The adoption took time, the love arrived instantly…

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You may not know this but, I’m adopted.

In honor of November being National Adoption Awareness Month and Saturday being National Adoption Day, I thought I would share a bit about my own adoption story…

I was adopted when I was four months old from Guatemala.

I grew up in a home with five siblings—three brothers and two sisters.

Some times, although not all, people will see my family and me out in public and have this look about them that says, “They’re related?”

Going along with this, I more times than not get asked the same question individually, to which my answer is always ‘yes.’

But how? Their puzzled face reads.

Most of the time, especially to this day when I get asked, I just simply say yes and leave it at that. I don’t offer them the details of my whole life story.

It’s not that I am ashamed of being adopted by any means, but, there’s just some people who I simply don’t feel the need or want to share my story with, especially if and when I get the vibe that they’re being just nosy.

Being an adoptee is a great thing.

Not that being not adopted isn’t great, but I love, when I want to, being able to share my story with others, especially those around the world who may be contemplating adoption at some point in their life. I want to raise awareness about the option of adoption.

Being adopted can bring unsolicited advice and comments from time to time, most of which I can usually shrug off while, other times I think, “Why on Earth would someone ask me something like that?”

I’ve gotten the typical comments of “Your parents didn’t love you,” You weren’t wanted,” and other variations of the like.

Of course, at times, especially when I was younger, those words might have hurt. Now, as a grown woman, I practically laugh because for my biological parents, I’d say it was one of the most loving things they could do for me. I don’t know them, but I can only imagine that both my parents and other adoptee’s parents want what’s best for them, something to which they perhaps thought they couldn’t provide.

What my birth parents did was selfless. It was loving. It was likely the hardest decision they ever had to make.

Of course, this thought brings along the unsolicited question of: “Would you ever want to meet your birth parents?”

That’s a tricky one.

On one hand, yes, I have certainly thought about it, but from having my own conversations with family members and other adoptees outside of my family, it’s not at the top of my priority list.

My family now and which I grew up with, is my family. Now, naturally I am a curious person and have wondered a time or two if I have more siblings, and if my birth parents are even alive, but for the most part, other than to find out medical history, perhaps, I don’t have a burning desire to meet my birth parents.

Why?

Well, because like I said above, my family now is my family. And I personally just think it would be weird, awkward, uncomfortable. Now that doesn’t mean I have any issue with other adoptees seeking out their birth family but like I said, for me, it’s just never been a burning desire of mine. I will say this though, I do hope to one day travel to Guatemala and learn more about my culture.

Going back to what life was like growing up adopted…

Well, one particular incident is what led to my best friend and I becoming just that: best friends, to which we remain today all these years later—despite her moving away in the third grade, us going to different colleges and us now living three hours apart.

My best friend, like me, is adopted. So cool, right? But that’s obviously just one perk of her being my best friend.

In second grade, I can’t recall who the student was but a student was making fun of me for being adopted. At that age, looking back now, where do kids even come up with this stuff? Of course I was upset and my friend, my best friend Erin K., stood up right away and defended me. And since then, we’ve been inseparable.

While most of my life and memories have been positive and happy, there have been some far and few in between like that time in second grade.

Another one came via telephone a few years back, much older than I was in second grade. One of my mom’s “friends” (I say this loosely because, I don’t consider her the definition of a real friend but, that’s for another time, LOL) called our house. I answered and she immediately started talking to me as if she thought I was my mom. I quickly interrupted her and told her I wasn’t my mom, to her which her response was:

“You guys sound so much alike, which is weird since you two aren’t genetically related.”

My jaw dropped to the floor. I couldn’t believe someone, especially a grown adult who is supposedly my mom’s friend, would even think to say something like that and think it’s OK. She’s lucky I didn’t just hang up on her right then and there.

But, overall, like I said, being an adoptee has been awesome. I love that I have a diverse family because it makes me appreciate those different than me that much more.

I am the youngest of six kids. My two sisters are our parent’s biological children/Caucasian, while my brothers are adopted/from Korea. Talk about diversified. 🙂

Nowadays I find the look on people’s faces more funny than rude, and whenever people ask me where I’m from and I say, “Michigan,” for the sake of not having to divulge my entire back story, I get the puzzled look to which I respond by moving ahead in the conversation.

For the most people, people will let it be and let it go, while others question me and ask, “No, really? Where are you really from?” I just smile and say, That is where I’m from. 😉

So, if you’re someone out there reading this and didn’t know much or anything about adoption before and what it means for us adoptees to be adopted, I hope this opened your eyes. And I hope it inspires you to broaden your horizons and seek out other adoption stories in honor of #NationalAdoptionAwarenessMonth.

Until next time…

XO,

Anamaria

The first step to accepting yourself is to stop comparing yourself to others…

It’s officially fall.

The season changed to fall Sept. 22, but who’s counting?

With a change of season I feel like comes a change for many of us. Or, at least those seeking a change. To be honest, I’m not quite sure if I am ever actually seeking a change, or, if I just think I should be doing something different than the same old, same old.

As for this new season?

I could say I am up to changing this or that, but the reality is, I would probably let whatever change I set my mind to fall to the way side because, let’s face it, that’s just who I am.

