Value of adoption understood firsthand

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, October 10, 2010

When I was asked to write the story of the families and theirdaughters that were adopted from China, I was thrilled!

Families that are built through adoption hold a very specialplace in my heart, as I was adopted from Orlando, Fla., when I was5 days old.

I don’t know much about my biological parents, as Florida hadsome of the strongest privacy laws in place when I was born.

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However, I do believe that my birth mother faced some very toughtimes, and had to make some very tough decisions, carrying me toterm and bringing me into this world well nourished andhealthy.

I was born as the Roe v. Wade fight was waging. Unwed pregnancycarried such a stigma then; I can only imagine what my birth motherwent through. I have only the greatest respect for her.

As a mother, it must have been such a hard decision to give awaythe baby that she carried for nine months. I fully understood, onceI was pregnant with both of my daughters, there is a bond that isvery tangible between mother and unborn child.

I am thankful that my birth mother made the difficult choice togive me up. I grew up in a home where there was never a doubt thatmy parents loved me. I was blessed in that I was never withoutfood, shelter, an excellent education or a strong moralfoundation.

My parents were always very open with my brother David, who isalso adopted, and me. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t knowthat I was adopted. We were told that we were special and that ourparents had prayed and waited for us.

Some remarks made by people, however well intentioned, seemedcallous.

Some people would ask what it was like to be an orphan – as if Ican remember being less than a week old. Other people would saythat my parents weren’t my “real” parents, and of course there werealways those who would say how blessed I was that my adoptiveparents had saved me.

Looking back, I realize there are some people who just don’tcomprehend the true meaning of family.

I have a very simple thought to share on parenthood. One doesnot become a parent simply by the act of giving birth or bringing achild into the world. Parenting is a process, not a state ofbeing.

A parent is the person who has loved and nurtured you. They arethe ones who were always there to fix your physical hurts, comfortyou if you’ve had your heart broken by harsh words or actions, andwould put you first without a thought.

A parent does without to make sure their child has their needsmet. They marvel as their child grows, celebrates when they’ve donewell, and also offer correction and guidance when they’ve made amistake.

So, when I’ve been asked throughout my life if I know who myreal parents are, I’ve never hesitated to give an absolute”yes.”

My parents are Michael and Nancy. They became my parents fivedays after I entered this world and are the only parents I’ve everneeded or wanted.

As I said earlier, I have huge respect for my biological mother.She made the sacrifice of giving birth and then releasing me to afamily that could provide what I would need to be a successful,contributing member of society.