“The way I see it…I’m not quite sure where I stand spirituality-wise, but I do believe in a very logical plan. Everything is going to happen the way it’s going to happen.”
This was one adoptee’s answer to the typical question: Do you ever wonder what life would be life if you hadn’t been adopted? Kristen, a college student with dreams of pursuing law, gave her response with a calm self-assurance that surpassed her 21 years. She reached out with a desire to share her adoption story, one that she hopes will convince others to pursue adoption for their families.
Growing Up with Adoption
One of the reasons Kristen is so open about her adoption is because her parents were open with her about it; for as long as she could remember, she knew she was adopted.
“My parents never had ‘the talk’ with me,” she said. “I just always knew that. It was always part of me. There was no having to accept it; it was just always there. I was so proud of it.”
And she was not the only adopted child in the house. Her brother was adopted from Russia, and they were only five days apart in age.
Growing up, they were very close – they played together, fought “like cats and dogs,” and supported each other through difficult times. Perhaps most importantly, though, they had a shared experience.
“I think surrounding adoptees with other adopted kids is very, very healthy,” Kristen said. “It’s kind of validating, in a way.”
Between her parents’ willingness to answer her questions and her brother’s role in her life, Kristen grew up feeling proud of her adoption and secure in her place in her family.
Reaching Out and Reuniting
When Kristen was a teenager, she decided to begin looking for her birth mother. She was able to get in contact with members of her biological family, but she was met with devastating news: her birth mother had passed away just a few years prior.
The silver lining was in the fact that she could communicate with her two biological sisters, who already knew about her and were willing to tell her as much as they could about her birth mother.
“I don’t know that much,” she said. “But I know how much she loved me, and I know she never forgot about me. I was talked about, and my sisters were raised knowing about me and wondering about me. So when I contacted them, it was pretty cool; they knew exactly who I was when I told them.”
Although her adoption was closed, Kristen learned through her search that it was never a secret, not even among her birth family. It was because of her birth mother – and birth mothers everywhere – that she so badly wanted to share her story.
“My heart just hurts for so many mothers that think – ‘What if they hate me? What if they think I didn’t want them?’ That’s so not how I feel. I wish I could tell Kim that, my entire life, I knew how much she loved me.”
In the future, Kristen would love to grow her own family through adoption. Occasionally, this decision has raised questions from others.
“The most common response I get is, ‘Well, don’t you want a child of your own?’ And I say, ‘It is my own,’ and they go, “But I mean one that comes from you, that looks like you.”
As she continued, her exasperation was more than evident. “Who cares what I look like? What I care about is who raised me and took care of me when I had a fever and comforted me when I got my heart broken in seventh grade.”
Kristen stated that she never doubted who her parents were. She described them as the ones who changed her diapers, cared for her as she grew, helped her discover her passion for horses, and continued to love and support her through even the hardest times.
“Blood runs thicker than water?” she said. “I beg to differ.”