Contributed by Rebekah Hall, MSW, Director of Youth and Family Services
It seems these days that every month is “National” something or other. I think it is a wonderfuhandsfeetl way to shed light on different topics ranging from Black History to Child Abuse Prevention or Domestic Violence. What you may not know is that November is National Adoption Month. National Adoption Month can mean different things to different people. For me, National Adoption Month is personal. It is personal because it is the world in which I work and it is personal because I am a child who was adopted.
National Adoption Month is more then just a month to bring awareness to adoption; it is also a time to reflect on what adoption means to me. Adoption looks different for everyone. Every adoptee has a different story and no story is the same. My adoption story began when I was just a few days old and the wife of my parent’s attorney brought me home to them from the hospital. You see, thirty-some years ago adoption was still pretty secretive. My parents didn’t know the name of the hospital where I was born. In fact, until a couple of years ago I didn’t even know the name of the hospital where I was born. However, while my era of adoption was covered in mystery and secrecy, that was not my experience. My experience was one of openness and honesty. Adoption was something that my parents talked to me about from an early age. While they didn’t (and still don’t) have many details about my birth parents I have always known I was adopted. It was never something that was hidden. Instead it was something that was embraced and celebrated. My grandma often recalls a time when I was 5 years old, sitting in the backseat of her car, sharing my adoption story with my cousin. She almost had to pull the car over she was so surprised.
Adoption for me has always been something that made me feel special and unique. I was adopted. I didn’t become my parent’s child in a traditional sense (at least in my mind). Now, I realize that there are many people who are adopted out there but, to me, being adopted is still something that makes me feel special and unique. I realize that there are adoptees out there that have very different feelings about their adoption. As I said, each and every one of our stories is different and that is okay. I can only share my story. I can only share how grateful I am that my birth mother chose life. How grateful I am that she chose to make the courageous and selfless decision of placing me for adoption. How thankful I am to have parents who love me unconditionally and for an extended family who doesn’t see me as the “adopted relative” but just their relative and part of the family.
Today as I sit here at my desk working on writing home studies and post placement supervisory reports I can’t help but smile. As I work on approving families to adopt and supervising children who are in the process of being adopted I can’t help but smile. I smile because their story is my story. My parents were the ones sitting on the other side of some desk waiting to be told they were approved to adopt. I was that child who was being supervised while my parents waited for my adoption to be finalized. I smile because if I had not been adopted would be I doing the work that I am doing now? Who knows! What I do know is that I would not trade any moment of seeing families brought together every day through adoption. You never forget the look in a family’s eye when they see their child for the first time. I see that look and know that it was the look that my parents had in their eyes the first time they saw me.
Interested in learning more about adoption? Visit our adoption website at www.adoptionandpregnancycenter.org