Adoption April Series: Growing Up Adopted

Today’s post is all about how I grew up being adopted.  This post is about what my parents told me from the beginning and how we as a family treated adoption.

And just because I wanted to post this picture of my little brother and I from last weekend and Easter at my Aunt’s house. You be the judge of how much we look alike. My dress is from Ross and my shoes are from Target. :)

So back to the whole you’re adopted thing. I think that how my family addressed my adoption is what made my adoption special and made it work as a family as well. If I adopt, as my parents did, I could never imagine keeping a secret like that from my child, and being adopted, I don’t think that that would have been a good idea. I think if my parents told me “when I was old enough to truly understand”, or at some milestone birthday it would have had a different effect on me. I also am glad it wasn’t a secret because then I feel like I could have resented the process or being adopted. Since I knew from day one, I have never thought about resenting adoption or my birth parents or parents.

My parents thought that me knowing I was adopted was an important part in my life. I am really thankful that my parents told me and I have never once questioned or been mad at my birth mom for ‘giving me up’. I have always been told that my birth mom knew that she couldn’t give me the ‘best life’ and the most opportunity in life, so she decided that adoption was a better option for her at the time, instead of keeping me. I totally agree with her decision and see her reasoning. If I was to get pregnant right now, I would honestly consider the same options. I don’t think that “giving me up” is a good way to look at being adopted and why should you be angry about someone giving you a better chance at a life? I don’t think adoption is because someone didn’t ‘want you’, it’s because they were wise and unselfish enough to let you go, which must have been the hardest decision she ever had to make.

Many people have different ideas about adoption and I know some people are totally against it, don’t understand it, and whatever your thoughts may be, the way that I was raised worked the best for my situation and made me understand and realize what a great thing adoption is and how great it can be for any family.

Around our house there were books that explained adoption in ‘kid terms’. My parents would read me these books if I chose and I think this is what helped me understand at a very small age. These books might have had me come up with questions, and the questions were always answered to the best of my parents abilities and their knowledge. It was a very open topic to talk about. They were always also willing to talk to me about it at any time. I feel like this really allowed me to understand that it was a good thing and it’s not that my birth parents didn’t want me, but that they had chosen to give me a ‘better life’ because they couldn’t offer me that. Nothing was ‘my fault’ about my adoption, and I wasn’t adopted because my birth parents didn’t want me.

I think that is a great way to view adoption, and I think my adoption also was very easy to deal with because my parents never tried to hide anything from me. Another thing that was important to our family was that we always celebrated my brother’s and my “Adoption Day.” It was celebrated on the day that we were legally adopted into the family. Back when we were in school both my parents would take off from work, and we would do whatever the Adoption Day person wanted to do. We would eat whatever they wanted to eat, go do fun things, like Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Beach, Mini Golf, Bowling, surfing (My brother is a hardcore surfer). I even remember making my entire family wear purple because it was my favorite color that day. Strange, but true! It was a day dedicated to the adopted person.

A lot of great memories were made on these days, and it was almost like a 2nd birthday because we would get cards and small gifts. I think it was also important to celebrate the day because it brought recognition to the fact that we were adopted, and my parents were so happy to have me and my brother that they celebrated it. Looking back, that is why my Adoption Day (January 23) is always so special to me. It was the day I officially became a part of my family and it was to be celebrated! We don’t celebrate these days anymore, but the memories I made when I was young are cherished.

I think by growing up in a home where adoption was accepted and that I always knew I was adopted really helped me understand the concept. I also think that having really open parents who were willing to talk about the process and who explained to me that adoption wasn’t because I was ‘unwanted’ but because God wanted me elsewhere was also very important. My entire family and all my friends always knew that I was adopted, which I also think was a wise decision. I’m glad my parents didn’t tell me when I turned 16, or 10 or something like that, and it was always just a known fact for as long as I can remember.

I think it was because of the openness of my family towards adoption that I don’t have any resentment towards my parents about adopting me, or my birth parents about giving me up for adoption. I could see how people could harbor these feelings if it was sprung on them that they were adopted.

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Here’s a picture of me and my little brother when we were little! :) Can you tell that we aren’t related.

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Those BANGS!!! :) A family picture from a long time ago.

