Being Adopted — Rebecca’s Story
Why am I here? Why don’t they want me? Why don’t they love me? What would it have been like to stay with them? Where are they? Why do I feel like there’s a piece of me missing?
Those are some of the questions adopted children might have when they know they are adopted. For me, I don’t remember ever not knowing I was adopted. I remember the story my mom used to tell me about how they came and got me from the Albuquerque hospital.
Then, when I was around twelve years old, we arranged to meet my birth mom. It was around Christmas. My family and I were staying at my grandma’s house in upstate New York. My birth mom, mom, family, and I were going to meet her husband and her boys at an outdoor mall halfway between my grandma’s and where she lived. Before we even left Texas, I bought presents for my birth mom, her husband, and their little boy. We drove over two hours all crowded into one car and arrived right on time.
The mall was crowded and we had to drive around and around the parking lot looking for a space. While we drove, my mom tried to reach my birth mom on her cell phone. We were walking around and waiting in the cold December air. I think it was snowing. I was so excited because I would get to see who gave birth to me, and maybe ask some questions. I would get to meet her husband and my little half brother.
Hours went by. We kept walking and I kept looking into the face of each young mom who walked by. I thought, Are you my mom? Are you my mom? Each one walked by me never even noticing I existed. So we walked around and waited. We were supposed to meet at the heart of the mall, in the food court. My mom kept calling, leaving message after message, but no call came back.
The feelings that ran through me were, pain, sadness, and so many questions. My mom wasn’t happy with her. My dad was really mad. Why didn’t she come? I wondered. Was she afraid? Does she not want to meet me?
We ate lunch, but I wasn’t really hungry. I wanted the phone to ring. I wanted her to come. We finished eating, cleaned up, and then we were back outside walking around again in the cold.
We bought sneakers. I don’t think we needed them. I think we just did it because we didn’t know what else to do. Back outside it seemed colder, the light was starting to fade. It had been four hours of walking and waiting, when my mom finally stopped it all and said what I already knew. She wasn’t coming. We could walk all night in the cold but nothing I could do would make her show up. No birth mom, no half brother, and no other family”she didn’t even call. She left me”for the second time in my life.
Finally, a few years later, I met my birth mom. It was an exciting experience. She lives in Long Island, New York. When we got there, her husband was so nice and warm and met me with open arms. My mom and I stayed there for a few hours. We brought my two half brothers presents. At first, they were shy towards us. I was so afraid they wouldn’t like me. Then they began to open up and started to get attached to me. I was filled with joy.
I took a ride in the car with my birth mom to see the new house they were going to move to. She told me I could ask her questions if I had any. I only had one. Why didn’t she come to meet me that cold December day? She said it was because they were all getting sick; she didn’t think it was a good idea to go in the cold.
She is a nice person. She and my birth father were not ready to be parents and they were not married when they had me at 19. My birth father used to call my mom and check on me. Then he stopped when I got older.
When I tell people I am adopted they are like, “No way, really? You look like your mom.” I find it kind of amusing because at first, they don’t believe me. I love my family. My parents truly care about me and love me. We don’t know where my birth father is. My birth mom and her friends have been looking for him.
In my mind, the questions that were there are almost all answered. Why am I here? I am here because God put me here for a reason. Why didn’t they want me? They weren’t ready to be parents. Why don’t they love me? They do love me. They loved me enough to give me to two loving parents that can take care of me better than they could. And they knew that. What would it have been like to stay with them? I wouldn’t have the nice life I have now. I wouldn’t have the friends I have, the good school I go to. Where are they? My birth mom lives in Long Island. My birth father? Unknown.
In the end, I am truly grateful I am in this world. I think of how I could have not been born and not exist, and then I think of all the other people who are adopted. Some of them don’t ever meet their birth parents. I am lucky to have the parents I have. I am happy that I can feel special because, yes, I am adopted, and yes, I have met my birth mom.
Share your own story here. Sharing stories is a powerful way to connect with other people. Be part of the Teen Health & Wellness Personal Story Project—like Rebecca did above—and share your story about successfully dealing with or overcoming a challenge.