My name is Sabrina, I live in California and I was adopted from Colombia when I was 8 months old.
I always knew I was adopted; first because my family told me from the time I could understand. I had a LifeBook with pictures from my Gotcha Day and from the flights home to the U.S.. Secondly, I knew I was adopted because it was a transracial adoption, so my parents were very white and I was very tan. In my family adoption was spoken of as the best thing possible: the main and only reason that our family became a family. My brother is biological to my parents, but I was never made to feel less than, or unequal to him. My family got along great growing up, I had the usual teen struggles and angst that we all have, but I do remember having a fierce love for my family from a young age.
I grew up in a predominantly white, upper class neighborhood, so people didn’t really know how to classify my multiracial family. Well-meaning adults would try to tell me that I looked like my mom, even though that was impossible. Kids constantly asked and pointed at our family, and I often heard, “Are those your parents?”. Um, yes, I’m standing with them and calling them Mom and Dad, who else would they be? Besides comments like these I don’t remember being outright teased, but I do remember enduring those questions right up until I left for college.
Adoption is near and dear to my heart, so much so that my husband and I are currently adopting our three-year-old daughter from the foster care system here in San Diego. She has been home with us for about two months, and we are awaiting the finalization in court.
After going through the necessary background checks and paperwork to adopt our daughter, I have great respect for what my parents did back in the 80’s. To apply for international adoption in a country with drug wars and rampant crime, and then to actually travel there to get me at the height of some pretty intense crime…that just blows me away. I can feel their determination in the same way that I am determined not to let anyone stall or further delay our adoption.
To people considering adoption, I’d say: domestic adoption is definitely worth it, and everyone who has the capacity to help a waiting child is this country should do so! There are risks, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. As for the phrase, “I could never do that”, examine your heart and ask why. Is it because you would grieve the child if they left your home? Sure, that could happen, and we have grieved the loss of our foster son last year, but ultimately, this isn’t about us. Foster care and foster adoption are not about finding a child for your family; it’s about finding the right family for a child to grow up nurtured, loved and cared for in the best possible way.
We had a foster son last year, and while we supported his reunification with his mother, we were privileged to witness such a wonderful story of redemption. To see him overcome his trauma issues through therapy and attachment parenting, and to see his mother overcome her addiction in rehab was nothing short of a miracle. People say that if you are in foster care you must only be in it to adopt the child, and while that is true in many cases, we told his mother up front that we were not there to take away her child, but we were there to take care of him while she took care of herself. She changed from someone very afraid of the foster system to an advocate for it when it is necessary. We were able to maintain contact with him after he went home, and we would do it again.
Adoption is just as wonderful and just as miraculous as bringing a child into the your family any other way. We are not less than, an alternative to, or to be looked down upon because we are adopted or choose to adopt.