One thing you need to know about me is I believe everything happens for a reason. There are a lot of people who don’t believe this philosophy, but I know firsthand that it’s true. Are you thinking to yourself, “How could she possibly know it’s true?”. Well, let me answer that by telling you my story.
My brothers, Sean (newly 22 years old – Happy Belated!) and Christian (17 years old), and I were all adopted from birth. The first people to hold each one of us the moment we were born into the world were our Mom and Dad. I have never known any other parents other than my own, but I can’t count how many times people have asked me if I’ve “ever met my “real” parents. Someone in my situation could be offended by this but most of the time I just laugh because I forget that I don’t look like anything like my Mom or Dad. My brothers and I are bi-racial (half black, half white) and my parents are both white. My simple response has always been “I’ve only had two parents and they’re as real as it can get”.
If you look up the meaning of the word “family” what you’ll read is: “a group of persons of common ancestry” or “a group of individuals living under one roof”. With that in mind, if you were to look at a photograph of my family without any previous knowledge about us, you would most likely assume we’re not a family. I believe the definition of a “family” is antiquated and needs updating. To me, family is a bondage that cannot be broken. Family is a group of people who love, respect, support and look out for one another – unconditionally. I don’t believe blood ultimately defines that bondage or makes the bondage “real.”
I don’t resemble my parents externally. My eyes are brown as is my skin tone. My Dad has crystal blue eyes and my Mom’s are hazel. Yet, I know I’ve inherited many of their characteristics and traits. My Dad has the biggest heart; I get my compassion and understanding from him. He is also one of the most knowledgeable people I know – his head is always in a book. My love for sports comes from him as well. We grew up with sports being a common household topic. He taught me all the basics: how to shoot a jump shot; how to use my left hand to dribble; and how to throw a baseball/football. Growing up, my Dad treated me like my brothers and I will always be grateful that he held me to the same, if not higher, expectation as them.
With my Mom, she and I are seriously best friends (though she always reminds me she’s my Mom first). If we grew up together, I know we would be inseparable, but I think it’s so much better having her as both a Mom and a friend. People, some who aren’t even aware that I’m adopted, have told me that I have the same mannerisms as my Mom and that is one of the greatest compliments I could ever receive. One thing my Mom always reminded us of growing up is “nature versus nurture” and when people comment on how alike I am to my Mom, I can’t help but smile because I know she’s right.
Without my Mom and Dad, I don’t know where I’d be today. I am so grateful for everything that they have done for me and my brothers. My Mom always told me that she knew our family was meant to be together – that everything happens for a reason. When I was a little girl, a toddler, I’d ask my Mom if I grew in her “tummy” and she’d always respond “You didn’t grow in my tummy, you grew in my heart”. So, for me, my family is a living example that everything truly does happen for a reason. Within my biological background, I am the first female to receive a Bachelor’s degree and to pursue a Master’s. Knowing that makes me proud and it encourages me to keep learning and growing into the best version of myself that I can be. I am who I am because of my two amazing and loving parents.
Mo mhuintir, mo chroí