I am a storyteller and I am constantly recording peoples’ stories on camera and encouraging people to tell their stories online. So… it would only be right of me to tell you my story. My story is bizarre, and with the grace of God; my story is what shaped me to be the person I am today. I share my story not for people to feel empathy, but to explain where I come from emotionally. In telling my story, I hope to encourage others to not give up on their dreams, and to think about adoption as a saving grace. If it were not for my mother who adopted me who knows where I would be today. Since it is near Thanksgiving, I thought I would open up and give thanks to those who saved me.
Left in a play pin at the age of 3 months old, with only a diaper on. No one had bathed me for some time, I was filthy and hadn’t been feed for a while. This is what the adoption agency reported when they first saw me. The report stated that I was malnourished and neglected as an infant. Two cigarette burns, one on each of my knees. As troubling as this may seem, I can’t even remember the pain I must have endured during the moment my flesh began to burn. See, my parents were high on drugs when they did this. Later in life when I was advancing my education, I found out that people who are on meth tend to burn things symmetrically. This makes total sense due to both of my knees being burned.
I was told that CPS was involved taking me away from my biological parents and then handing me over to an adoption agency who then put me in foster care. I was an infant that had a condition called colic. This condition is a pain in the stomach caused by intestinal gas or obstruction in the intestines. When a baby has colic they cry, cry and cry. Maybe this was the reason why my parents burned me…. I wouldn’t shut up. Not too long ago I was thinking about this situation. And I feel that God allowed me to have colic so that I could cry. Cry myself out of the relationship I was in with my biological parents. A cry that would eventually land me in the arms of my new beginning…my adopted parents.
My adopted parents had been trying to conceive for a long time. They adopted me when I was six months old. During the time, I was in foster care, I was nursed back to health. I went from a very skinny infant to well nourished. My new mother was ecstatic to have me, she loved me, cared for me, saved me. She read to me, sang to me, loved me like I needed to be loved. I truly believe that if she hadn’t loved me the way she did while I was an infant I would be highly socially awkward. My biological parents left me alone for hours without interacting with me, so my new mother really saved me from being a recluse. I had a speech problem while growing up. Many of the doctors said it was caused by how malnourished I was as an infant. During those speechless years, I worked hard, harder than any of my classmates. Because I had difficulty with speech, I developed great study habits. These habits allowed me to conquer my speech therapy, and continued in my later years. Sometimes I think about what would have happened if I decided not to try so hard, if I just gave up. Never give up, no matter how much you want to. The finish line is never too far away.
About ten years ago, I went to the adoption agency that helped me get adopted. I asked them if they could tell me where my biological mother and father were. They told me that the adoption was a closed and would not give me any information of their whereabouts. The agency did recommend a person who could seek them out though. I wrote down the person’s info and called her. The only info I provided her with was my birth and where I was born. Three days later I received an email explaining that my parents were alive and where they lived. The first thing I did was write my mom. I sent a picture of me and my family first class mail and hoped for the best.
The following day I was busy traveling up north. I had received several phone calls throughout the day and I finally had a chance to check my voicemail. I will never forget the call, “Um this is your sister and I am calling you for our mom.” I couldn’t believe it, my family called me back. Long story short, I called them back that same night and found out that not only did I have a half-sister but I was had a full-blooded sister who was a few years younger than me. We decided to meet the following day.
It was very weird, strange and eye-opening all at the same time when I met my sisters and mother. We met at a restaurant and talked for a very long time. The conversation continued at my sister’s house. She too did not know our father. We contacted the lady who found my mother and sisters and asked her to find our father.
In about two days’ time we knew where he lived and his phone number. I called him up explained the situation and met him two weeks later. My adopted mother had some frequent flyer miles that she allowed him to use so that he could fly from Texas out to California. While my sister and I waited him to come of the plane we quickly discussed what he might look like. Passenger after passenger came off the plane and finally he came off. I started laughing because I looked just like him, except he wore a cowboy hat. It was odd meeting him. My sister and I both bought a watch for him and had a special saying engraved on the back of it. My biological father was bipolar so one minute he was all smiles and laughs and the next he was outside wanting to be alone. My mother suffered from illnesses as well, but bless her heart. She always greeted you with a smile no matter how hard her life was at the time. During the years, she was alive, we wrote one another and I asked her several personal questions.
So, we were all together under one roof, my biological parents, me and my sister. Surreal doesn’t even come close to how I felt. We decided to go to Sears to take a family photo. I never took part in a family photo so I thought it was only natural to take one with my biological parents. Natural it wasn’t. Later that night we all went dancing and my father said he could out dance me…wrong and he quickly found out.
Both of my biological parents have passed. I am very blessed that I had the opportunity to meet them both. Even though my adopted parents loved me, at times I felt very alone. Alone in a world that did not understand me, because I myself did not understand me at the time. I knew I was adopted, but not having your blood relatives or anyone who looks like you around can make you feel very isolated. However, the puzzle of my life is connected and I can move on.
I cannot imagine where I would be right now if I had stayed with my biological parents. Like I said before, I believe I had colic for a reason. That reason being there was a better life for me. A life where I could aspire who I wanted to be. My mother gave me so much inspiration and told me I could accomplish anything. It was her winning spirit and determination that helped me overcome the many obstacles in life. I am thankful for who I am. I am also thankful for those who helped me along the way. Thank, you mom.
I love telling stories.
My biological mother to the left and my adopted mother to the right
I have been working in television and media for over 18 years. My experience includes news photojournalist, editor, producer and storyteller. Throughout the years, I have been honored to receive the Edward R. Murrow award, Five Telly Awards, and many more. My motto is “THERE'S AN OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME BETTER AT MY CRAFT EACH TIME I GET BEHIND THE CAMERA."