How Being Adopted Changed My Life

How Being Adopted Changed My Life

A Thanks to My Parents

I’ve had a wonderful life. I was provided all of my necessary needs. I was given so many opportunities that have shaped me into who I am today. I’ve been given the chance to be a musician, an equestrian, and a full-time college student. There’s just one catch: I grew up not knowing who my real parents were.

I was adopted by my parents soon after I was born. I realize that my life could have been entirely different had I not been adopted at birth. There’s so much that I don’t know about who I truly am. In a way, I think that it’s a good thing that I don’t know much, but there’s also that sense of wonder. I’ve always wondered who my birth parents are, why they chose to give me up for adoption, what culture I’m from, and why I am the way that I am. I’ve always wanted to know who I really am. But here’s the thing that gets me every time: I wouldn’t be the way I am today if it weren’t for my adoptive parents.

I was never in an orphanage and I’m truly thankful for that. I’ve been given so many opportunities in my life that I couldn’t even begin to thank them for. They’ve given me a good home, a good education, a good chance at a music-education and most importantly, the most amazing opportunity to ride horses and become a strong-willed and successful equestrian.

They’ve been to so many soccer games and basketball games over the years. They’ve always been at my marching band competitions. They’ve ALWAYS been at EVERY horse show since I was 6 years old. Regardless of how cold or hot it was, how far away it was, or how long it was going to be, they were there for every moment. They’ve driven countless hours to go to shows or vacations. They’ve always had my best interest in mind. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be a double equine major. I wouldn’t have had all of the fantastic opportunities to show so many amazing horses if they hadn’t adopted me. I wouldn’t have half of the friends that I’ve made in the past.

So in a way, I must thank my birth parents for giving me up for adoption. It was the best thing that has happened to me and will, most likely, be the best thing to EVER happen to me. There’s still so much to learn and so much to think about but I know my adoptive parents will always be standing by my side no matter what I decide to do.

They’ve told me that when I’m ready, they’ll help me search for who I really am. Since the time I was brought home from the hospital, they’ve been telling me that I was adopted. I remember my mom telling me around 1 ½-2 years old. Rather than sitting me down in those “honey, sit down. We need to talk,” moments, they’ve been telling me the story because they felt that they shouldn’t hide it from me. They’ve been there for me throughout my whole life and I know they’ll always be by my side, regardless of where or why. I know they will always love and support me and in my book, that’s what true love is.

Cover Image Credit: Kaylee Adamek

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Life Lessons From A Competitive Baton Twirler

Whether you're a baton twirler or not, these lessons are the keys to success and happiness in every aspect of life.

If you've ever played a sport, you know that it takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to be your best, and if you don't really love it, you'll never reach your true potential. Even then, there are times we may feel like giving up because we feel like we'll never be good enough, we'll never get that move perfect, we'll never win. Nevertheless, WE PERSIST, and we're better people because of it. Here are some important lessons I've learned through twirling.

1. Resilience Is Key.

Whether it be doing a trick over and over again, or continuing to plug away at that math problem until you finally get it, resilience is essential to success. No matter how long it takes, you can do it! You will get frustrated, you will want to give up, you will feel there's no hope at times, but if you keep going and push passed that you'll be amazed at the things you can accomplish.

2. Success Is Internal.

There will be times when you go out and do your absolute best, but when the results come out they aren't what you feel you deserved. Your self-worth is not determined by a professor, a friend, a family member, or a judge behind a table. If you are happy with the job that you did, that's all that matters. Do what you love for you, not for the approval of someone else.

3. Don't Hold Back.

Sometimes we feel like we need to play it safe, but when you've worked your butt off for days, weeks, months, or years, don't let the fear of failure hold you back! Go out with confidence, and give it your all. Show them everything you've worked so hard on, lay it all on the line, and enjoy what your hard work has given you. Even if it doesn't go exactly how you wanted, at least you will know you didn't sell yourself short, and that is an accomplishment in itself (and it will be so much easier next time!)

4. Lift Others Up.

It's so easy to play into he game of competition, but in the end we're all working towards the same goal. We all want to be the best we can be. So, instead of avoiding those you see as your competitors for fear of showing them your weaknesses, lift them up, celebrate their accomplishments with them, connect with them! No one knows better what you've went through to get to the point you're at than those who are running the same race as you are. Although there will be a "winner" chosen in the end, the real prize is the friendships we have the ability to make, strengthened by a bond of doing something we have so much passion for.

5. You Are Your Own Worst Critic.

So you started off great but messed up a little some where in the middle. DON'T GIVE IN! Odds are whatever went wrong wasn't as big of a deal as you felt it was anyway. You and you alone have the opportunity to pick yourself up and finish strong or succumb to the negative feelings of disappointment and embarrassment. Don't let one bump in the rode ruin everything you've worked for. Keep on keeping on!

6. Find What Works For You And Own It.

It's so easy to see when everyone else can do something that you can't, but we all have things that we're uniquely good at. Identify those strengths, and use them to your advantage! Stop comparing yourself to others and do you because that's what you do best. Let your own style shine bright!

Whether it's a gymnastics routine, a basketball game, a business meeting, or a baton competition, these are key factors to help you live your best life. Baton twirling has taught me so much since I started at age 4, and I hope these lessons help you be the best you you can be. Now go on and own your 2018!



Cover Image Credit: Emmy Rinehart

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Figure Skater Adam Rippon Is The U.S.'s First Openly Gay Man To Qualify For The Olympics

"Lots of hard work, but with better eyebrows."

Last week, 28-year-old American figure skater, Adam Rippon, became the first openly gay man to qualify for the winter Olympics. Despite finishing in fourth place overall, Rippon was chosen to accompany Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou in Pyeongchang next month. This sparked some controversy based on Rippon’s selection over Ross Miner, who came in second place at the national championship.

In the end, Rippon’s hard work and track record paid off.

This is a big deal for not only the world due to Rippon’s openness and celebration of his sexuality, but also for myself because he happens to be from my hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Way to represent the 570, Adam!

I think Rippon can serve as an inspiration to not only people in the LGBTQ+ community, but also for anyone who has a dream. Coming from a person who knows first-hand how hard it is to keep a dream alive in the small-town of Clarks Summit, I think Rippon’s determination, hard work and confidence is admirable.

Through his figure skating, he has shown people what you can accomplish when you set your mind to something, even when hundreds of people are telling you that you can’t do it.

In a recent tweet, Rippon wrote, “I was recently asked in an interview what it’s like to be a gay athlete in sports. I said that it’s exactly like being a straight athlete. Lots of hard work, but usually done with better eyebrows.”

I can’t wait to see Rippon represent the United States at the Olympics this year. Also, I hope everyone takes away something from his story because he truly is an inspiration and is paving the way for future figure skaters. Never be ashamed of who you are or pursuing your dreams because who knows, you could be the next Adam Rippon?

Check out Adam’s routine at the national championships here:

Cover Image Credit: @adaripp

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