Family matters: Glad to be adopted

Story by Mary Faith Covey

“You’re adopted?” people ask just to make sure they heard me right. They always seem surprised when I tell them. Their eyes widen, and their mouths drop open, like it changes their opinion of me or something. I’ve never really figured that one out. I never lived in an orphanage, or with anyone other than my adoptive parents, so I haven’t known anything different. The only way another family might be different from mine, is we aren’t all the same color.

My adoption was open, so I’ve met my birth mom and seen pictures of my birth dad, but they aren’t really a part of my life. My parents have never been hesitant about me contacting my birth parents.

My adoption was always just a natural part of my life. They never tried to keep it a secret. If I tried to pinpoint a time when my parents actually sat me down and told me I was adopted, I couldn’t. I just always knew.

My birth mom put me up for adoption when she was 15 years old. She was way too young, and knew she could not have done a good job raising me. I’m eternally grateful that abortion wasn’t an option for her. An unplanned pregnancy doesn’t really have an easy way out, but my mom and dad were closest to the perfect solution. They wanted kids, but couldn’t have them and had decided to adopt.

They had gone through the adoption process once before, but the birth mother ended up taking her daughter back before it was finalized. In Texas, birth mothers sign over temporary custody to the adoptive parents or adoption agency, and the adoption isn’t finalized before a judge until six months later. They tried again, and ended up meeting my birth mother this time. They wrote to her, and she wrote back until she was sure they were the right people for me. I was born soon after that, and the adoption was finalized.

About three years after I was born, my mom, dad and I began praying for God to send me a little brother. My great-grandma had made my mom promise not to have an only child, because she knew my parents would spoil me. About a year later, my baby brother was adopted. My mom says I cried and begged my dad to take him back, but I’m definitely going to deny that.

My brother and I are not related by blood, but we might as well be. We fight, annoy each other, love each other…sometimes, and have thousands of inside jokes just like any set of siblings. I’d even go as far as to say that not having the same mom or dad has not affected our relationship at all. He’s my brother, and I’m his sister. That’s all there is to it.

When I think about the definition of adoption, I always remember the words of some comedian. “My parents chose me, yours just got stuck with you,” he said. It’s kind of brutal, but it always makes me laugh.

When someone sees a family that consists of a white mother and father, and two kids of a different race, they easily assume the children are adopted. It makes sense that while my dad was still alive, it was pretty obvious my brother and I were adopted, since he was white. But after he died, it wasn’t blatant anymore. Now, nobody really knows unless I tell them, or they knew me before my dad died.

For some reason, people like to ask me if I’m ‘mixed’, as if they can’t tell by looking. Then they proceed by saying something along the lines of, “Yo momma white, and yo daddy black?” Since I’m adopted, I always tell them both of my parent’s are white. It’s the truth, and I just love the confused look they give me. If I know them, I’ll explain after laughing at the look of confusion. If I don’t, I just walk away.

When I was younger, I used wondered what life would be like, had I not been adopted. I guess I didn’t quite understand why my birth mom had given me up. As I grew older, I realized she had done what she knew was best for me. She wanted to ensure me a better life with more opportunities than she could give.

Adoption just seems so logical to me. Much more so than abortion. I can’t understand why It’s not more socially acceptable. I guess it has to do with the way people view it. Adoption is not ‘giving your baby away’, it’s really giving your baby a family. It takes more courage, love and selflessness to make an adoption plan, than to have an abortion. Thanks to those qualities being present in my birth mother, I am here, and my future is so bright you might need shades.