I was adopted by a Methodist Minister and Christian Educator in the 1980s at 14 months old. They had tried for 10 years to start a family. When I became their daughter, not only did I gain parents and a family, but church families. In the Methodist church ministers moved frequently, so my childhood was spent with several church communities.
When I came home, the entire church family celebrated, and I became the “church baby.” Even as an adult, many still call me their “church baby.” Three families in particular became an extension of our family. Our families continue to celebrate life’s special occasions together such as Christmas, being in each other’s weddings, being Godparents, and so many other wonderful memories.
No, they are not blood, but they have loved me and celebrated me and been there for every major event in my life – dances, homecoming court, college and master’s graduations, my wedding, baby showers – they’re family.
As my family moved across Western North Carolina, we were able to share our story of adoption. We have met many amazing people who shared similar stories. We have met many people who were able to learn the joys of adoption as we openly shared our story with church families. After seeing the completeness adoption gives to both parents and children, a few families decided to adopt through CHS.
As an adult adoptee, I feel it is important to continue educating those less familiar with adoption and help break the stigma that can sometimes be associated with foster care and adoption. As an educator, a big part of what I do is create a sense of family in the classroom. Being able to empathize with students from various home situations and share the adoption platform is another way to teach children that families look different and are made differently.
My mom always says, “You were created in my heart.” This to me is the very definition of family. While not all families are blood, family is who we choose it to be and what we make of it. For me, family is a mother, father, and daughter who waited so long for each other. It’s church communities who became like family. It’s creating a family of my own. It’s sharing my story of adoption.