Jenny | An Adoptee from Ohio

jenny2012.jpgWhat's your connection to adoption?

Adoptee, adopted at birth.

When did you learn you were adopted?

I don't ever remember having an epiphany about being adopted - I just always knew. I think my family had a few children's books about adoption, but I don't remember having a detailed conversation with my parents about it. We celebrated "Adoption Day", which I've also heard called "Gotcha Day" - the day our adoptions were finalized. It was like having a second birthday!

Do you recall how your parent(s) explained why you were adopted?

My brother and I always knew that our birth parents couldn't provide for us, so they placed us with our adoptive parents (who were unable to have biological children) to give us opportunities that we wouldn't have had otherwise. We also knew (and never doubted) that our birth parents' decisions were out of love.

Was your adoption open, semi-open, or closed?

Closed.

Have you ever met your birth mother or birth father? If yes, what was that experience like? If no, what would you want to say (or ask) if given the opportunity?

I found my birth family when I was 21 years old. It was the most emotional experience - I felt complete after meeting them. Throughout my life, I had always wanted to know where I came from, who I looked like, and if I had any siblings (other than my adopted brother). My adoptive parents were 100% supportive of my decision to look for my birth family, and I am so appreciative of them for that. In addition to my adoptive family, I have gained relationships with my birth mother, my birth father, 4 half-brothers (1 from birth mom, 3 from birth dad), and extended family on both sides. My birth father was also adopted, and I chose to meet his birth mom and half-siblings. I have relationships with them as well. I consider myself incredibly lucky that my reunion has been so positive - I know that some adoptees don't have the same success that I did, and my heart breaks for them.

Do you have any negative feelings about your adoption? If so, what?

No. I have never had (and still don't have) any negative feelings about my adoption. I know that not every adoptee feels this way, but I believe that everything happens for a reason - I know I wouldn't have had the opportunities I've had or be the person I am today if I hadn't been adopted.

From your perspective, why do you think some women don't even consider adoption?

I think that a lot of women just aren't educated on adoption - the many various types (open, semi-open, closed, etc.) and the benefits for everyone involved. I also think a lot of women facing unplanned pregnancies can't fathom going through an entire pregnancy and not bringing their baby home, or just don't want to physically be pregnant. Mostly, I think fear plays a big part in why some women don't consider adoption - what if my child hates me, how will I move past the pain, what if I regret my decision? Those are tough questions to face, but I think more adoption education and positive, open feedback from people experienced with adoption (adoptees, birth families, adoptive families, etc.) could help many women.

If you could dispel an adoption myth - what would you say?

I've heard people comment that birth mothers give up their children because they don't love or want them. I absolutely disagree with that. If a birth mother didn't love her child, why she would go through 9 months of pregnancy AND labor? I think people need to recognize that placing a child for adoption is an selfless act of pure, unconditional love.

What's your greatest wish for birth mothers today?

My greatest wish for birth mothers is that they find peace with their decision to place and know that their children appreciate the sacrifice they made.

What excites you about BraveLove?

BraveLove excites me because I am so passionate about adoption. I am currently studying to become an Adoption Social Worker - it is my dream to work with birth parents and adoptive parents and educate people about adoption.