Tell us how adoption has changed your life:
I can't say that adoption changed my life because I was adopted as an infant so I have never knows any other reality. It was and is my reality. Our family IS an adoption story; our parents adopted 5 girls; several of which were older children. Our family is a multiracial adoption story; we don't share the same ethnicities as our parents, and there is diversity even among us daughters. Instead I will say Adoption SHAPED my life. Adoption IS my life; I am a proud adoptee and an advocate for adoption.
Share a lesson from your adoption experience that is relevant to all families:
Open your heart. One thing I am SO grateful for is the our parents early on shared with & ingrained in us their expansive definition of family. Over the years my sisters and I have each to varying degrees of success, made contact or established relationships with birth relatives. Our parents have been incredibly supportive; welcoming & encouraging the search and also warmly extending a welcome hand to the people we've connected with. To so many people BLOOD is the only tie that binds. I believe that is a limited view. I believe LOVE is the tie that binds us.
Tell us what you would change about adoption:
As a child I fought against being viewed as "other" as we often were viewed because we were adopted. To other kids it meant that we weren't "real" children of our parents. I never understood that. Luckily the conversation at home was very different; the language our parents used never labeled or marginalized us for being adopted. I am so glad that more and more light is being pointed at adoption, lifting the labels, doing away with shame and focusing more on the truth. We all come to this life in different ways and with different stories. This only enriched our world and our experiences in it. I'd like to see continued efforts to lift the stigma surrounding adoption - for adoptees, birth parents and adoptive families.