The Ties that Bind

Being an adopted child has led me to a greater understanding of myself.

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Feelings of separation and inferiority can trouble adopted children, but they can be overcome.

Eva Bellissimo, Staff Writer

Adoption is a topic that many know about but few discuss. Growing up as an adopted child, I understand why.

Approximately 135,000 children are adopted annually in the U.S., but the emotional journey of each adopted child is unique.

I always felt different from the rest of my friends. It wasn’t the cool type of different that would make me popular on the playground, but rather the type that made me feel like an outsider. When I was younger, I never wanted to tell anyone this secret about me because I was so scared of being different. Even worse than that, I was scared of being made fun of and picked on in front of everyone.

Now that I am almost 17, I have learned that it doesn’t really matter as much as I thought it did when I was a kid. Although it is a very important part of my life, I now realize that I cannot let that one small thing about me define my entire life. Even though there are downsides to being adopted, there are so many great things as well. 

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know I was adopted. My adoptive parents never wanted me to grow up questioning where I came from. They never wanted to lie to me. Ever since I can remember, I always knew that somewhere in the world I had biological parents. 

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know I was adopted. My adoptive parents never wanted me to grow up questioning where I came from.”

The thought never really bothered me as some may think it would. Many adopted children never learn about where they’re from, so I’d consider myself lucky in that aspect. 

I was born in Carson City, Nevada to a 21-year-old woman, and I have three biological siblings. I never really got to know this life, however, because I was adopted at just two-days-old. My parents were able to meet my birth mother and her family when they took me in.

My adoption is considered “open,” which means that my biological mother may contact me anytime if she wants to. I have a younger sister who was also adopted, but she comes from a different biological family.

Even though I’ve outgrown the feeling of shame that can come from being adopted, people around me still make jokes and comments. In the moment, it’s easy to laugh along with them and pretend it doesn’t hurt, but after a while, I can’t ignore how I feel. When I tell people that I’m adopted, the reaction is always different. Sometimes it is a good reaction, and they want to know more. But most of the time, it’s awkward and people don’t know what to say. 

Though I have an open adoption, so much of my life continues to be a mystery. As much as I love my family, I can’t help but wonder about my own history. What do my grandparents look like? How are my siblings doing? Those are questions I ask myself often.

Despite all of the struggles and worries I have encountered, being adopted has taught me a lot about myself. As a result, I have learned to become more confident in myself. At first, the only people who knew I was adopted were those who are very close to me. But now, I’ve opened up to others and have come to understand that their opinions, whether good or bad, cannot affect my self-worth.

Though it can be frustrating, there is something captivating about my life’s unknowns. What could my life have been like?  I may never know, but that won’t stop me from wondering,

For now, though I often think about meeting my biological family, I take stock in the incredible people who have raised me and who I’m proud to call family.