November is National Adoption Awareness Month. Adopters and adoptees honor the importance of adoption. Here are four reasons adoption is special to me.
November is National Adoption Awareness Month. This is very special to me because my five siblings and I were adopted. When I was two months, my adopted parents (whom I call my parents) chose to bring me into their home and give me a beautiful life. I am here today because of them. Here are four more important reasons I choose to celebrate adoption.
My Adopted Parents Taught me What Love Is
As a child, my parents always reminded me that they loved me. They didn’t even have to say it. They showed it by creating fun family traditions such as annual vacations and holiday parties. They signed my siblings and me up for camp every summer. They dropped whatever they were doing to take care of us when we were sick. They rewarded us for good report cards.
While I viewed those acts of kindness as signs of love, I was required to do things that seemed like torture. For instance, I hated doing weekly chores! Sometimes I dreaded waking up early for Sunday school when I wanted to sleep in. If I lied, used foul language, and refused to clean and go to church, I became grounded. That meant no TV, computer, family outings, or playdates. All those things made me question my parents’ love.
As an adult, I now realize that everything my parents did was out of love and their hopes for me. They gave me weekly tasks because they wanted me to have essential skills for the future. Groundings taught me how to take responsibility for my actions and correct my behavior. Going to Sunday school every week allowed me to learn about God’s love and make friends in a positive community. If my parents had not punished me for mistakes, I wouldn’t have learned how to become a respectful and healthy adult.
I Want to Clarify Misconceptions about Adoptees
When I tell people I was adopted, I receive a wide variety of reactions. People ask how old I was when I was adopted and whether I remember it. They also ask about my birth parents and if I want to find them. Most people react positively by recognizing the kindness of my parents for adopting me.
However, during my childhood, I had seen and heard reactions that hurt. For instance, some kids walked up to me with their friends and asked questions like, “Why did your real parents give you up?” with an interrogative tone. After they asked that question, I sometimes heard a few of them laugh. This offended me for two reasons. For one thing, the way they asked me the question made me feel like a piece of garbage—useless and disposable. Also, the parents who adopted me were my real parents.
Having answered many questions and responding to many reactions, I learned how to share my story. Additionally, I learned how to clear up misconceptions and stereotypes. Finally, I learned how to react to other adopted adults’ stories because I could relate to them.
I Appreciate the Courage and Work That Goes into Adoption
Many people want to adopt, but they don’t know how it will affect them. They are nervous that children who are adopted will have too many problems. Questioning the effects of adoption is normal and understandable. Personally, I would be worried if first-time adopters were really confident and didn’t ask questions.
Looking back, I realize that my parents committed a lot of time and effort to ensure that my siblings and I would have happy and healthy lives. I struggled with learning disabilities, but my parents spent a lot of time helping me with homework and advocating for my educational needs. My parents tailored their decisions according to the needs of every child in my family.
I could tell that adoption wasn’t always a walk in the park for my parents, but they enjoyed it. Some things that really helped them raise my siblings and I included their strong marriage and desire to adopt. They always found ways to provide for everyone’s emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.
Being Adopted Positively Impacted my Faith
My parents raised my siblings and me in a Lutheran church. As mentioned earlier, they took us to church every Sunday. My mom taught Sunday school, and my dad had always had a smile on his face when he interacted with the other church members. Even though my mom was more involved in ministry, my dad always had a passion for helping others, learning about God, and answering my questions about the Bible. Although my dad had physical disabilities, he never complained once. He knew that God blessed him with a family and a wonderful life. My mom taught me the importance of serving in ministry, and my dad taught me about faith through his words and actions.
Looking back, I really appreciate my parents’ faith and devotion to God. Every summer starting when my siblings and I were 9, they sent us to Christian camps. They knew it was important for us socially, physically, and spiritually. I was fortunate to have received so many opportunities to grow in faith and learn how to honor God. If I had not been adopted, I probably would not have received all those opportunities.
The support of my parents, the church, and God helped me get through many trials. For instance, my dad died when I was 17. After that, I became angry and depressed. It took me a few months to stop being angry with God and accept it, but the Christian community’s support helped me find peace and restore my faith. When I was young, my teachers assumed that I would not do well academically. But with my parents’ support and the knowledge that God had a plan for me, I graduated from college. Now my blessings from being adopted are significant parts of my testimony.
As you can see, adoption greatly benefited my life. Unfortunately, not all children are as fortunate. Many children from abusive homes are placed in the foster care system. According to the Adopt America Network, there were 515,000 children in foster care in 2019. About 155,000 of those children waited to be adopted. Every year, over 20,000 children age out of the foster care system without a permanent family.
If you want to help lower the statistics above, consider adopting a child. According to Adoption with Love, more than 90% of adopted children feel happy with their adopted families. More than 80% of adopted children have a close relationship with their adopted parents.
Waiting Children. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2020, from https://www.adoptamericanetwork.org/waiting-children
Rosenhaus, N. (2020, August 12). Benefits of Adoption for Children. Retrieved November 10, 2020, from https://adoptionswithlove.org/birth-parents/benefits-of-adoption-infographic