Adoption definitely has had an effect on my life. But does it affect my daily life? It is easy to say that my life most definitely is affected every day by adoption. But adoption also has a continuing effect on my life.
Through years of experience, I have learned to value the importance of spending time with loved ones. Whether your family is built by adoption, biologically, or both, the family unit is vital to holding society together. Without adoption in the picture, it can be easier to trace family history and ancestors. When adoption is involved, this can be much more complicated. Our family unit, including extended family, consists of both biological and adopted family members.
My life has been affected by adoption in one way or another for over 40 years! I didn’t think about it very much when I was younger, but in my teens, I was dating a boy (now my husband) when his family adopted a baby boy. He already had several other siblings and a sister who was adopted. I watched in awe as this family came together and loved this new baby. I would often rock him to sleep in the evenings when his mother was out. This baby boy grew into a loving, caring man who had instant connections with my future children and especially the many foster children we had in our home. His presence has an effect on my life.
Years later,I became friends with his siblings and we share many special experiences and family memories. These relationships have affected my daily life.
Our own family is affected daily by adoption—two of my children are adopted. Whether I see them or not, they are constantly in my heart and on my mind. My children probably have no idea how they impact my everyday life.
On the other hand, I don’t go around discussing my adoption experiences with everyone I meet. It is part of my story, but it doesn’t define me—just as it doesn’t define the lives of those who are adopted. People who were adopted have an identity and are individuals with unique traits and talents to share. Every day they live with the knowledge of their adoption, but it does not have to affect everything they do. The act of adoption has had an effect on their lives. How it affects them every day is different for each of them. My hope is that it is a positive part of their stories.
I asked my niece to share her thoughts with me about how her daily life is affected by adoption. This is her reply.
“With a 3, 4, and 5-year-old I don’t know what my life even is outside of adoption, it’s a lot of therapy for all of us.
I’d say, as a mixed-race, mixed-faith, and neurodiverse family, you’re always scanning for narratives and words and situations that will be problematic for your kids. I’m aware when I drop my daughter off at school that a boy poked her nose, called her flat nose, and laughed. I’m aware when I go to the dentist that my sensory sensitive kiddo will have a rough time with the vibrating cleaning tool and water tool. I’m extra aware of my youngest daughter who takes off her clothes when she is mad, so I watch for triggers at the park. It’s constantly scanning all the time anticipating your children’s reactions. We’re not a cookie-cutter family that all look the same and have similar tendencies and personalities. We’re a very diverse family, so for me as a mom, it’s a lot of extra work anticipating my children’s unique needs.”
A friend of mine placed her baby for adoption several years ago. I asked her if it still has an effect on her life. This is her response.
“It’s been over 13 years since making the decision to place my baby for adoption. Some may think that would be plenty of time, that I definitely would have ‘moved on’ by now. However, I can honestly say I don’t think a day goes by that something doesn’t make me think about him. Some days I see him in the kids I have with my husband now of 10 years, or other times I might see a young boy at the park who has the same hair color and tan skin. Even in those moments, I don’t regret choosing adoption. It reminds me that I am grateful for what life has brought to myself and him. Though I am not perfect, those daily reminders make me want to be better for if and when we meet, he will see the life that I have lived and know because of him, I was able to find happiness! God has blessed me with an amazing husband and kids and I do believe if I had kept him, my life would be totally different. I would have tried to make things work with the birth dad (who wanted nothing to do with being a father).
I don’t think many women want to give away their baby, that was the hardest and saddest thing I’ve ever gone through. But forcing a family with the birth dad would have been that as well. I didn’t want to choose that for my baby who deserved so much better. I deserved better too. I’m thankful for the strength I was given to choose that for us!”
No matter what part of the triad you are in, your life will forever be affected by the event of adoption.
Cindy Hill has seen all sides of the adoption triad throughout her life. At the age of 9, she watched as her sister placed her baby for adoption. She married her high school sweetheart who had two adopted siblings and later adopted two of their six children. Adoption is a blessing in her life. Cindy and her husband recently sold their home of 26 years and became empty-nesters. They currently live in a destination trailer on their oldest daughter’s property along with their two dogs and a small herd of cattle. Cindy’s hobbies include going to garage sales, decorating, teaching piano lessons, spending time with grandchildren, and writing. She is a Teacher’s Aide in the Science department of a charter school. She and her husband also enjoy traveling together. Writing gives Cindy a chance to reflect on life and look at it from other points of view as well.