August 2, 2013
Adoption is a second chance for children.
There are not many times in an individual’s life where they get a second chance to have a family, but adoption does that.
I’ve had friends tell me that they don’t want to adopt children, because of the movie “The Orphan.” I always respond, “Hey! We don’t all turn out evil!”
If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about a child who is adopted and by the end of the movie, she kills her adoptive family, but Hollywood just likes to mess with people’s heads.
My friends were joking, but behind every joke is a shred of truth. Maybe people are scared to adopt because they are opening their home to a child and whatever emotional baggage they may carry.
But here’s a little secret, we all have problems.
I was born in Charleston, and was adopted when I was an infant, but the adoption was not finalized until after I was a year old.
My adoptive parents, Amy and Jack Parrish, were a lovely couple from Easley, who couldn’t have a child because of Amy’s autoimmune disease.
I always knew I was adopted. I don’t remember when I first knew. It was just something that I knew from a very young age.
I would talk about it at elementary school to my friends. Naturally, like most 8 year olds, they are curious and would ask me about my “real mom.” I told them I lived with her now, and that confused them even more.
“No, your ‘real mom.’ The one you were born to,” they would say.
“Oh, you mean my birth mom? Yea, I don’t know who she is. It was a closed adoption,” I would respond.
My real mom was the woman who tucked me in every night, read me bedtime stories, took care of me and listened to my worries, my stories and my jokes.
My birth mother was the woman who gave birth to me in Charleston. I just considered it normal that I was adopted. While my friends stared at me in disbelief, I would just shrug my shoulders.
It never bothered me that I didn’t know my birth parents until I got to tenth grade biology class when we began to talk about our genetics and family genealogy. I had not one clue about my birth parents’ genetics.
It bothered me not knowing whose traits I had, but after sophomore year, I moved on and paid no more attention to it.
I found my adoption papers shortly after my mom’s death in 2010. I don’t quite know why I went looking for them, but I did.
In that folder containing my adoption papers are the court summons for my parents’ petition for adoption, unaddressed letters to the birthmother, pre-placement reports, 21 recommendation letters, their marriage license, photos of family, friends and their house and an envelope that contains my birth parents’ information, that is not to be opened until I am 21, per wishes of my mother.
I frequently search through those as I come closer to the age of 21. I am nervous, but I am excited to find out about my birth mother and father. I don’t want to meet them or talk to them; I just want to know who they are. It’s as if that will complete my image of who I am.
Both my parents and grandparents told me how much joy I brought them and how much I made a difference in their life, but really, they made the difference in my life. Sometimes I imagine what life might be like had I not been adopted, and I can’t do it. I can’t picture life any different than how it is now.
I have truly been blessed with the best second chance a person can have. I was blessed with a loving adoptive family who has raised me as if I was one of their own.
I just have to say thank you to all adoptive parents. What you have done for others cannot be expressed in words. You have opened your hearts and homes to us who may have had none. So, all I can say is thank you for making a difference.