The Deeply Loved Project | My Story of Adoption : Part One
Well folks, The Deeply Loved Project has begun and my heart is full! I can’t believe the outpouring of love! If you don’t know, I am still taking submissions for adoption story’s until November 18th. For all the rules on how have your story accepted, visit my Facebook page —> HERE!!!! That will tell you everything you need to know!
Today is a big day, because I am kicking off these stories with MY story. I believe that the Lord has called me to share this story, His story, and I pray that it will reach someone and free them in the same way it has for me. Now, it’s long. haha. 29 years of seeking God’s face doesn’t just get summed up in a few words but with the help of Kristen Rocco of Love Notary, it’s all here for the first time and written so beautifully that I cried reading it, and I lived it! hahaha! Please read, share and comment and let someone you know, know that there is hope in the midst of pain. Psalm 126: 5-6 says “Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.” Here we go!
My Adoption Story: The Hard Times
“I was born in Santiago, Chile around September 20, 1987. I don’t know who my birth mother or father are and there’s a good chance I never will. That’s because at the hospital my birth mother came alone and gave an alias as she signed her medical papers to have me. The alias was meant to protect her from ever being found. I was adopted from an orphanage associated with the hospital where she gave birth. It was the place where all the babies went when their birth parents left them at the hospital. A group of nuns ran this facility. That was my home for about 3 months until my adoptive parents who I now call Mom and Dad came to rescue me.”
I have heard this exact adoption story, my adoption story, every December 19, which is the day my parents brought me home, for 27 years. We call it my homecoming and it’s an annual celebration. We have a family dinner and tell similar stories surrounding my birth and adoption year after year. We flip through family photo albums and remember all the precious memories we’ve made as a family while my parents reinforced the message they had hoped would shape the story I would tell myself and believe about my adoption. “We chose you, we went to Chile to get you, and only you,” they said.
My parents began considering adoption after 8+ years of infertility. They had thoroughly examined all their options and ultimately, they told me, the Lord led them to adoption. After much mental anguish of fertility issues and figuring out their next steps, at just the right moment, the pastor of their church encouraged them to speak to a member, Taylor Boone, who had close relations as an attorney for an orphanage in Chile. At that time, Chile didn’t adopt out many children because they were considered a treasure. The courts had to override a strict policy to even allow the adoption to happen. Because of Taylor’s influence in Chile, they were given special permission to come a meet me for the first time. After 2 years struggling through the system, my parents were on a plane to Santiago. . .
Before elementary school, I thought my adoption was cool! I felt special. I had this amazing personal story that I loved hearing about and talking about. But it became apparent to me as soon as I began interacting with other kids in elementary school that adoption was different and instead of being “the chosen one,” I had become “the abandoned one.”
I can actually visualize the playground area where another kid planted the seed that changed the perception of myself for 27 years. We were walking across the blacktop and she asked me about my parents and I said without any hesitation, “I’m adopted.” She asked me what adoption was and I told her that I was born in another country. She pressed on, “So they’re not your real parents? What happened to your birth parents? Did they not want you? Did they not love you enough to keep you?” All these questions overwhelmed me and I didn’t have any answers. I realized that although we talked about my adoption story, I had the answers to “what” but not to “why.” When I got home, I told my mom what happened at school and she told me that some kids won’t understand because they have a different story. “The important thing to know is that we love you and we chose you,” she reminded me.
Throughout elementary and middle school, I stopped sharing my adoption story. It became too painful. When kids would ask me about my family life, I played along as if I was like the other kids. I remember reading The Scarlet Letter and thinking if we had to wear a letter, mine would be “A” for “Abandoned.” Over the years, my self-worth went into the toilet. I thought I must be unlovable, unworthy to have been left in the hospital without parents. It would not be until high school – until I was 18 – when I would meet someone else who was also adopted.
I did my best to put on a happy face to the outside world over the years although my mom can tell stories about my lashing out. Blaming my outbursts on my “short time in this country” I told my mom after I got in trouble at school. The pain I felt inside was just too much to bear and it came out in different ways.
