We all start out the same. Biologically, we all come into being the same way. Of course, there are different methods of this happening, but when all is said and done, a baby is born. From the exact moment we let out that first cry, we all embark on different journeys: a one-of-a-kind story that no one else can repeat to exact replication.
Mine started out a little like this. My mother was a young teenager when she became pregnant with her firstborn: me. A mere 15 year old, caught up in adolescent behavior, motherhood was not something that she was prepared for or wanting at that time. She became a mother before she received a drivers license, went to the prom, or graduated from high school.
She tried to take care of me, but as would not be unexpected from a 15 year old, parenthood proved to be too much. There had been instances in which my safety and well being were compromised and resulted in my grandparents becoming the sole caregivers as my mom relinquished her guardianship.
My grandparents, although taking on the role of parents, were very good at proving themselves to be a grandma and grandpa in my life. Christmas was fantastic! One Christmas, as I walked into the living room, there was a gift filling each empty space, each of them with my name on it. I was obsessed with The Land Before Time characters and they had gotten me a blow up Littlefoot that was larger than surely two of me put together.
Living with grandparents had its definite perks, but it was not easy. The lines between child and grandchild often were blurred and the consistency of parenthood was not always apparent. My mom did not come around on a consistent basis, and when she did, I was left confused and hurt as to why she was unable to be a mother to me. My birth dad was not in the picture at all and the kids at preschool would poke fun, “why don’t you have a mom or dad picking you up?”
My little heart yearned for a mom and dad.
There was an agreement that my mom would have the chance to parent me again when she turned 18, but her parenting ability had not yet proved itself worthy. Consequently, my grandparents put fate into my hands: My three year old hands. What did I want for my future? Simple. A mom and dad. That would solve everything, right?
Thus began the journey into adoption.
I am unable to dictate the start of my journey to exact detail of how it happened. Most of what I know about my first three years of life comes from various family members recounting their stories and perspectives. There are aspects I am sure I have missed or facts that may be misconstrued to a point. But, I know this: my birth mom and my grandparents supported me to the best of their capability. Their actions were out of love and they did everything to their best intentions; upside down pacifiers and all.
I have chosen to look at the first steps of my journey in that way. I could hold anger, sadness, and pain surrounding the first three years, but that would only cause me to be stuck in the past. I struggle with abandonment, attachment and rejection, but they do not define me and are not a result of malicious behavior. Life is what we make it, and although we have not been able to control different events and their consequences, we are in charge of growing from each action.