To celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month, we are sharing resources to help prospective adoptive parents and adoptive parents in an adoption journey. But we think the best way to learn about adoption is from adoption perspectives, particularly the perspective of the adoptee, the part of the triad that doesn’t typically get to enter into adoption voluntarily. Today, we are sharing the perspective of an adoptee and Purl’s Administrative Assistant, Emily, who wanted to share more about her adoption story, and her thoughts and feelings towards her adoption (see her initial post here). Keep in mind that no two adoptions are the same, and you will hear both positive and negative stories of adoption from adoptees, but we are excited to share her perspective.

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My name is Emily, and I’m proud to be adopted.

I was adopted as an infant and have no idea who my birth family is. My adoptive family is the best thing I could ever ask for, but I have to admit I’m curious. I’m curious where my face comes from, my height, my color. I’ve always been different than the rest of my family, with dark skin and dark hair. I have never felt like this has defined me though and they’ve never made me feel any different. But being a multiracial child in a white family does come with its challenges. I’ve had to answer questions all my life about why I look different than the others in my family. I figure the best way to explain is to be honest, “I was adopted” I would say. Then this would raise questions like “Do you know your REAL parents?” or they would just respond with “Oh… I’m sorry”. I’ve never understood this. Why should someone be sorry for something I’m proud of? I’m proud to be adopted, if anything it’s my favorite thing about myself, my most interesting fact, the thing that makes me unique. And as for the question about my “real” parents, yes I do know them. They adopted me and have loved me through every part of my life. DNA doesn’t make someone “real” parents, love does.

IMG_2926.jpegAnother question on my FAQ list is “Why did your birth family give you away” or “Why didn’t they want you?” I hate these kinds of questions because placing a child for adoption isn’t an easy decision, and not wanting a baby isn’t always the reason. Parents who place their children for adoption should not be frowned upon, they should be acknowledged. I have very little information about my birth family. Simple information like where they’re from, if they had other children, and very little medical information. On the adoption papers, there’s a line that says (in rough terms) “Why do you want to place this child for adoption?”, and there’s only two words written underneath, they read “good family.” Although I really have no idea why they placed me for adoption, I am grateful in a sense and I know that they have their reasons. Maybe they had a poor living situation, maybe they wanted to give me the best chance at life. It’s not easy to give birth to a baby and not get a say in what happens to them, so I know that upon making this decision they had to have a reason. I will not judge them for that, I will salute them. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the difficult choice they have made for me.

As I got older, my curiosity about my genetics grew. I soon decided I wanted to take an Ancestry DNA test. This test gives information about your genetic ethnicity, identifies potential DNA matches, and also tells you if you have any genes that are linked to certain diseases or cancers. My results gave me a ton of information about my genetic makeup, but there weren’t really any matches for close relatives. However, I did end up connecting with a distant cousin that messaged me from Ancestry. Her name is Aalyssa and she’s 18 years old. Although I didn’t have any matches with closer relatives, having found at least one person that could actually be related to me is rewarding enough. Aalyssa is super sweet and I love talking to her, so I’m really glad we met. It’s also nice to meet someone with some sort of resemblance to me!

I believe my story is unique, not every adoption is like mine. Adoption has been a positive experience for my family and I. However, I have no means of knowing the toll it took on my birth family. My adoption was closed, I’ve never had any contact with my birth family and have never seen what they look like. The one thing my parents have done for both my brother (who was also adopted) and I, that I believe was beneficial, was never hiding it from us. There’s nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to being adopted. I believe being adopted is a gift. My parents have reminded us that we were adopted and we are loved everyday since I can remember. My personal opinion, although everyone’s adoption situations are different, I believe adoptive parents should be open with their children through adoption about where they come from. These children should be taught that being adopted isn’t an exclusively negative thing. Although the adoption process itself, and the situations surrounding the adoption may have been hard and daunting, children through adoption can be very proud to be adopted!

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