What It's Like To Be Adopted - from an Adult Adoptee
November is National Adoption Month here in the U.S. This time last year, we gave a little background on how the day started, which you can of course read here! This year, we are incredibly honored and excited to share adoption stories from Adult Adoptees.
We have interviewed quite a few adults, all who were adopted at different ages, with the hope of shedding light on adoption from someone who has walked the road. Our desire with sharing these stories is that you would learn from their stories, be inspired by their lives and share their truths with your friends and family. We know these stories will impact adoptive parents, other adult adoptees and people out there who have thought about adoption for their family. Be blessed!
My name is Kelly, I’m from Alabama and I was adopted when I was 15 weeks old.
Growing up, I always felt proud to be adopted. My parents did a great job in helping me to feel special and instilling pride in me regarding my adoption story.
When I was a baby – adoption wasn’t talked about as it is now. There wasn’t as much research, trainings and education for adoptive parents on how to best support an adoptee. My parents did some things wrong (from what we know to be best practice today), but they also did a lot of things right.
One was that I ALWAYS knew that I was adopted and from a very early age my parents talked about adoption in a very positive and factual way. I vividly remember sitting at the kitchen table (at approximately 4-5 years of age) and my mom spreading all of my adoption paperwork and memento’s from South Korea out for me to see. It was such a special time that I still hold very dear to my heart.
The hardest part in relation to my adoption was being a transracial adoptee. I grew up in a suburb of Birmingham which consisted of primarily Caucasian and African American families. I was different, everyone knew I was different and there was a time when I just wanted to fit in. I was bullied at times and my self-esteem suffered until I found my identity in something much greater than solely my ethnic origin. It was a long journey but I believe I am much stronger, empathetic and knowledgeable than I would have been otherwise.
My feelings towards my parents and my relationship with them has changed over the years as most do. I would say the biggest difference is a true appreciation and respect for them. As I now work in child welfare (and specifically, “orphan” care), I am so much more appreciative of the decisions they made – not only to adopt but in parenting me while taking attachment and trauma into account instead of utilizing the typical, widespread and accepted parenting approaches.
My advice for people considering adoption would be really try and understand the realities of adoption. Adoption is HARD and not always the best choice for the child. If you are considering international adoption I would advise you to find an organization who first tries to reunite children with biological family, then moves towards domestic adoption and then, if the first two options do not work, the organization moves forward with international adoption.
Expectations and education greatly influence the successfulness of adoption. Not everyone is called to adopt but everyone is called to act (whether that is donating your time, resources, prayer, etc.) I once heard a quote (unsure of who originally said it) that has stuck with me. “The only thing worse than being called to adopt and not adopting is adopting and not being called to adopt.”
Due to the fact that I am an adoptee and work in child welfare/”orphan” care/adoption, people assume that I am “pro-adoption.” I, however, would not consider myself to be so. I DO believe that adoption is the best permanency plan for some children but definitely not all. Other options should be exhausted before adoption takes place (specifically, international adoption). I am a proponent and advocate of ethical adoptions when and if they are needed. Otherwise, I am even more passionate about children getting the care and resources that they need within their family, extended family and even larger community.
Being adopted myself I have felt a calling towards adoption. My husband and I plan to expand our family through adoption in the future as long as the Lord continues to make that purpose and calling clear.
Overall, my adoption story has been a very positive one so far. However, I realize and believe that my story may not be typical and that all adoptees have a story (positive and negative) to share. Thank you for sharing our stories!!!
Follow Kelly on Instagram: @KELLYGCURRY