January 25, 2013

Adoption--My Story

By Kayla
Introduced by Amy

I met Kayla when we lived in the same apartment complex, when Patrick and I were newlyweds. Kayla is smart (I mean, come on, she's got a bachelor's degree in physics!) and kind. When my husband and I were about to move out of the complex, she offered to help me clean for my check-out (a super anal white-glove...yuck). I was really overwhelmed about getting packed and everything cleaned in time for our scheduled check-out, because of course, I had procrastinated. I took her up on that offer and we spent an afternoon telling stories while scrubbing the bathroom! We had a lot of fun, and let me tell you, I have never seen a shinier tub!

Have you ever been listening to the radio when one of those LDS Family Services ads comes on? I heard one just today on my walk. “Adoption: it’s about love.” There are many types of love, but have you ever thought about why you might love your family? Sure, I know sometimes they can annoy the snot out of you, but you love them anyway. Is it because you’re blood? Or is it something more?

With my husband
My name is Kayla and I’m adopted. I can tell you that it’s not about blood; it’s about the bonds and memories you make together as a family.

I know that most people don’t really know much about adoption. Most people don’t think too much about it unless it’s staring them in the face. Adoption can be a hard thing for everyone involved, but it can also be one of the greatest things ever.

When people find out I’m adopted, the same questions immediately come out of their mouths. “How old were you?” “Do you know your real parents?” “Are you and your sister real sisters?” “Did you know you were adopted?” Some questions got pretty personal, but luckily I’m not shy about myself or I suppose I could have been pretty offended. By the way, if there are any questions I haven’t covered by the time I’m done, feel free to ask.

A few things I think I should clarify first. My “real” parents are Mom and Dad, the people who raised me. I will refer to them as Mom and Dad. I will refer to my biological parents by their names, Jamie and Mitch, which I have changed to protect their privacy. Likewise, my “real” sister Megan is the one I was raised with. She is not blood related to me, and if you’d seen pictures of us as kids, you wouldn’t have been surprised.
I’m the brunette. And, I should mention, I’m 16 in this picture, whereas she’s 12 and almost as tall as me. How different could two sisters look?

This story starts when my parents got married and found out pretty early on that they were being faced with something horrible: infertility. They met on a blind date when her best friend set her up with her date’s best friend. Dad had just barely gotten off his church mission in Panama and Costa Rica. Mom was a senior in high school. They were married by the end of the year. Fast forward about 5 years. Dad had earned his degrees in accounting and was working for a firm in Seattle. They had both given up hope of conceiving a child on their own and had started filling out adoption papers.

During this time, Jamie and Mitch were dating. They had gone to the same high school, were both honor students and sang in the choir. It wasn’t until after Jamie graduated and went to college to study opera that she and Mitch began to date. And, as sometimes happens, they messed up. Things weren’t going very good at the time and they were made worse when Jamie had to tell Mitch she was pregnant. At first, he was happy and told her they’d get married and raise the baby together. A few days later, he came to her and told her he didn’t love her. So she decided to give me up for adoption.

One day, when Dad was at work, he mentioned to a coworker that they had just gotten adoption papers. The coworker told him that he knew a girl in his ward (congregation) who was looking for a family to give her baby to. My parents met her and liked each other and agreed that this was the best place for me to go. From then on, Jamie was very sweet in letting Mom and Dad know how her appointments went. On the day I was born, she called my parents and said, “Your daughter is here!”

I can’t comment on how hard it must have been for her to give me up. I also can’t comment on the feelings that my parents had while they were waiting for the Lord’s plan to allow them children. As a couple dealing with infertility ourselves, I can imagine the pain and heartache they went through, but I can’t speak for them in this regard.

Once the adoption was finalized, my parents took me to the temple to be sealed to them for time and all eternity. Basically translated, we believe that because they did this, I will be their daughter in the hereafter even though they are not the ones who gave birth to me. I firmly believe that I was meant to be in their family even though I didn’t get there the conventional way.

To answer some of those questions I mentioned earlier, yes, I knew I was adopted my whole life because we celebrated the day I got sealed to them every year (it became the day I married my sweetheart in the same temple, but that’s another story). I never felt unloved or weird because of it; in fact, I would say I felt more loved and wanted than the average kid because of it. I didn’t know either Jamie or Mitch growing up and wasn’t allowed to until I was 18. When that happened, I met her, but not him. Suffice it to say that he is not someone I would want in my life and telling Jamie that he didn’t love her is just the tip of the scumbag iceberg. Jamie got married in the temple to a really nice guy and ended up having 3 kids with him. Through Facebook, I keep in touch with Jamie, her kids and some of her other family.

The really funny thing about all this is that I am surrounded by adoption stories, not just from me, but also from my family. My little sister was also adopted. One set of adopted cousins are half-brother and sister; their birth mom sought out my aunt and uncle when she found out she was having another baby. Another cousin was adopted, and then my aunt and uncle found out they were pregnant. One cousin was from my aunt’s previous marriage, but we still love him like family. And there’s a good chance that Josh and I may have to adopt. We are now going through testing to see if we can have our own children and if not, see how soon we can adopt a child of our own. Either way, we will love that child whether or not we share DNA. That’s why I love the commercial I heard this morning, because adoption is about love.

And now for some pictures!
The day I met my birth mom Jamie. See the resemblance?
My family! Isn’t it funny how much Megan and I look like Mom and Dad?
Thanks for reading. Do you have a questions for me about my story or about adoption? Please don’t hesitate to ask. And, are you adopted? What's your story?

1 comment:

  1. Kayla, amazing story--thank you for sharing!

    My favorite part was..ahem, and I quote, "My “real” parents are Mom and Dad, the people who raised me."

    Yep. That is awesome. You don't have to "biological" parents to be "real" parents.


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