From Me To Me

Dear Thea,

thea 8th grade

 

Right now you are probably in middle school trying to figure out life, you just moved to a new house and none of your friends from elementary school are in any of your classes or in your lunch period. You have also started to be left home alone, and knowing you, exploring is the only thing you want to do. Go ahead and explore, but when you do just realize there are some things that you just don’t and won’t understand for a while.

I am going to spoil something for you, #sorrynotsorry, but you will find your adoption papers. At first, you will think nothing of it, but as time passes and no one is home you will start to read the papers. Let me clarify somethings for you, first, you are loved, you were not abandoned and nothing about your adoption was because of you.

Everything happens for a reason, you ended up with parents who care about you and want you to do well. You will have a birth family who wants to get to know the real you and how you have turned out. You are exactly where you are supposed to be, the decision for someone to give a child up for adoption is not something they take lightly, while on paper it could seem so quick that is not the case.

Please tell mom exactly how this makes you feel, this is not something you should bottle up and never talk about. You need to get your feelings out now, mom is there to help as best as she can. Do not to hold a grudge against anyone, with both your adoptive parents or birth parents. It’s okay to be open with your adoptive family, you need to be open with them they have a lot of insight on who you are.

This discovery is something that should not stop you from loving as much as hard as you do. If anything, this should give you more reason to love with every once of you. You love everyone as soon as you meet them, don’t give that up love in ways you that everyone should be loved. Love harder, love longer honestly just love.

Lastly, I want you to be honest with yourself, you are going to need time to think about this so take it. You need to know that talking about adoption is okay, people aren’t going to get annoyed by it, people do care.

Love,

An Older Youme

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Gotcha Day

Not a birthday, not a holiday but a special day. Gotcha day is the day that a child was brought home to their adoptive parents. Some families choose not to celebrate this for their own reasons, but others do. When I was a kid, my family celebrated it every year, we would go out to dinner at any restaurant that I wanted to and celebrate.

Gotcha day was explained to me as a day that only some families celebrate. This was the day that my parents came and got me from the adoption agency and brought me home. My brother and I do not celebrate gotcha day together, we have our own days, that way we both feel our own connection to our parents and family. Each gotcha day was special to us, my brother wanted to be left alone with a new video game while I, being a foodie would try out a new restaurant.

Explaining gotcha day to anyone who isn’t adopted is hard, not the concept but the reason why I celebrate it. People seem to get the fact that it is a day that is different but don’t understand why you cant celebrate your birthday and gotcha day at the same time. Well because they aren’t the same thing, my birthday was the day I was brought into this world gotcha day is when my family was made whole.

I didn’t always feel this way, when I was a teenager I didn’t really want to celebrate it anymore I felt that it really made me different and since I wanted to feel a part of something I asked my mom to stop celebrating it, instead I asked her if we could just cook something special at home. It took me until my senior year of high to realize that ‘umm my mom isn’t going to be here forever and maybe I should like to be a part of something different.’

To me, gotcha day is something that you celebrate as more of a family event it is when my family became whole. Gotcha day is a way to see how your child is feeling about their adoption because one year you can accept adoption but the next year you can’t understand why you were given up.

Gotcha day to me is something special a day just to connect with my family one on one. It made me feel special and I felt a part of my family. I felt like I could go to anyone in my family and talk to them about anything that was bothering me. Gotcha day has also made me realize the importance of showing that my adoption was something to be proud of and family is important, and they don’t have to be blood to count as family.

On a side note funny, my aunt is very involved with my life and she has decided to write a children’s book on gotcha day, which I will be a co-author and inspiration. So if you have any suggestions on what to put as the title of the book let me know.

“The adoption took time the love was instant.” -Anonymous

 

Tell It Like It Is

Today’s topic is talking about telling your child they are adopted. Now there are different ways to tell your child they are adopted and many possible outcomes. Today I am going to focus on the ways that I was told and the ways other people around me were told or not told.

My parents told me a story like a bedtime story about a man and a woman (using their names) who really wanted a baby, so they prayed, and they prayed to God in hopes that they would give them a baby. One day an angel called my parents and told them that there was a baby waiting for them, so they drove and drove and finally got to where the baby was, and it turned out that baby was me. My mom also liked to emphasize that I was grown from her heart and not her stomach. My parents also have recently shown me some books that they were going to use as backups if I had not comprehended the story they made up. Those books were sesame street about a couple named Susan and Gordon who had adopted a baby and the characters on the street wanted to know how they had a baby without Susan being pregnant. The other book was Tell Me About The Night I was Born, this book really talked about the celebration of adoption, how special it is and how a loving and caring family is all you need.

This summer I had the pleasure to meet one of my mom’s friend’s friend who happened to have adopted a little girl at birth and when I met her the girl was 9 years old. What made so her special was the fact that her parents had not told her yet that she was adopted, which was getting harder because a couple of her boy cousins had already mentioned to her that she was adopted, but her parents covered up their tracks quickly, so she had no idea. I had the chance to sit down and talk to her about it and she said that she was waiting for one of two things to happen first her daughter would flat out ask her if she was adopted or two the girl turns 13 and her mom would sit her down and tell her. To me personally being a teen is hard, you aren’t sure of yourself or what you want in the world and adding something that takes years for some to comprehend would just be an overload.

When writing this post, I talked to my mom a lot and she wanted me to say something that she learned in adoptive parenting classes was that the longer you wait the more it seems like adoption is wrong or something to be embarrassed about. The adoptive parents class also talked about how telling kids early helps with shaping the motto that families come in many different forms and this was just the way ours was formed. My mom also told me it is easier to tell children when they are younger before they start school that way so there is no way cousins or classmates could ruin the news or my moms fear of getting a biology class and doing a genetics assignment and realizing I have nothing in common with my parents.

