I have a special place in my heart for foster situations, and wish I had the wherewithal to pursue it in my adoption path. Maybe one day. My grandparents fostered some 30 children over the course of their lives, and adopted two of my uncles to add to their family of six biological children. I know it was not an easy journey for them as they fell in love then had to say goodbye to these kids, but what an important and rewarding calling.
Today, I share the touching story of my friend J, whose rough start changed his life’s direction and led him to a loving home nearly 40 years ago.
I Was Chosen
Passing me on the street, you would never think twice about who I am and what I have been through. Honestly, even some of my close friends do not know the entire truth. I am 38 years old and live in a small Texas town. I have a wonderful family, a wife and two girls, 13 and 7. I have had the fortune of traveling the world while serving my country in the United States Air Force. I have a wonderful job that allows me to work from home. Needless to say, I have been very blessed.
My life did not start out this way.
A Rough Beginning
I was born in Galveston, Texas, and at the age of 6 months, my heart stopped beating for 34 seconds. When Life Flight arrived to take me to the hospital, my lungs were filled with beer and eggs. This was the last time I lived with my biological parents. After my recovery, I was sent to live in a foster home, not knowing that this would be the place where my good fortune would start.
At the age of 2, I was adopted by my foster parents, two loving individuals who chose me. Most parents love their children, as I love mine; however, not every child can say they were chosen. This makes me feel as if I am more special than anyone on the face of the Earth. I was chosen.
Not only did they choose me, they also chose my older brother, who, although not biologically related, shares my same features of red hair, fair skin and freckles. My mother is from German decent with tall, dark hair, and my father is of Hispanic origin, with dark hair and skin. To say we look nothing like our parents is an understatement. Growing up, it didn’t matter that we didn’t have the physical traits of our parents, because we had their love. They are my mom and dad.
One of my first memories, confirmed by my parents, was during the adoption proceedings. The judge asked the courtroom to raise their hands if they believed that my mom and dad would be fit parents. I raised my hand, a gesture that got the courtroom laughing.
At the age of 10, I lost my father to cancer. So my mother had to fill another role as a parent. She had to be the mom and the dad in my life. And she did just fine.
Meeting My Biological Parents
Fast forward to my junior year in high school, when I received a letter in the mail from my biological mother indicating she had health issues and wanted to see me. Without my mom knowing, my best friend and I arranged a visit. When we arrived at her house, all I could think was, “Thank God I was adopted.” I will not go into detail about the living arrangements, but I will say that I was better off living as I had. The night I met my biological mother, I returned home and gave my mom a great, big hug and said, “Thank you.” She asked what that was for, and I told her where I had been.
I met my biological father a week before I graduated. He offered me money, and I respectfully declined it. He, too, was not what I had imagined. Not that I had imagined them many times or thought of them too much as a kid, but everyone wants to know their biological heritage. Curiosity got the better of me.
Last year, my biological mother passed away, which opened conversations between me and my biological siblings and father. Since it had been close to 20 years since I had seen my biological father, I decided to give it another shot and agreed to meet again. Ironically, he lives in the same small Texas town as I do. So I met him and some of my biological siblings for dinner. There was still nothing there between my father and me, but I can honestly say I gave it a shot.
A Choice That Gave a Chance
This January, I lost my mom, the person who, along with my late dad, gave me the best gift anyone could ever give, and that is a chance. There is no telling how my life would be if I had not been adopted. Who would I be? Where would I be? Would I have a beautiful wife and two wonderful daughters? Would I be alive?
It all started with my mom and dad choosing me.
So, to all parents who are adopting a child I say, “Thank you.” And to every child who has been adopted, know that your parents chose you.