I was found under a rock.
Not really. That’s just what my parents like to tell me.
I was actually found wandering around, with no recollection of who I was or where I was from. I landed in an orphanage until I was old enough to leave. These two gentlemen found me (and my dog) and took us on a journey to my past, helping me remember who I was and helping lead me to my reign over all of Imperial Russia.
That’s not it either. I always mix myself up with Russian royalty (cue the dancing bears)! Hold on, let me remember.
It was a cold December night (it’s always a cold December night in good stories) and my future parents-to-be received an unexpected call. They were asked if they wanted a baby girl who would be born within the year. Hesitant at first, they eventually said yes, because they knew how perfect I would be and all the joy I would bring to their lives. Another small part of their acceptance to this offer can probably be attributed to the fact that seven years earlier, they had received a similar phone call asking them about a little boy, who they said yes to, and he was like, an okay kid so far. They already had one, what’s one more, am I right? Not to mention, they had never placed themselves on any adoption list, they had never sought out a child via adoption, so receiving two phone calls in one lifetime offering them free babies had to be a sign.
Fast forward a bit. My brother & I grew up knowing we were adopted. It was never an issue, never a thing, just a fact of life. Most of the time, the people I met didn’t realize we were adopted until I would randomly say something about it in the middle of a conversation, causing them to halt, momentarily panic, and then remind me that they had no idea so “Can you fill me in please?”. Not everyone knows my life and I forget that sometimes, okay? I forget that adoption isn’t the way everyone receives their offspring and continues their lineage. Sue me.
Fast forward again. A distraught and depressed teenager finds herself in a new environment, in a new culture, and puts herself in a less-than-ideal situation (we’re talking about me). Cue the positive pregnancy test. What can I say…oops? Obviously not a joking matter at the time, but the situation turned out very positive (no pun intended).
Not being a stranger to adoption, I chose a family that had a stellar dog (and stellar beliefs, and personalities, and hobbies, etc etc) and that baby (not a baby anymore) happily resides with them to this day. We had an open adoption, so I see them multiple times a year (basically whenever I’m in their neck of the woods). While most open adoptions are limited to supervised visits and annual photographs, ours is truly an open adoption. There are no set rules, just the mutual respect that we have always & will always show each other. There are no boundaries, just that we stay in each other’s lives and never withhold a hug or a kiss. They, as a family, support and encourage me. I, in return, actively engage in their lives and help maintain a relationship that they desired to have with their birth mom. The child will grow up almost exactly like I did, always knowing about their adoption story, but with the added twist of having the biological mom (me) in the picture as a supporting role. We will see how that works out!
Have you had enough? Are we done here? We get it, Alana, so cool, you were adopted, your brother was adopted, you had a child who was adopted, you all get along.. wonderful.
You poor soul, there is more. Hang in there.
Last December (but for real this time) I was given my adoption paperwork by my parents (the adoptive parents.. this distinction is necessary, trust me, this will get confusing later on). After a huge stalking session (thanks, sister-in-law), I was ready to meet the fam! I waited until after Christmas and sent an email to my biological grandmother, just in case my biological mother wasn’t at a place where a message would be wanted. Within minutes (not an exaggeration) I had been warmly received, and had met A LOT of the family via Facebook messenger. I had to start a notebook and fill it with notes just to keep everybody straight! Who is this person? How are they related to me? What was their favorite color again?
Fast forward to a year later and my biological family is not only a part of my life, they have somehow managed to integrate themselves so seamlessly that it’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t know them. Nichole is my sister, Caleb is my brother, Andy is my brother, Jen is my sister-in-law, Diane is my aunt, Sue is my aunt, Becky is my aunt, Michelle is my aunt, Missie is my aunt, Ginger is my aunt, Shannon is my mom, Keith is my dad, Carolyn is my mom, Brett is my dad, Peaches is my niece, Avery is my niece, Melanie is my Gma, Sandy is my Gma, Jesse was my Gma, Dottie was my Gma… does this read like a passage in the Bible? No? Just me?
I will go into detail on each part of my story in later posts, per your request, but to wrap up this exceedingly long post, here is the takeaway.
Adoption can be complicated and messy and heartbreaking. Sometimes adoption is the only option, and sometimes adoption is the only option that feels right. Sometimes adoption isn’t intentional. Adoption can be shamefully hidden and can be devastatingly earth-shattering, where it seems like the only good example of a successful adoption can be found woven throughout scripture, hidden in between the lines.
But occasionally you’ll hear of a successful adoption story, one that inspires hope, that offers a salve for wounded hearts, forgotten dreams, abandoned hopes. These are the ones that make you cry in your car before going into work (I’m not just talking about babies. Think about those puppies!). These are the stories I believe in, and these are the stories I want to help cultivate.
My journey with adoption has not been an easy one, but it has been a successful one. So to everyone who has made this journey possible & to everyone who has made this journey with me, thank you. To everyone who is jumping on board now, we welcome you, and would really love to know… what snacks did you bring?