Dear Adoption, You’ve Taught Me A Lot
You taught me how to be a fighter when I was abandoned at birth and dropped off at a Romanian orphanage. During my fifteen month stay in the orphanage, I had only gained 7lbs. I had anemia, rickets, and would store food in my cheeks overnight because I didn’t know when my next meal would be.
You taught me how to adapt when I was adopted by an American family and raised in a culture different from the one I was born into. I was told that I was able to recognize and understand some spoken Romanian when my parents initially came to adopt me; forcing me to learn a new language and lose my mother tongue.
You taught me how to be stealthy when I tried to find my birth family as a teenager. I was caught by my adoptive parents at first, having the security settings bumped up on the computer. Within days I unlocked the security settings and continued my search; finding my family in Romania via Facebook, in the summer of 2012.
You taught me how to stand up for myself when I got into confrontations with my adoptive parents and when I moved out at 18.
You taught me how to seek out support from those who accept me for who I am when I am reminded that I was Plan B.
You taught me how to lead in 2012, when I created United Adoptees of Romania, which has brought together hundreds of Romanian adoptees and their adoptive parents.
You taught me how to network when talk of a news documentary eventually evolved into an episode, multiple news articles, and 5 episodes of a talk show in 2014. All of which involved finding my family in Romania.
You taught me compassion when I forced myself to gain perspective of all sides of the triad. I was able to understand myself and those who were involved in other aspects of adoption; most importantly my birth mother and adoptive parents.
You taught me self-control when I was sitting with my grandpa in Romania when he got drunk and told me he had actually forced my birth mother to put me in the orphanage and give me up for adoption. Then later when I visited the orphanage grounds with him. Then when I found out after I was adopted, my grandpa in Romania was able to buy a boat, a motorcycle, and a bunch of other expensive toys.
You taught me unconditional love and patience when it comes to my birth mom. Even though I know she loves me and sometimes it feels like she hates me, I never give up in offering her love and support.
You taught me resilience and how to intimidate when I found out my birth father was a rapist; that I was conceived in rape.
You taught me forgiveness when my adoptive parents and I reconnected after our relationship seemed to deteriorate.
You taught me tenacity when I decided to walk about five miles from my hotel room to my birth mother’s home in Braila, Romania.
You taught me self-expression when I wrote my first book and create videos telling my story.
You taught me philanthropy and entrepreneurship when I started United Adoptees of Romania, a non profit that strives to teach Romanian adoptees about their heritage while also helping those still in Romanian orphanages.