The more I write and think about topics for this blog, the more I realize that I do have many stories to tell. Some happy, some sad, some contemplative, some funny.
This particular story is a happy one.
It’s the only “birth” story I know of myself.
It’s my adoption story.
If you know me personally you may (or may not) know that I was adopted from the Philippines when I was nine months old. My parents were unable to successfully have children biologically (and had many health scares along the way), so they turned to adoption to expand their family. It was always in their hearts to have children and have the family. Adoption may not have been the traditional route (especially in the 1980s), but it was the way in which they knew was the right path. As I get older, the deeper my appreciation grows for their sacrifice to go forward with the process not once, but twice (my sister–not biological for those wondering–was adopted four years later at the age of two).
International adoption can cost thousands of dollars ($30k+). Even domestic adoption can leave a hole in a bank account. But, my parents were dedicated to growing their family and made so many sacrifices to make it happen. They didn’t have lucrative jobs that would make paying for adoption a simple task, but with their focus on their main objective, they were able to make their dream a reality.
A lot people have their birth stories from their parents. I don’t have much on my own birth or my birth parents. People always wonder if that bothers me, and I have to say, no, it doesn’t. I have no recollection of any life in the Philippines and I am okay with that. I have not yet returned to see where I was born, and for me, I’m okay with that as well. My story started on March 14, 1986 when I arrived in Madison, WI. Where I arrived to meet my family who had prayed so hard for me.
When I was four years old, my parents adopted another baby girl from the Philippines. My sister was two years old when she arrived. I remember this a lot more clear. I was so excited to greet her at the airport and could hardly handle my excitement. And I remember picking out two stuffed animals for her and could not wait to hand them to her and become best friends. It was a late night, but finally, she was her! She was scared and frightened, and looking back on it now, I can imagine the fear she felt. The difference between a nine month old and a two-year old is huge in this situation. Eventually she warmed up to me and accepted the stuffed toys I bought her. Sibling relationships sure vary from person to person and can be quite interesting as you grow up. I’d love to do another post talking to others about their own sibling relationships because it’s quite fascinating to me. More to come on that topic!
During my upbringing my parents were very open about talking about adoption and trying to answer any questions we had. I honestly can say that I wasn’t too interested in it nor did I question a lot early on. I even felt that I was accepted quite well amongst my peers at school and they didn’t treat me any differently. Sure there were always curiosities, but I always felt respected with my differences, which I’m always grateful for given that I went to a small school that wasn’t quite diversified.
Adoption certainly has changed my life in a positive way. I’m always moved when I hear a person’s adoption story. I love meeting other adoptees and learning their adoption story. I’m grateful for how adoption has impacted my life. I often think about what life may be like had I not been adopted. It could have been so much different with much less in terms of opportunities. I’m thankful that my parents never tired to hide information from us. And that they were open about the process and let us ask questions on our own. Adoption is a beautiful process, full of sacrifice, tears, and joy. Some folks are on waiting lists for years before they are matched. It’s not guaranteed that it’s going to be an easy process. Adoption creates families just as much as a biological child helps grow a family.
I am proud to say that I am adopted.