The Sunkissed Life

Adoption is For Always

Jahara Stevenson

Growing up my favorite story was called “Adoption is For Always”. As a 5-year-old reading this book, then again as a 10 year old, and even as a teenager, I didn’t realize how true the title of this book was until now. Now while I understand that may sound silly but let me explain. I knew being adopted was a forever thing, however I didn’t realize the affects of adoption would arise regularly forever and that I’d have to work to be conscious of that. There are certain traits and attributes about me that stem subconsciously from my adoption. I can’t speak for every child who has ever been through adoption but I can speak to life through my lens. My adoption was very untraditional which was such a prequel to my life. My biological mother put me up for adoption and I was basically “chosen” by my family almost instantly. Everything happened so fast after that. I was born and got to go home with my new family before my adoption was even finalized in court. It was as if I was already my parent’s daughter. They were always honest and upfront with me about my adoption. From the age of 2 they always let me know my story and answered any questions they could.  As I got older things got more detailed and I began to truly understand what it meant to be adopted, or so I thought.

I thought simply understanding where I came from was going to be good enough in terms of understanding myself. I communicated with my birth mom for the first time when I was 12 years old. We spoke for 3 hours and I thought I made all the progress I needed in life. Throughout this journey into adulthood I have learned that every detail of my life is a string in the fabric of who I am. I am adopted but that’s not all I am. However, because I am adopted I understand internalized rejection, I understand abandonment, I understand loneliness, I understand not knowing where you come from. While I know who my birth mom is, we don’t speak anymore. We don’t have a connection and I can’t confide in her. Therefore there is still this level of mystery associated with me. The beauty in that is I get to walk in the truth of discovering whom the Lord sees me as.

Adoption creates a lot of insecurities but sometimes there are glimmers of hope that help work through those. I am not saying every flaw in me is from being adopted but it’s apart of my makeup. I used to be embarrassed to admit that I was adopted because I thought people would judge me for it. Now, I understand it as a connector that allows me to relate to so many people. There are things I understand that I can connect to others with because I have lived and experienced what those emotions are.

I remember feeling the need to always please and prove myself not because I didn’t think I was good enough, but simply because I didn’t want my parents to regret that I was the child they got stuck with out of thousands of other options. I remember feeling like my family and I weren’t connected, not because of anything they had done, but simply because I just didn’t know my place in this large community of people. I remember being unsure if I wanted to have kids or have a family because I couldn’t trace my genetics and I didn’t want to subject anyone else to the possible surprises that could arise later in life. At one point I didn’t even want my friends to know I was adopted because I mentally associated my adoption with a rejection.

My life now is by far better than it would’ve been if my birth mom raised me. I find that refreshing when I am struggling with different things. I think of what my life could’ve been and I instantly am excited just for where I am now. I’m thankful for the opportunities I have had, I am grateful for the lessons I have learned. With the right perspective I can look at my adoption as a reward, as a second chance, as a gift. It’s an opportunity that never goes away, its forever. Adoption is for always.