wrong? Like, why did they adopt me out? Of course, there's all these things going through your mind of like, why did this happen? Like, why didn't they love me enough to like keep me in their family? And all these other weird circumstances that you twist into your feelings. And I feel like with that, I do feel like I've always been a part of the family because they chose me to be in their family and that is the most important thing, I think, is choosing – the willingness to have a baby or to adopt a child or whatever the circumstances, I always felt like I belong in this family.
There were definite points where my parents said some not so nice things about my birth folks and would stray the conversation to being like, “well, aren't you glad that you're in our house now?” And so, having that as a childhood experience, those phrases weighed pretty heavy on me for a while. And thankfully, they corrected it pretty quickly because that was very upsetting. I feel like using any sort of negative language to refer to a previous household or experience that you could have been put in is just such a no-no and you should never step over that line.
But like I said, the differences were corrected very early on and I got to know [my bio family] as people and I got to know my parents more and hear what their side of the story was and obviously, it was just them being freaked out. So, I get it, like, there's reasons for everything. For me, it's all about just forgiving that behavior because the fact that they turned it around so quick and were always so positive. I love my parents so much and they've done so much for me. They've worked so hard and busted their booties just to get me where I am and I'm very, very thankful. There's not a bone in my body that wouldn't want this life. It wasn't ever like I didn't trust that.
As a kid, I felt very strongly attached to both families. I felt like there was a big connection between knowing my birth family equally with my adoptive family because I really did want to get to know them and be connected with them. Even if it was only like once or twice a year and for little periods of time. It just made me very happy and feel fulfilled. So, I would say then it was very impactful and I was about equal 50/50. I was like, I really like both of these groups of people, they’re awesome and they're cool.
And then, in my teen years my birth mom started not really chatting with me as much and she didn't really message me. She stopped messaging me on my birthday. And so, that was kind of right when it started to be like, okay, that's kind of weird… she stopped texting me and sending me messages and stuff. And so, I was like, okay, maybe I just need to reach out more. And I did a little bit, but at the same time I felt kind of awkward in that respect because I know that as a teenager I was like, I don't want to bug her and I don't want to be a bother and she was going through her own stuff as well and she was busy and preoccupied.
So, in my teen years I was definitely more focused on my adoptive parents and really was very strongly attached to them and really wanted to get to know them more and slowly kind of stopped talking to my birth family.
And then, as an adult I would say, it's pretty much fallen into the void. Like, I haven't reached out in years. It's probably been about four or so years since I've reached out to my birth mother and I still talk to my sister occasionally on social media, but it's very sparse. And I kind of like to keep it that way because they're very intense people, just like I am an intense individual. So, get three of us in one room, and it's just gnarly and you can't have that. So basically, I try to keep my distance, respectfully.
Now, it's a hundred percent on my adoptive family. I'm very focused on them. And really I'm just like, if my birth family gets in touch with me, sure… With me, it's really like yeah, I would just want to chat with [my birthmother] more. It's just the circumstances have never really been right and it's so hard to communicate with her.
Basically, it's all like that's family. It's really all about close connection and building that close connection over time because I think that's what's really important. I feel like I've gotten a very broad understanding of what family is now. I feel like that could also just be because I've had a lot of varying friend groups, but I include a lot of my friends in my family category because we've been acquainted for so long. Like, I really just attribute it to who is in my close circle, who I am cared for, and vice versa, like, where's the reciprocation of love and affection? To me, wherever the love is, wherever the family vibe is.
That's the best part. You can choose to have family members and not have family members. As a kid, I really struggled with making connections. But nowadays, I feel it's a little bit easier especially since I know myself better now and can really understand where I want my friendships and family ties to be. I feel much more confident.