I’ve always been told that I am lucky to have incredible parents, and it’s something I’ve always believed, too. I have two moms, two dads, a not-so-little half-brother, and a little half sister, who is ten years younger than I am. One set of parents doesn’t live together, but the other set of parents does. My little sister Amanda lives with one mom while my brother and I live with the other set of parents. One dad lives in another country, and one mom lives a couple of hours away. I never realized just how many people my family adds up to if you sit down and do the math. I mean, seriously: if I have two moms and two dads, that must mean that I have eight grandparents and more aunts, uncles, and cousins than I can count or remember names for. And the crazy thing is, my family didn’t get this way because of a divorce. It got this way because of adoption.
According to the dictionary, adoption in this case is to take another’s child as one’s own, and as detailed by the National Adoption Center, there are several different types of adoption. The first is international adoption, which allows a family to adopt a child from overseas. The second is closed adoption, in which there is no contact with the birth family, and the adoption family and the documents signed may or may not be available to the child when they reach the age of eighteen. Open adoption means that the adopted child and his/her family can have contact (that ranges anywhere from letters and pictures to seeing each other in person). Additionally, there are foster care situations (taking care of a child in the foster care system until they’re adopted) that can end up with the foster parent adopting their foster child. I’m very excited to share my adoption story, because it is something special that was shared with me by both my birth mom and adopted parents.
I was adopted when I was a baby in 1997, and my younger brother followed — also as a baby — in 2000. My birth mother, Margaret, told me and my mom on February 6, 2011, that the hardest thing she had to do in her life was to decide to give us up. Her back story is longer than I feel comfortable sharing, but the bottom line is that she didn’t have the money to raise us. My birth father was eighteen, and she was twenty. They really wanted to raise me but just couldn’t figure out the money situation. Margaret sat through many interviews before she decided on my adopted parents, Jim and Karen Rudolph.
Jim and Karen were so happy when they got the call that I was going to be their daughter. Margaret and my parents decided on an open adoption because my parents wanted us to be able to learn about our heritage. Mom always sent Margaret letters filled with my questions for her. While I have only received one letter in response to most of my questions, there have been plenty of cards for holidays that go back and forth. I learned that I am Latino (from my birth father’s side), Canadian, French-Canadian, Danish, German, Dutch, and I feel like I am forgetting one or two more. I have learned little about past relatives, but I do know about the ones that are alive today. My Aunt Bonnie is Margaret’s older sister. She has four kids — the oldest being a year or two older than me, and the youngest being Amanda’s age. Aunt Bonnie is partially deaf, and her husband and two of my cousins are deaf as well. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot of knowledge about my birth family, but for me this is all I know, and I can definitely learn more as I get older.
As you might have noticed, I have not mentioned my birth father much. His name is Fred, and I don’t know much about him because he ran off before I was born. All I know is that he is from Honduras and that I have a grandmother there. I asked Margaret a lot of questions concerning this topic, but she didn’t seem to want to respond to them. What I do know is that I look a lot like him, although I sometimes question whether that’s actually true or not. Occasionally I believe it. I will always wonder what he’s like, especially because –barring a miracle– I most likely will never meet him.
My new family is really wicked awesome, and I don’t think it could have possibly turned out better. I have several cousins on both my mom and dad’s side, so there’s always something to do. When we were little, my family and my mom’s brother’s kids would always head out to amusement parks as a summer date every year for several years until school became a priority. My mom’s side has a huge reunion every year, and we almost never miss it. My dad’s side gets together every five years or so. These reunions from both sides of the family are crazy fun. I get teased on my mom’s side, but that was only because I was the first girl. The cool thing is that not one person cares that me and my brother are adopted.
Now I’m sixteen years old, and quite happy with the way everything has turned out. I have a wonderful family that loves me for who I am, and I have been able to learn a lot (even though it might not be as much as I would like). The only sad part is that Margaret doesn’t keep in touch very well, which can hurt a lot. The only time I really got to see her and my little half-sister Amanda (whom she decided to raise with my half-sister’s father) was February 6, 2011. And even then, she mostly talked to my mom while I played with Amanda. It was fun meeting them, but I can’t wait until I’m eighteen and can see them without having to bring my mom along.
Overall, I am very lucky that I was adopted and that I was able to share this story with you. I honestly can’t imagine a better life than the one I was given.