Next week Friday I’m excited to share my personal thoughts on Adoption and how I feel that adoption has affected me and how I deal with some of the questions that I do get on occasion. Remember, the last post of Adoption April will be an open Q&A, so feel free to email me with ANY question. Seriously, I don’t mind at all. Email me [email protected]

xoxo

in Uncategorized

31 Responses to Adoption April Series: Growing Up Adopted

  1. Tiffany says:

    I love this post! Thank you for being so candid and sharing your life, your views and opinions. Dave and I have defintiely talked about adopting and I think it is so fabulous that you shared your story. And honestly…I really do think you and your brother look alike! ha! XOXO

  2. I love this post (and, secretly, those bangs). I think it is wonderful that you are writing these posts. My husband’s best friend was adopted at birth, and he always knew, too. He has wonderful parents, like you, and a great childhood. Thanks for sharing with us!

    PS: I sort of thing you and your brother look alike. :D

  3. aron says:

    LOL the BANGS sheesh! hahaha… love adoption april, i am sure it really helps impact people reading your outlook.

  4. Erika says:

    For as long as I can remember I have always thought I would adopt rather than have my own kids. I’ve just always felt that there are so many kids out there without a family and there’s something I can do about it. As it turns out I medically can’t have kids and that doesn’t bother me. My husband was adopted and didn’t find out until he was 17 or 18. I think it bothered him at first but he didn’t resent anybody for not telling him. Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. I LOVE those bangs! haha And I love the family photo. You and your brother are adorable :)

  6. Tara says:

    Dude what is in your hair!? hahaha I love that pic! You and your brother are too cute in all the pics! ♥♥♥

  7. Nikki says:

    Those bangs are made of WIN!

    One of my close friends in college grew up in a family like yours. She and her brother were adopted (same birth parents though) into a wonderful family that also later adopted 2 younger kids. The youngest ones were mixed race, so having so many different races in one family made it impossible to keep the adoption a secret. I’m not sure if they celebrated Adoption Day (which I think is AWESOME!) but I know they celebrated Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa in order to celebrate the different backgrounds of all the kids. I thought that was really cool!

    Love this series! :)

  8. Jaime says:

    Thanks for this post. Our son is adopted and we are extremely open with him about it. He doesn’t quite grasp it yet, he’s only 3. But it’s nice to hear from someone else that we’re doing the right thing.
    *And we do the same thing for his adoption day! It’s all about him. But we also buy gifts (needs) to give to foster homes for those children that either aren’t with their parents or are waiting on a family.

  9. Vic says:

    Those bangs are cracking me up!

    It’s great that your parents were so open & honest with y’all. Sounds like they made the right decision. And I love that you celebrate your Adoption Day!

  10. I LOVE this story and think it is wonderful how your parents introduced adoption into your life. That picture of you with the bangs is priceless. I have quite a few of those!

  11. oh I had those bangs and hairbows, too!
    I love the idea of adoption day celebration, what a fun idea. I also think hiding it from the child is a very bad idea!

  12. I can’t imagine why people think NOT telling a child is an option. It’s lying! And that’s how they’d think there was something ‘wrong’ with being adopted, if it’s been hidden and they are lied to about it! I am glad you had a positive, healthy experience from it. :)

    I couldn’t see past that GIANT FLOWER GROWING OUT OF YOUR HEAD to notice your bangs. Just kidding, wow, bang city.

    P.S. I had awful bangs too. Awful bangs club! *fist bump* <–too much Monster Lo Carb

  13. Marlene says:

    How cute is your Easter outfit!!

    And I am LOVING those childgood bangs. :)

  14. liane says:

    I love the “Adoption Day” celebrations your parents did, such a wonderful thing for your family to do :)

    Oh, the bangs and the flower hairbands we were all rocking back in the day!

  15. Oh girl, you are making me cry!!! At my desk! I just finished reading last week’s post, and the post about your mom on April 6th, and then this post.
    I love hearing about adoption. I think that you have such an amazing attitude about it and that your parents did a great job by being honest and open with you. It seems like it was the best way to raise you, and that’s amazing!
    And thanks for being so open about it. I am not adopted, but I enjoy hearing about it & have a few family members that have adopted children.

  16. Shannon says:

    Those bangs are as big as your entire head! ha! jk – I had the same bangs at one point.

    Love the adoption series.

  17. Um, WOW. This post really spoke to me and I want to go back and read your adoption story in a second. I have no idea.

    What’s amazing, is that I keep reading thing after thing that is softening my heart to this option for DW and I. I’ve always thought I would adopt one day, its just the order of doing it that has been my issue. I really think God is possibly leading me in a different direction and I’m so thankful for people like you who are willing to be so open, share their stories, and explain how much it affected your life for the good!

