Adoption means many different things to many different people. Chances are, you know someone who is adopted, or you may even be adopted yourself. If you cannot think of someone you know who is adopted, chances are there is someone in your life that doesn’t even know that they are. Personally, my parents chose not to keep it from me or my brother, and honestly I think that was the greatest way for them to handle it. We both also have open adoptions, so we both have contact with our biological families. This has given me the
chance to truly understand where I came from, as well as the effect a single action can have in not only your life, but the lives of so many others.
If you read Erin’s article about abortion, you’ll recall that she mentioned she had cousins who were adopted. A set of 4 and 2. I am one of those 4. My older brother, Jacob, was adopted first. His mother was 16, but grew up raising her two younger brothers. She told my parents, that early on she knew that if she ever found herself pregnant young, she would give the baby up for adoption. She was actually 15 when she became pregnant, but 16 when she gave birth. Not only did she receive ridicule from kids her age, her own father shut her out. Despite that, she stuck it out, and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for that. She gave me my best friend. Although I wasn’t even alive yet, I came soon after.
My parents had been on the waiting list for China before they found out about Jacob, and then were back on it before they found out about me. Funny enough, neither of us were found through adoption agencies, but through friends. Obviously as the process began, agencies were used, but that’s not how it started. That’s also normally not how it works out. My dad’s childhood friend was actually counseling my brother’s birth mother in church. She mentioned that she was scared she wouldn’t be able to find a family, because she heard it was so hard to find people. Wrong. She didn’t know that just over the Florida state line, up in Georgia, a couple was doing everything they could to find a baby. My dad’s friend mentioned that he knew a guy who had been looking. He mentioned what a nice guy my dad was, and to that, she asked if he would take her baby. And so the process began. Of course a lot went on there, but how little did she know that her simple question would be the beginning of a family.
Next up is me. Jacob and I are 20 months apart, so it wasn’t like our adoptions were right on top of each other. My parents headed back to China, wanting a sibling for my brother. Suddenly, another connection happened, this time in Texas. A friend of my brother’s biological grandmother knew my biological grandparents, and she shared Jacob’s story. My birth mother was interested, and came into contact with my mom, simply wanting to hear more about it, and asking for advice on how to select a couple. My mom didn’t want to jump at the poor 18 year old girl and tell her she wanted me, but eventually, my birth mother brought it up. And thus began my adoption. My parents were cautioned that adoptions rarely go smoothly twice, and that they probably would not get me. But, they did.
My parents decided to be open with us about our adoptions, not because they were afraid we’d guess, but because they knew they couldn’t lie to us. I am so grateful for this, because it allowed me to know where I came from. At a young age, I didn’t really understand what it meant. I wasn’t really sure who this woman was that called me and visited occasionally. All I really knew was she was a lady who loved me a lot. And, at the time, that was all I really needed to know. As I grew up, I understood what it all meant. An 18 year old girl carried me, gave birth to me, and then handed me over to two adults and a brother. My family. She gave me my family. By allowing me to live, she gave me a chance. And by giving me up for adoption, she not only gave me a family, she expanded the number of people who love me so immensely.
I will forever be grateful to the girl who decided to let me live. I have tried to convey that to her before, but I don’t think I ever really will. How do you thank someone for doing the most selfless thing by putting herself aside, and deciding that the life she created was number one priority? I truly do not want to belittle anyone who has made a different decision. I am 18 now, and just trying to imagine how drastically my life would change if I found myself pregnant right now makes my head spin. I’m getting ready to go off to college. Couldn’t do that. I want to be a nurse. Couldn’t easily do that. Even if I gave the baby up, my life would still shift. I’d be forever changed. So I understand the thought process. But I do not condone the action of taking a life. How selfish to put yourself above your child. Because that is what it is. A child. Your child. And there is no such thing as an unwanted child. The biological parents may not want that baby for whatever reason, but you walk into an adoption agency, or a fertility center, and I promise you will find countless people willing to take that child, because, there is no such thing as an unwanted child.
I truly hope that through me sharing my story, more people will come to understand what adoption really is. It is not some dirty thing that anyone should be ashamed of. So many people hope and pray for a child, and adoption is such a beautiful thing. I am proud to be adopted. I am grateful for the sacrifices made so that I could live. I am grateful for adoption. I am grateful for the chance at the life I deserve, and everyone deserves life.
I am very open to answering any question about my adoption! However, I am not very big on debating, so please only message actual questions. I would love to talk to anyone who has even the simplest of questions. Instagram: leahashere_