As an adopted child I find it very strange when people ask me ‘what’s it like to be adopted?’ – the truth is, I don’t know how it is any different to anything else, I’ve never known anything else, neither do I desire to because I have a pretty fantastic family and a wonderful life. I might still be finding myself, but who isn’t? I only mention this because one of the most peculiar situations presented itself to me very recently. My employer asked me about my adoption, about my life, about foster care – something I am very open with. It is my life story, like anyone else’s, it is normal. It doesn’t make me any different to you. When posed with the question of why I was adopted I told the truth, I have no shame, I did nothing wrong, my parents were unable to look after me, there was abuse, it was no place for children. What surprised me the most was the reaction, my employer…cried. Hugged me and cried. At first I was a little bemused, ‘I’m okay’ I reassured her, ‘look at me now’ ‘it made me who I am today’ – and then I took a step back and realized, it isn’t just about me! It isn’t just about one child who had a troubled start to life and finally found a forever home, it was about every single child out there who is going without, who cannot escape, who cannot see hope. She was crying for each child that is still stuck, neglected, lost.
As someone who voluntarily mentors a child in care, and someone who has been in care, I am immersed in the knowledge. I’ve had social workers, I’ve worked WITH social workers, I’ve been in care, and seen people in care…but others, they haven’t, they aren’t used to this, it is a shock to the system. It is different, it is scary, it is sad. It’s all new, something people know but choose not to acknowledge in their everyday lives.
That’s why I chose to share my stories when people ask,for all those people that asked me how my adoptive mum could in anyway be my REAL mother (something I find deeply offensive, OF COURSE she is my REAL mother, maybe not biologically but in EVERY other sense of the word), to every child in care that has asked me if things can change. I want people to know. I want people to understand.
My life is no different from yours.
I was just chosen by my mum.
And I like it that way.