In some ways adoptees are like everyone else. The people who raised us are our real families regardless of who gave birth to us. Our connection with that family is every bit as deep as if we were related to them biologically, even though some of us may look very different. The sisters I grew up with who were adopted don’t look anything like me, but there is no difference to me between them and the biological siblings I reunited with last year. Some of us will choose to search for birth family, while others may choose not to. It’s a personal choice that each adoptee has to make at some point.
In other ways we are different from everyone else. Many adoptees are denied their heritage and ancestral information. Most do not have access to their medical history. Adoptees are given an amended birth certificate at the time of adoption. The birth parents’ names are removed from the original and replaced with those of the adoptive parents. The original birth certificates are sealed by the courts. Today there are only a handful of states that allow any access to those original documents by the adoptee.
We need people to know that they shouldn’t assume things about adoption. Each person who is touched by adoption has a different story to tell. Some choose not to tell it at all. There are an endless number of reasons why someone would choose to adopt a child and an equal number of reasons why a person would place a child for adoption. No one needs to feel sorry for us or treat us differently from anyone else. If you are curious about the matter of adoption, just ask. Most adoptees are forthcoming about their story.
Ashley Foster is a freelance writer. She is a wife and a mother of two, currently residing in Florida. She loves taking trips to the beach with her husband and sons. As an infant, she was placed with a couple in a closed adoption. Ashley was raised with two sisters who were also adopted. In 2016, she was reunited with her biological family. She advocates for adoptees’ rights and DNA testing for those who are searching for family. Above all, she is thankful that she was given life.