Before continuing, you may want to read the introduction to my Greatest Hits series HERE.
"I woke up this morning with a feeling inside me that I can't explain, like a weight that I've carried, been carried away... And it feels like today, I know. It feels like today, I'm sure. It's the one thing that's missing, the one thing I'm wishing, the last sacred blessing and hey, it feels like today." - Rascal Flatts // Feels Like Today
On January 23, 2006 I met my mother. Is that surprising to you? I am adopted. Adoption is something I feel completely comfortable discussing but haven't addressed on Flamingos in Raincoats until now. The day I met Cheryl was one of the best days of my life- one of my greatest hits. So much anticipation, so many tears, so many answers to questions I'd been harboring for years. I had almost met Cheryl once before (that's a long story for another day), but this meeting was no mistake. I remember arriving at the adoption agency with my parents and worrying about accidentally running into Cheryl in the parking lot. Our meeting was mediated by the adoption counselor who had worked with Cheryl and my parents nearly 18 years before.
When I think about this moment and the many moments leading up to it, I have to remind myself that my adoption story is now atypical. The media tells me that most adoptions are now open, meaning that the child has constant interactions with the birthmother and/or birthfather throughout their entire lives. I had to wait until I was nearly a legal adult to share identifying information with Cheryl (last name, address, phone number, etc.). Before meeting Cheryl, I certainly didn't have the experiences that most of society envisions adopted children having:
- Did you live in an orphanage?
- Do you hate your birthparents?
- Do you hate your adoptive parents?
- What country are you from?
- Was your face on a milk carton?
- How do you feel knowing that your mom didn't want you?
Where are people getting these questions? I believe that each adopted child's experience is completely different, contrary to popular belief. We didn't all come from Asia. We don't hate everyone! Many of us grew up understanding our adoption story and embracing it. At least I'm happy to say that I did.
Pop culture tells us that a moment like this is extremely important for an adopted child and on that note, they are correct. Though I had communicated with Cheryl through letters since I learned to write, seeing her in front of me was overwhelming in all of the best ways. Though the media leads us to believe that many adoptions are tragic, created out of depressing or harmful situations, my story is simple: Cheryl loves me and my adoptive parents (or as I like to call them, "parents") love me and I love all of them. Nothing has to be sad. The day I met Cheryl, in fact, was one of the happiest and most positive days of my life. And that's why it earned a place on my greatest hits list.
Do you think we look alike? What are your assumptions about adoption? Do you have questions about my adoption experience? Comment below!
**A note on the song: On the day that I met Cheryl I posted lyrics from Rascal Flatts' Feels Like Today on my LiveJournal, my blog of choice at the time. I felt it appropriate to share them again here.