Friday, November 22, 2013

National Adoption Day!!

Happy National Adoption Day!

As promised, today is the day that I'm going to share a bit about my adoption. I don't think there is one cookie cutter style of adoption but I definitely think that mine is even more-so different than most. It tends to get a little confusing, so try to keep up ;)

As the story goes, I was born to a mother who had given her first child, a sister I'm told, over to be adopted when she was born. I'm not sure if when she found out she was pregnant with me she had thought she had changed or felt more capable to be a mother but, she decided to keep me and... sadly, after about a year and a half, I was unfortunately seized by the state.

Lets rewind to before all of this happened. Apparently, when I was very young my birthmother had reached out to her Aunt Marilyn asking for a bit of help with this new baby. I'm told, she brought me over to her Aunt Marilyn's house, left a giant mess and even stole money from her aunt, she was obviously in a tough place. Marilyn had two grown boys of her own and had always wanted a daughter and I think that it was for this reason that she immediately felt a strong connection with this baby, AKA, me! Marilyn offered to watch me when need be, even having her youngest son and his new wife help watch me when they could.

Now back to when I basically became property of the state of California, Marilyn knew that wasn't an option. The state obviously prefers for a child in this position be cared for by family as opposed to becoming part of the system. Marilyn reached out to her new daughter-in-law with this crazy idea. "Why don't you two look after her?"

As I'm told, the decision was easy. Marilyn and her daughter-in-law went to pick me up from the home I had been staying. They said that it wasn't the best of environments so they chose to just leave all my belongings there and take me for my first shopping trip (to this day, I blame my love of shopping on this trip). I don't know if you've ever seen Curly Sue and the scene where she gets her "make over", but that is what I always picture when I picture that day.

So, as it turns out, Marilyn's son and daughter in law were Kevin and Sandy Maness. The people that I now call mom and dad. My mom tells the story that after the shopping day and getting me all clean and finding a place for all my new things, when my dad came home from work it was almost as if my mom had rescued a stray dog on the streets but instead of it being a puppy, it was a little baby girl with big brown eyes that my mom was asking "Can we keep her?"

Originally, the arrangement was meant to be temporary. Once my birth-mother was fit to, she would be given the ability to get me back. She was enlisted in classes and was diligently attending but in the end, she made the decision not to keep me. While, that can seem so disheartening and heartbreaking, it was a decision for a better life, for both of us.

So, stay with me here, my birth-mom's cousin is now my dad. My birth-mom's aunt Marilyn, then became my grandma. We always shared a special bond, my grandmother and I, and I don't know if it's because she played such an integral part in my adoption or if it would have always been like that, but I'm so glad things worked out the way they did.

Not long after my "adoption" (I use quotes because I wasn't legally adopted until I was like 6, it's quite a process) my parents got pregnant. That was the perfect way to explain to me my situation. I always tell people, I don't remember ever not knowing I was adopted and I know everyone does things differently but I feel its best to know. As my moms tummy would grow bigger and bigger she found a way to explain to me that I didn't grow in her tummy, I grew in someone else's. I really don't know how she explained it to a 2 year old but somehow she did and I'm so thankful for that.

Because my adoption is still in the family, my brother and I ended up looking somewhat alike, so much so, that most of the time when I would tell people that I was adopted and that my brother wasn't, they wouldn't believe me.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm so lucky that things worked out the way that they did. My birth-mom gave me the gift of a life that she couldn't give me and I am forever grateful. About a year and a half ago I got a tattoo that I had been wanting to get for years. In my own writing, in the shape of a heart, I wrote "One loved me enough to let me go, One loved me enough to call me her own."
Everyone has their own opinions about adoption and it still has a stigma to it and it still surprisingly seems to be somewhat taboo, but I feel that giving a child up for adoption is one of the most selfless decisions that I person, especially a mother, can make.

I visited my birth-mother not long after my adoption and that was the last time I saw her. It has always been in the back of my mind that one day I'd like to get in contact with her. I used to tell myself, "When I'm 18 I'll do it". Well, 18 came and went, almost 10 whole years ago now. Maybe I'll do it one day. Maybe I won't. My heart isn't pushing me one way or another, so we'll see where my road takes me.

Well, that was the somewhat condensed version of my adoption story. I'm always open to talk about my adoption or just adoption in general so please don't hesitate to contact me or ask me things about it.

Happy National Adoption Day!

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