Smile if You’re Adopted

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Smile! Today is World Adoption Day! It is a day to celebrate the making of families bonded by love not blood. I found out about this by reading my Facebook Page. I had no idea someone set aside a day to celebrate little ol’me. You see, I am adopted.

Really I am not narcissistic enough to believe this day is all about ME. There are a few others out there. The 2010 Census revealed that there were 1.5 million adopted children under the age of 18 and over 545,000 over the age of 18 living in the United States. And you may have heard of some famous people who have/had been adopted: Singer Faith Hill, athlete Daunted Culpepper, technology guru Steve Jobs, President Bill Clinton, author Truman Capote, activist Jesse Jackson, humanitarian Mother Teresa, singer Eric Clapton, and many more. But, I cannot tell their stories. I can only tell mine.

My Adoption Story

I was adopted at three months of age from Catholic Community Services. My parents picked me up on St. Patrick’s Day. Today, those in the adoption circles would call that “Gotcha Day!” All I really know is that I came with a big green ribbon and the knowledge that I was three-quarters Irish by birth.  This explains my love of Celtic music and Guiness beer.

Before you ask…no, I’ve never met my “real” (as classmates use to say) parents.
Yes, I had a normal upbringing—a gift from my mom and dad.  My adoption story–really my life story–is a happy one.

I have always known I was adopted, which was important because I never had an issue with it. Others may have, but I did not. Besides, I would have figured it out in early adolescence when I stood beside my statuesque, flamingo-like cousins. I was the lone duckling among a pat of flamingos.

But, I wasn’t alone. Other adopted children were a part of my every day life: my brothers, a cousin, my next-door neighbor, and family friends. Plus, my father, the legal eagle, handled a large number of adoptions in the South Florida area. Adoption was a common topic at the dinner table. Eventually, I married a man who had two adopted siblings. Surrounded as such, I knew I was not some strange anomaly in the universe.

Most of my life I never wanted to find out about my birth heritage. Partly because I was happy with my life as such and partly because I felt it would be a betrayal to my own parents to seek out information on my birth parents. Besides I was busy getting through school and starting a career. I had neither the time nor the inclination to conduct any searches. As I teacher, we all know I didn’t have a lot of extra money for any private investigators.

Do I have an identical twin out there somewhere?

In my early 30s, I did have a passing fascination with identical twins and thought I might be a separated twin. I loved reading stories about how identical twins separated in early childhood finally met and felt complete. I found it eerie that they had uncanny similarities like one set of twins were both firefighters married to a woman named Linda. They were both overweight, wore their hair the same way and owned the same breed of dog. Really, how cool is that? I often wondered what it would feel like to stare into the face of someone who looked and sounded exactly I did. It wasn’t until I had my second child that I ever saw anyone who looked like me. When I raised the idea of being a separated twin, my mother doubted the validity of my new instinct. She was confident that the adoption agency would have told them that information. So, I let that fixation go. Continue reading “Smile if You’re Adopted”