I know I haven’t covered all the different ways to tell a child they are adopted, but I would love to hear from everyone. In the comments section feel free to talk about adoption how you were told, how you told or even if you just liked this post. I want to hear from you.

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.   – Richard Bach

Doesn’t Stop at the Papers

Adoption doesn’t just stop after the papers are signed. For some families, it can seem that once the papers are signed that will be the end, but in the day of social media, it isn’t hard to gain information and access about either birth parent or child. Even in a situation where an adoption can seem open but, can have its own problems.

Closed

Closed adoption is when birth parents forfeit their rights to have any contact with the child they are placing up for adoption. This is by not being able to contact them directly, the only way is to go through the adoption agency. This is an option that many parents take simply because it is the easiest at the time of adoption to do. In the long run, closed adoption can eat away at some birth parent’s feelings and child’s questions.

In the case of my adoption, I had a closed adoption, where I had no contact with my birth parents and they had no contact with me. It was only when I turned 18 I had heard anything about them. My birth father had sent a letter to the adoption agency in which I was placed, and the adoption agency had forwarded the letter on to my mother and finally, my mother gave it to me on my 18th birthday. In the letter, he had told me he wanted to get to know me, who I was and how my life was shaped. I decided to say okay, my mom and I mailed off a collage of pictures to him. After that, we didn’t hear anything back, for a few months.

Closed adoption isn’t as close as it used to be. In the time we are in now social media can be used to find someone. My mom also pointed out to me graduations are now live streamed on YouTube so if you have an idea of where the person you want to find lives now you can google to find out what school or social media they might have. This makes closed adoption very one-sided especially if you want to later reconnect with another party. While you might have found them on social media wanting to connect they could not the same interaction with you as you want with them, which leads them to be trapped. Closed adoption has its benefits, as the child has an out of sight out of mind feeling.

My adoption story has become like many others where they start out with a closed adoption but end up with contact with their birth parents. This to me forms its own category of a semi adoption where it is closed but sometimes anyone can make contact.

 Open

Open adoption is basically where a child or children are given up for adoption but at any time the mother or child can contact one another. This option is nice for kids who were put into the system later in life and already have a relationship with their biological family. Open adoption is nice for domestic adoption or if family members are not healthy and/or might have a sickness. Open adoption can also very into some degree of digression, where they could have some but not all contact information. There are families that choose to stay in contact throughout the child’s life. Open adoption is becoming more common now, helping the child cope with their adoption because of the open line of communication. A downside of open adoption weighs more on the adoptive parents, this is because some adoptive parents are concerned with who their child see as their real parents. Adoptive parents also worry about the birth parent’s boundaries, the birth parents might overstep and cause a problem between adoptive parents and child.

Adoption comes from the heart, but the adoption process comes from the Law. You should follow your heart, but be sure you also follow the law.- Irina O’Rear

Who Am I?

My name is Thea Robinson and by the time I was 2 I knew I was adopted. While many kids (understandably) wanted to talk about it and were confused I, on the other hand, knew what it was, processed it and did not want to talk about it. I knew my mom was my mom and there was nothing going to change that. My mom had always told me that I was grown in her heart and not her belly. I also knew that my brother was also adopted although we never talked about it.

For the most part growing up was very basic and normal. I had divorced parents and play lots of sports. I grew up in northern Virginia in Fairfax County, a suburb right outside of Washington D.C., but took VERY frequent trips to New York and Boston. Summers were spent in camps and on vacations with my mom’s friend’s children.

I grew up with the mindset that I was chosen, and that God had a plan for me. In school, I don’t remember much about telling the other kids that I was adopted other than when we did icebreakers I always had a fun fact to share about myself. The only time I can recall that someone had a problem with me being adopted was in 3rd grade when I told a girl and she said, “I don’t like kids who are adopted they always seem to talk about that and they are weird” this was a complete shock to me and I just brushed off her comments without even telling my mom.

When middle school started I was very snoopy and home alone often, so I would dig in my mom closet and search her drawers. One time I did this and ended up finding my adoption papers and that was when I found out I was not an only child, I had an older sister. My mind was racing, and I waited for my mom to come home, I was broken. I ruined my own image of how my adoption was I felt that someone didn’t want me because I was me, I felt unchosen, unwanted, and unloved. After my mom came home she and I went for a long walk and she kept on reminding me of all that I had now, parents who loved me and a family that cared for me. Adoption had a new face for me, I pushed everything down, so I didn’t realize how I was processing everything. It felt my mom was hurting to me because I couldn’t stop talking about my adoption or my birth parents, I thought that it close to saying that I did love or appreciate her.

When I turned 18 I was gifted a letter from my biological father telling me all about him and how he wanted to get to know me. I was surprised, I thought that my birth family didn’t want anything to do with me after they gave me up. His letter was a pleasant feeling and at first, I didn’t know what to do, but my mom seemed to be excited so I decided to send him pictures of me growing up and currently. I got more and more in touch with him and told him about my life and one day he gave me the contact information for my biological sister. I talked to her for a little bit but I realized I was doing this for them and not me I wanted everyone else to be happy, but I wasn’t. I got very paranoid and everything that they wanted to know about me seemed like they wanted to get to know my medical history. I was scared, and I found out my birth father was sick assuming the worst I cut all communication with them.

A few years later after my grandmother had passed I realized that I needed to open up more to people and actually figure out who I was and what I wanted in life. That meant reconnecting with my birth family and being more open to them. Through this blog, I will share my stories and the stories of others in the real truth of how adoption doesn’t end the moment the baby is handed over.

“I wasn’t abandoned. I was chosen. I was special.” -Steve Jobs