What It's Like Being Adopted
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Adoption Is More 'Normal' Than You Think

I know a love greater than DNA.

Adoption Is More 'Normal' Than You Think

I'm adopted. My wonderful parents adopted me from an orphanage in Dianbai, China when I was just 11 months old. I obviously don't remember that part of my life, but I was raised in Florida and later in Tennessee. I once heard someone say, "Heart ties are often stronger than blood ties", a quote I can fully attest to. You may think my upbringing differs from yours if you weren't adopted. While that may be true in some minuscule areas, I want to let it be known that adoption is more "normal" thank you think.

I used to be ashamed of being adopted. It's something I was proud of when was little but grew out of at some point during elementary or middle school. Maybe it started when we learned about DNA in science class, and I couldn't compare my physical traits to my parents as my peers could. (I just want to say, I have never felt incomplete in any way or wished I could meet my biological parents. I know other adoptees may feel differently, but this isn't the case for me.) Maybe it started when cruel kids would tell other kids, "You're adopted!" as a joke, as if that was the worst news any child could hear. (At least my parents chose me, thank you very much.) I've always felt loved in my home, regardless of how I got there. This along with growing in my personal maturity is likely what got me out of my adolescent phase of being embarrassed about being adopted.

I have more siblings than most people. I have two older brothers, my parents' biological children. My five younger sisters and I are all adopted from China. My parents do not differentiate between their biological children and adopted children. They don't introduce us to people at church or nosy people at the grocery store as their "adopted daughters." No, we are just their daughters. And we are sisters. Never have I introduced any of my siblings to a friend as my "adopted sibling." They are my brothers and sisters. I often get a laugh out of my mom making random people feel awkward for asking loaded questions. While they probably don't mean any harm, it's unnecessary to ask, especially in front of us. After all, we can hear and we do speak English. I've actually heard someone ask my mom before if we know we're adopted. Go figure. I'm sure the sight of my family raises many questions in people's minds. Part of the reason is likely because there are so many of us. It's not an everyday thing to see a large group of Asians, at least where I live. On top of that, my parents are white. Some people who can't help themselves come and ask my parents questions. Here's an example of a common conversation between my mom and literally any random person who wants to know our business:

Person: Hi, I can't help but notice you all! They're beautiful. Are you their mother?

Mom: Thank you. Yes, I am.

Person: Ohh, that's great. Is your husband Asian?

Mom: No. :) (Pretty sure at this point they wonder if my mom had a crazy history with some Asian dude before my dad or cheated on him six times during their marriage LOL.)

Person: Oh, where are they from?

Mom: China.

Person: How nice, are they all sisters?

Mom: Yes, they're sisters.

Person: Are they...like...actual sisters?

Mom: Yes, they're sisters.

Person: So you adopted them all at the same time?

Mom: No.

Person: They're from different families?

At this point, my mom doesn't feel obligated to continue the conversation and explain our family history to some random person in Publix. I've learned the same thing. People will ask questions, but they're not entitled to me to explain something so personal.

When it comes to my relationship with my parents and siblings, even extended family, I'd say it's just like anyone else's. People have asked me before if I'm thankful my parents adopted me. While I am thankful, I do not think of myself as a rescue dog. I do not wake up and thank my parents every day for rescuing me from the horrible life I would have surely lived had I stayed in China or been adopted into a different family. On the other hand, my parents do not expect more of me or my adopted siblings. They don't expect extra gratitude from us because we are adopted as if we have no right to any of the blessings we have been given. It's not that the topic of adoption never comes up or my parents don't like to speak about it. We actually celebrate it! It's just as if you might celebrate when a family member was born. Our family doesn't think of it as "the day we rescued you", but "the day God blessed us with you." This is how it should be.

I have three wishes. My first wish is for adopted children to never feel ashamed of their adoption, no matter how old they were, and to never feel obligated to answer people's questions. My second wish is for the general public to see adopted families as normal families. A single unit, made of love that trumps DNA. My third wish is for parents to open their hearts to adoption. Whether you already have kids, are not able to have kids, or are just interested in adopting, go for it! You'll find that you love your adopted children no differently than you love those of your own blood. Adoption is such a pure form of genuine love. Such love should never be questioned--it should be normal, appreciated, and respected.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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