Friday, May 19, 2006

I'll Take Water Any Day...

I was adopted at the age of 5 days. It was a private adoption. For ease, I’ll be referring to my adoptive parents as my “mom” and “dad”, and my birth mother as my “birth mother”. My adoptive dad had a criminal record and therefore my parents were unable to adopt through an agency. But, my father had found out about me through a mutual acquaintance of his and my birth mother. Apparently, my birth mother already had 4-5 other small children, she was in her late 20’s and lived in the “projects” of a Boston community. I have no idea whether she was married or not. My dad made the arrangements and went home to tell my mom the “news”.

My mom had wanted a baby desperately, but had been unable to conceive after 11 years of marriage. When my dad came home that day and said “get ready, we are getting a baby tonight”, my mom couldn’t believe it. Of course, they were not prepared in any way…I spent my first night with my mom and dad sleeping in a banana box…yes, a banana box! Why they did not take a picture of this, I don’t know, but I sure would love to have seen one.

I grew up with the knowledge that I had been adopted. I never remember being “told”, it must have just been something that was talked about with me since I was a baby. However, I never knew the exact circumstances of the adoption. My mom used to tell me that she and my dad went to an orphanage and picked me out especially from all the babies. I don’t know why they felt the need to explain it this way…I guess they wanted me to feel “special”. It really wasn’t necessary, my mom made me feel “special” my entire life…I really didn’t need explanations, I had all the love anyone could want.

When I was around 10, I was looking through my mom’s hope chest and found a baby blanket. When I asked my mom what it was, she got a weird look on her face (she never could lie). There was a stamp on the blanket with the name of a local charity hospital. My mom had always told me that I was born at a certain private Boston hospital. Once again, I have no idea why…maybe she just didn’t want me to know I had been born in poverty. But, the funny thing was that we were not much better off economically, so again, the decision was strange to me. Anyway, that is when she told me the truth about my adoption…that it was private, and why. It was no biggie to me. I simply found it interesting. I think adults sometimes overthink things…kids understand the things that really matter. Unfortunately, in addition to my adoption being private, it also had never been legalized. This caused problems as I got older since I didn’t have a birth certificate in my adoptive name. Luckily, my dad knew someone in the local city hall, and managed to get it rectified prior to my attending college. Heh, my dad and his connections…there’s enough there for a book, never mind a blog…

Anyway, my dad was Italian, his parents were quite old-fashioned and really didn’t believe in adoption. While they were never unkind to me, I always knew that I wasn’t thought of as one of their “real” grandchildren. When reading Learning to Sing, by Clay Aiken, I could totally relate to his chapter on his step-dad and how Clay knew that his step-dad could never accept him as a child of his own since he wasn’t blood. Quite a sucky feeling that I knew only too well, thanks to my grandmother…

My dad ended up back in jail when I was 9, and remained there until I was 12. My parents were divorced by this time. During the 2nd year of his incarceration, I went to visit him, in jail in Pennsylvania, along with my grandparents. Of course, I was nervous sitting in the waiting room. We had just driven into the jail grounds, with towers at each corner containing officers with machine guns. We had just gone through a search of our bags and pockets before entering. So, yeah, as an 11 year old, it was pretty intimidating. As we waited for them to call us for the visit, I was sitting and holding a tissue in my hands. I was nervous, so I was kind of wringing the tissue. My grandmother looked at me and said “if you think you’re nervous, just imagine how your grandfather must feel, I mean, blood is thicker than water”. I just looked at her. It bothered me, but I had other things on my mind at that moment. Of course, when I got home, I told my mother and made her promise not to say anything to my grandmother. Of course, she did anyway…heh, my mom was great.

Well..the moral of this story is *g*…blood certainly isn’t thicker than water…not when it comes to love. I grew up with family that was not blood, and friends who meant as much as that family. Today, I have new friends, who, too, are like family. I just had to shake my head when I attended Clay’s Joyful Noise 2005 Tour, and before the last song he talked about how family has nothing to do with being related. Hee, Clay and I have a con.nec.tion…wheeeeeeee!

Clay Aiken singing “Don’t Save it all for Christmas Day”…

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6 Comments:

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Vox Vixen said...

What an interesting childhood story you have. Kudos to your mom for never hiding the adoption from you. I think when it gets hidden it takes on more importance than it should. Love is thicker than blood.

 
At 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read all your blogs today. Your love for your Mother really shines through. As one who was not close to her mother (long story), they made me a little wistful, but also happy because I know that I have a good relationship with my own daughter. I hope that she would write about me in such a loving manner.
P.S. Clay Aiken rocks!

 
At 6:03 PM, Blogger cindydoe said...

Thank-you so much for sharing your story with us. I feel priviledged to read it! I agree, I'll take water any day!

 
At 8:33 PM, Blogger clayoradoan said...

Just read all your blogs too. Your stories are very heartwarming. Thanks for sharing. No wonder you connect so well.

 
At 6:39 AM, Blogger The ConCLAYve-Nan said...

Thanks for sharing your story. And you're right - you do have a con.nec.tion with Clay - you are both loving caring people not afraid to show your emotions.

 
At 5:06 AM, Blogger Shell said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I'll take water too. We have a new 4 year old nehphew that my sister-in-law and her husband are adopting and we just love that little guy. It would never cross our minds to think of him differently than any of our other nephews and nieces. Unfortunately, some other members of the family believe in the "blood is thicker than water" concept. They are the ones that will miss out.

 

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