  18. David says:

    your hair and that plotting smile in the last pic seriously made my day–so awesome! lol great post Danica

  19. Auntcookie0109 says:

    sorry you don’t celebrate your adoption day anymore, but I love that you are so open about everything! xoxo

  20. mrs. darling says:

    thank you for sharing this. my dad and best friend are both adopted and i’ve always felt that i want to adopt a child also one day…and the other night while walking the dog i was talking to our korean neighbors have a 17 month old little girl. and when i got home i might have walked in the door and yelled to the husband, “we are definately going to adopt an asian baby RIGHT NOW.”

  21. What a great story. I am completely FOR adoption! In fact my husband and I are actually discussing it as a possibility for us and I definitely think I would handle it just like your parents did. I especially like the fact that they celebrated your adopted day…how special. You have a great family, my dear!

  22. I think it’s amazing how honest you’re being about your upbringing, and it’s so inspiring! I’ve always thought adoption was a good thing, but hearing your story about how your parents raised you and helped you understand adoption really helped me better understand why adoption is such a wonderful thing.

  23. Nina says:

    1. I am LOVING this series of posts. From the heart and so much fun to read.
    2. I totally had bangs just like that. DJ Tanner was my idol.
    3. Your Easter hair is FANTASTIC! Your long waves are perfectly placed :)

    xoxo

  24. Hey! Reading this a second time was very insightful. It’s like watching your favorite movie all over again. Thanks for sharing!

    It’s obvious that the adoption was a positive experience in your life and made you as awesome as you are.

    You’re FABULOUS, darling :-)

  25. Jeff says:

    This is so wonderful. It’s amazing how open your relationship with your parents was. I always planned on adopting even though my wife and I had one son natural. I always planned to be open about it like your parents were. It’s great to see this. Thank you agian for sharing.

  26. Bambee says:

    Danica, thank you so much for sharing your adoption story with us. I lost my daughter shortly after she was born and have one healthy son. I also have no chance of having another child by birth. I’ve always thought about adopting another child if and when the time becomes right, so it really helps to hear your story.

    Bambee

  27. Rinus says:

    You looks like your brother and a storie t read about your past!.
    Rinus.
    http://www.rinusrunning.nl

  28. Alisa says:

    These posts are really touching.

    It is kinda amazing that you and your brother do look so much alike now that you’re older.

    PS I had those SAME bangs!

  29. SeeGirlrun says:

    Hey – we four kids are adopted, too! “Mommy, where do babies come from?” “From their mommy’s tummy.” “Did I come from your tummy?” And so the story goes…. I always knew I was special because I was “picked!”

    Laura

  30. Sara says:

    I’m curious. If you found out that your birth mom really didn’t want to give you up and was pained by the fact that she had to because no one would financially or socially help her, would that effect your very positive feelings about your birth mom relinquishing you? I can understand wanting to see it completely in a positive light, because really seeing the other part of it is painful. But it seems to me that while you have a complete right to your views, those views do ignore the realities that women shouldn’t have to give up their kids just because there are economic inequalities or social injustice. I guess one of the reasons I just don’t “get” a view like this is because I know I would suffer tremendously if society told me I couldn’t keep my baby, or if I let someone convince me of that. It also seems like you ignore the fact that there is a loss. If your birth mom had died, would you say it was a wonderful thing that happened? I guess I don’t understand why people are often afraid to address the complexities in adoption–the loss of a family and the gain of a family. Adoption is about both. Would love to hear what you think! Thanks! :)

  31. Jamie says:

    I’m adopted as well and I agree that there are positives to it, especially if your parents are as open about it as yours were. That being said, I never really felt I fit in with my family and relatives and as I’ve grown older, when push comes to shove as they say, they’ve proven to me that blood is thicker than water and have socially ostracized me from their sphere of affection. Of course, these are a small minded and clannish ilk who think they are the center of the universe and the chosen of God. Ironically, they are nothing like the model that their master left them to follow but isn’t that the truth for a lot of so called Christians? I’m really happy that your adoptive life has turned out as well as it has. I on the other hand, lost my adoptive mother when I was 27 so in a sense, I’ve been through two mothers. The psychological sense of abandonment that one goes through is palpable and sticks around on a very basic level if you’re adoopted at a very young age or shortly after birth. Maybe its not the same for all people but it certainly is for me, and mine is the only experience I can authoritatively speak about.

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