I was born in Henderson, Nevada in 1965. My mother had five older boys in foster care when she became pregnant with me, and she felt she had no choice but to relinquish me to adoption. I was placed with a family at birth through Catholic Social Services (now Catholic Charities) but was removed at about seven months old due to neglect.
About that time, when I was eight months of age, my adoptive mother called Catholic Social Services and requested another baby. They had a boy who they adopted prior to me. My adoptive family consisted of a mom, dad, older brother and about eight dogs on the day I arrived.
Due to the neglect of the first family, when I came to my parents, my head was flat in the back, I could not sit up unassisted and I could not self-feed or self-soothe. While I don't remember this, there are some somatic memories I experience. I had a new life, new family, and I didn’t know
where I came from or where I was for the first eight months of my life.
I grew up in a mostly blue-collar neighborhood full of trees and kids. My mother was a teacher and my father worked for the local power company. My parents had relatives and friends who had adopted children, so that felt pretty normal to me as I was around them often. My parents are still alive and, as an adult, I take care of them now.
My adoptive family was always supportive and cared for me. My worst memory of adoption is being told that, “You could be sent back,” by someone in my family if I didn't “behave and act right.” This was ALWAYS a fear of mine until I was a teenager. I learned to be quiet and to be
good. My older brother was often in trouble, so I learned it was better to toe the line, mind my Ps and Qs and just do what I was told. Knowing that I had the first mother somewhere, and feeling she was part of me has been one of the best memories. I always wished I could know what my first mother was like.
I ended up meeting her on February 1, 2017, via telephone. She did not remember where I was born or when. I had to remind her. She had ten children, and she said, “You were the one I had to forget about, so I need help remembering.” This was devastating for me to hear. I met her face-to-face on September 20, 2017, in her tiny apartment. She had invited me there after a long period
of initial rejection as she had been very ill and knew she would die. But she wanted to meet me and for me to meet her before she passed. She died May 20, 2018. My birth father is still alive but denies I am his even though DNA says differently.
I had to overcome feeling like I would never have enough food as I was malnourished at first. I would hide food, overeat, and worry about food often in my childhood. This is something I still struggle with. I had other childhood traumas, too, that I worked on in therapy, and I later became a therapist to help children. Now I work with children in foster care. Service is healing.
I am proud that I have OVERCOME so much, made a life for myself, and that I get to serve others. My goals this year are to be able to speak at conferences to other adoptees, to teach and speak at conferences for therapists to help them understand the adoptee perspective, hold support groups, and to be part of a community of adoptees working to heal. I hope to be able to become a
support to many.
Ten years from now, I want to be doing all of the above and more. I want to have a private practice that focuses on play therapy. I want to travel, to love, to have deeper connections with other adoptees, and to provide space for those who are hurting. Time is the only thing holding me
back as I work on finalizing many projects, training, and writing. Just getting started!
Sometimes, fear of rejection holds me back - my own self-consciousness and my own worries.
For me, it is important to share my story as I am not alone, and many others feel they are alone.
I want to be part of a movement of healing for the adoptee community.