Monday, March 1, 2010
As some of you no doubt know I'm adopted. I was adopted at birth (within minutes of my first breath) and was raised by my parents William and Carolyn. As you can no doubly tell it's never been a secret in our family that I was adopted. My parents after struggling to have children were finally given the chance to be parents.
My birth was something of a whispered secret on the military base where I was born. My (birth) mother wasn't married to my father at the time and from what I later learned he was abusive. They were also of difference ethnic backgrounds. My mother decided that what would be best for everyone involved was to place me for adoption. My (adopted) parents doctor knew of my parents struggle and talked to them about adopting me. After some genetic testing to find out my dominate traits* the doctors decided to give me to my parents. My parents had about a week to prepare for their new bundle of joy and my mother went crazy baby shopping.
After my birth my parents went through the legal hoops to finalize the adoption. Since I was technically an Italian being adopted by Americans my fathers transfer out of Italy was a problem. I wasn't legally their kid so my birth mother had to fill out all kinds of papers to let me be taken from the country. The Italian government also requires 3 years of home studies before the adoption could be finalized. So after 3 years I was officially their kid.
Growing up I never thought anything of being adopted it was more a problem of my mixed background. People were confused when they saw us out and my mother remembers someone thinking she was my nanny. Over the years I wondered about my (birth) mother. If I had any siblings out there. My (adopted) mother is also adopted so she understood my need for answers. In my teen rebellion phase I uttered the one statement all adopted parents dread...you're not my real parents anyway and my mother and I have had our struggles. Friends mostly didn't care( the military breeds racism out of you) other then the random your parents don't look anything like you. Into my adult years co-workers were shocked to find out my parents were black (whole other kettle of fish). Dating in the south could be problematic, looking not black while having to explain my black adopted parents cut a few relationships short.
There are funny times like when well meaning sales people make the comment that I look just like my (adopted) mom. We say thanks and laugh about it later.
Overall I think being adopted opens your mind to the whole idea of love. That family isn't just blood. Family is whatever you make it, that friends can become like family. That you can be born into a family but can forge yours out of whatever you want.
* The genetic testing was because if I had white dominate traits I would have been given to a white family. There is this belief that minority children need to be raised by minorities. Even today it's hard for non blacks to adopt black children and vice versa.