The Importance of Family for Adopted Children

IMG_1377I’ve been featuring so many inspiring stories of brave children escaping abuse through foster care and adoption, and the heartache of adoptive families waiting and waiting for their children that I just had to share something from my own life.

Those of us lucky enough to know and love our parents realize that family comes in many shapes and sizes. If we end up in a semi-normal family where we’ve spent quality hours with caring parents or aunts and cousins, grandparents and great-uncles, there are shining moments where family makes a lot of sense.

I have many beautiful Thanksgiving memories around a sturdy family table when my sister and I were young, with rambunctious Greek uncles and my beautiful Yia-Yia (that’s grandmother in Greek) leading dances around our happy living room.

My parents divorced very dramatically when I was 13 – complete with kidnappings (me), police inference, stalking, jail time (my father). It was excruciating to be a young teenager and know that my parents were not only fallible but at times weak and vicious, to each other at least.

We lost touch with my father’s whole side of the family growing up, but Facebook is an amazing thing, and last year my younger sister Lisa connected with our first cousins who grew up in Mexico City and Miami. We’d lost touch with almost everyone from my father’s side after this bloodthirsty divorce.

Our first cousin Danny is now one of the joys of our lives; he introduced us to our Spanish cousins, putting us in touch with family we never imagined thought of us or could love us, and they do! I can envision wanting to find your biological family after imagining them for so many decades.

As it must feel somewhat similar for many adoptive children in search of their biological family, I suddenly have inherited a whole side of family that I barely knew existed, this Hispanic heritage, cousins that remember me as a baby and have pictures. There’s something primal and vital about finding bloodlines of people you only imagined about, and then realizing they are fine relatives, intelligent and kind.

For those of you who wonder why any abused or adopted kids would go in search of their family, I say you never know the emotional importance of finding your biological family until you walk in another person’s shoes.

I understand. Please tell me your adoption story in Comments below.

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