This is the second of the Adoption series that I wanted to post on. You can read the intro of the series here: Adoption April, and last week's first entry here: Adoption April : Why I Was Adopted. Today's post is all about how I grew up being adopted. From what my parents told me from the beginning and how we as a family treated adoption.
I think that how my family addressed my adoption is what made my adoption special and made it work as a family as well. If I adopt, as my parents did, I could never imagine keeping a secret like that from my child, and being adopted, I don't think that that would have been a good idea. I think if my parents told me "when I was old enough to truly understand", or at some milestone birthday it would have had a different effect on me. I also am glad it wasn't a secret because then I feel like I could have resented the process or being adopted. Since I knew from day one, I have never thought about resenting adoption or my birth parents or parents.
My parents thought that me knowing I was adopted was an important part in my life. I am really thankful that my parents told me and I have never once questioned or been mad at my birth mom for 'giving me up'. I have always been told that my birth mom knew that she couldn't give me the 'best life' and the most opportunity, so she decided that adoption was a better option for her at the time, instead of keeping me. I totally agree with her decision and see her reasoning. If I was to get pregnant right now, I would honestly consider the same options. I don't think that "giving me up" is a good way to look at being adopted and why should you be angry about someone giving you a better chance at a life? I don't think adoption is because someone didn't 'want you', it's because they were wise and unselfish enough to let you go.
Many people have different ideas about adoption and I know some people are totally against it, don't understand it, and whatever your thoughts may be, the way that I was raised worked the best for my situation and made me understand and realize what a great thing adoption is and how great it can be for any family.
Around our house there were books that explained adoption in 'kid terms'. My parents would read me these books if I chose and I think this is what helped me understand at a very small age. These books might had had me come up with questions, and the questions were always answered to the best of my parents abilities and their knowledge. It was very open topic to talk about. They were always also willing to talk to me about it at any time. I feel like this really allowed me to understand that it was a good thing and it's not that my birth parents didn't want me, but that they chose to give me a 'better life' because they couldn't offer me that. Nothing was 'my fault' about my adoption, and I wasn't adopted because my birth parents didn't want me.
I think that is a great way to view adoption, and I think my adoption also was very easy to deal with because my parents never tried to hide anything from me. Another thing that was important to our family was that we always celebrated my brother's and my "Adoption Day." It was celebrated on the day that we were legally adopted into the family. Back when we were in school both my parents would take off from work, and we would do whatever the Adoption Day person wanted to do. We would eat whatever they wanted to eat, go do fun things, like Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Beach, Mini Golf, Bowling, surfing (My brother is a hardcore surfer). I even remember making my entire family wear purple because it was my favorite color that day. Strange, but true! It was a day dedicated to the adopted person.
A lot of great memories were made on these days, and it was almost like a 2nd birthday because we would get cards and small gifts. I think it was also important to celebrate the day because it brought recognition to the fact that we were adopted, and my parents were so happy to have me and my brother that they celebrated it. Looking back, that is why my Adoption Day (January 23) is always so special to me. It was the day I officially became a part of my family and it was to be celebrated!
I think by growing up in a home where adoption was accepted and that I always knew I was adopted really helped me understand the concept. I also think that having really open parents who were willing to talk about the process and who explained to me that adoption wasn't because I was 'unwanted' but because God wanted me elsewhere was also very important. My entire family and all my friends always knew that I was adopted, which I also think was a wise decision. I'm glad my parents didn't tell me when I turned 16, or 10 or something like that, and it was always just a known fact for as long as I can remember.
I think it was because of my 'open' adoption that I don't have any resentment towards my parents about adopting me, or my birth parents about giving me up for adoption. I could see how people could harbor these feelings if it was sprung on them that they were adopted.
Here's a picture of me and my little brother when we were little! :) Can you tell that we aren't related.
Those BANGS!!! :) A family picture from a long time ago.
Next week Monday I'm excited to share my personal thoughts on Adoption and how I feel that adoption has affected me and how I deal with some of the questions that I do get on occasion. Remember, the last post of Adoption April will be an open Q&A, so feel free to email me with ANY question. Seriously, I don't mind at all. Email me (danicakoo) (@) (gmail) (dot) (com)