I found some solace in my faith and attended church and activities there on a regular basis even though I could never understand how God’s love was meant for someone like me. I didn’t know it then, but as a child the Lord had placed a specific verse over my life. Psalm 139:14 which says “I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works and I know that full well”. All thoughout my teenage years that verse came up, but my heart was so broken that I rejected it. My senior year of high school, my church had organized a trip to Peru to do mission work at a variety of places in the country where help was needed most. One of those places was an orphanage. It would become a full circle moment for me. It was my first trip to South America and I felt all sorts of emotions about it. When I stepped off the plane and into Peru for the first time, I had this feeling of connection, this overwhelming feeling that I was home. I took it all in – the sights, the people, the culture. This was the first time that the majority of people looked like me.
Our first stop was to the orphanage, which was set up like a school, and the teacher began explaining to the kids that we were there to help with their homework, play with them at recess, basically interact with them in positive ways over the three days we were with them. As the teacher had finished her introduction of us, this little girl got out of her seat and ran up to me and gave me a great big hug. I was in shock and the tears just came pouring out. I couldn’t believe she did that. I was the only non-white person in the group and all I can figure is that it gave her hope that someone who lived in America looked just like her.
As the experience wrapped up, there was only one more thing for me to do. I was asked to give my testimony to the children of the orphanage. I was honored and also scared to share my testimony about my adoption story that would relate to the experiences that these kids were currently living through. I knew I had to do it so I pulled myself together and hoped that my story would inspire them. It was also the first time that my fellow church members heard my real story. There were a lot of tears, but I made it through and I felt like I made an impact and left a lasting impression on those children, something I’ll never forget.
New feelings of belonging began to set in throughout the mission trip. It was something different than I had ever felt before. Most people feel this with their blood family and although my adoptive parents are my parents, I have never felt what it’s like to be related to someone like that. Being in Peru provided that to me.
On the last day, we toured Lima and I had begun to divulge more about my adoption story to my group. A girl named Mandy overheard me and said, “Oh! I’m adopted too!” She was so excited about it. It seemed like it wasn’t a big deal to her and for me, I never voluntarily told anyone that I was adopted unless I trusted them. To me, it was a loveless thing, a secret. I was in awe of Mandy and her ability to be so happy about it.
When I got back to the states, I grew some confidence in my adoption story. Mandy gave me confidence. Finding connection at the orphanage gave me confidence. I started to build strength and it felt like a step forward…
Until I got to summer school that year – I was taking a PE class to finish my last credit and I met two people who I had considered friends by the end of the summer. We were having lunch one day and I felt comfortable enough to try out this renewed sense of worth in my adoption story. I told them I was adopted and the guy turned to me and said without even one thought, “Your birth parents must not have loved you.” Those eight words were enough to lock up my story again for years. It was in the safety box and I had all but lost the key.
I came to terms with the fact that this story of mine would not have a place in the real world, which in turn meant that I didn’t have a place in the world. And my reality became based in my story that I wasn’t good enough, I was unlovable, I was abandoned. In the Bible, there’s a scripture that says we’re all adopted into His love. My faith was strong but I could never make sense of this. To me, being adopted wasn’t a good thing. At one point, I couldn’t even hear the word “adoption” without crying.
I tried hard to be another version of myself in college. A girl who was happy, inspired and excited about life. But these negative feelings still lived inside of me. I, however, did look forward to a summer study abroad experience which took me back to Peru. Each summer, I got to belong again. While it’s hard to explain, Peru allows me to be my authentic self. It’s definitely symbolic in my life. I try hard to remember the sense of self I feel there when I’m home.
Fast forward to after college graduation. It was 2013 and I had started a new romantic relationship. After close to a year, the relationship fell apart and I was to blame. I sabotaged it and it was because I didn’t think I was good enough. My incredibly patient and forgiving roommate, Alexa, was with me through the entire relationship. She saw what I did to drive it into the ground and after it was over, she gracefully said how concerned she was about me, lol, and that I should consider counseling. “I really think it will help,” she said.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of My Adoption Story: “A Turning Point”, on November 22nd.
[…] this part of my story for the first time EVER! I secretly wish that every mean kid of person from Part 1 could see this and just be totally amazed! haha! By the way, if you haven’t read part one, PLEASE […]
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