I will say this, perhaps I won’t do anything drastic, but, as time moves on and I get older each day (because, let’s face it, we all do) I realize I need to stop and smell the roses — er, coffee. I must do this before I just continue to freak out about my two years old mid-life crisis at 27 and wonder why my life isn’t how I pictured it to be when I was younger?

I don’t know when exactly it was but at some point, I started to panic about being whatever age I was at the time and wondering why I wasn’t at the same point in my life as my friends. It never used to bother me, and then one day I found myself constantly obsessing, wondering if and when I would reach certain milestones or other goals people my age tend to make.

In reality, I know me obsessing and freaking out about what I haven’t yet accomplished is a big waste of time and and stress on me, but, I haven’t quite mastered yet the art of just “letting it go.”

How does one “let go” anyway? I think it’s much easier said than done. Right?

And you know, I’m not even sure if this freaking out is because I really think I should have accomplished these milestones by this age of 27, or, if I am more so freaking out about if and when, if ever, these milestones will be crossed for me?

I really think it’s a matter of if and when. After all, on the one hand, I can’t really picture myself as being married and having kids, or another milestone, at this very moment. Not that there’s anything wrong with being married and having kids right now, at whatever age you are, but, personally for me, having kids right now would just be irresponsible of me.

I mean, I am not engaged. I live in a studio apartment. Work five days a week, sometimes 6, up to 8 hours a day. It just wouldn’t be ideal to have a kid. And then as for a wedding? That’s a lot of time and money, too, that, unfortunately I just don’t think I have right now. Obviously in the future I anticipate and hope to, but, that’s the future.

Then, if I don’t stress myself out about myself enough, I feel like I get stressed for other people. People my age getting married, having kids, doing this and that. It can make my head sometimes spin wondering how they are going to balance the process of those things, and the end result, all while maintaining their jobs, friend and family?

I don’t know, perhaps all of these people handle stress and change better than I do, which is likely the case, but then I also wonder when and why it became the “norm” to do all this stuff, which to me, seems so soon?

OK, so it’s really not soon. I mean, I am now officially closer to 30 than I am 20 and that thought alone is terrifying. When I was younger I thought I would be married by the time I was 26 and probably, if ever, have kids shortly after. Funny, right? But, true.

For whatever reason, that wasn’t in the cards for me, which is fine but, with more and more people my age settling down with their significant other and having been steady in their career for a long time, I can’t help but feel I somehow got far left behind in that bandwagon.

Now I know, some people are probably reading this and have actually questioned me like, why is this such a big deal to you and my response is always the same. I don’t know. Perhaps, honestly though, a twinge of envy. Obviously I am happy for other people who are happy, and that’s not to say I am not happy but, I can’t help but wonder (if and) when I will get to experience all these great milestones that they’re reaching. Perhaps, because I am how old I am I figured I should have already reached these milestones? Maybe, but, life has its own way of playing out, which is something it took me a long time to realize.

I used to hate it when people would say, “Everything happens for a reason.” My eyes would bulge out of my head and I would think, “They’re crazy.” Example being, if a loved one died, whether it was of natural causes or terminal illness or accident. WHY? Why did this awful thing have to take my loved one away? I could never fathom why people would say that and I refused to believe it was true until I got older and I essentially forced myself to believe it.

And so perhaps that’s what I need to do now. Force myself to believe that when the time is right, and when it’s meant to be, I will reach all these great milestones so many others I know already have. Perhaps it really isn’t a matter of if it will happen, but when, and it will happen when it’s meant to.

For now, I just to focus on the present. Focus on what is now, not what was or what will be, but the now. And the me now needs to focus on being happy, not envious, of my fellow peers, and focus on thriving on my own. Being happy for myself, by myself, and focusing on my career. I myself have a lot going for me personally and I tend to forget that sometimes.

But like I’ve said before, this is all much easier said than done. And with that, I will likely have to “fake it until I make it”/force myself to believe that when it’s meant to be, I’ll be content with my life and genuinely 100% happy/0% envious of those around me. It pains me to say I have a twinge of envy but, I gotta be honest with people and myself. Otherwise, it’ll just eat away at me and I’ll be miserable.

Anyway…

Until next time…

XO,

Anamaria

 

Prayers For Kalamazoo

Ever since I found out my best friend’s older brother was in the Uber vehicle that we would later find out belonged to an alleged killer, my heart has been heavy. I’ve been sad.

I keep thinking, “what if?” 

I am so incredibly thankful he is okay, but, I am also incredibly sad for the families who lost a loved one(s) from this tragic ordeal.

I still can’t wrap my mind around how or why this happened. And what makes it even harder is we may never know. And even if we do find out, it may never make sense to us.

But, I have been and always will be a believer in God and guardian angels because I believe if weren’t for them, my best friend’s brother might not have been so lucky. He’s like another brother to me; I’ve known him since I was born and he and my brother are best friends and have been since kindergarten.

I’m glad he trusted his gut and got out of the vehicle when he did. I was talking to my mom about it on the phone this morning and she said, “I couldn’t have imagined a world without him.” And I thought the same thing. But the sad reality is, is that there are now 6 families living that nightmare. They now have to live their lives not imagining life without their loved ones but, actually living it. And that, it breaks my heart. 

And of course it’s not just the shooting from Kalamazoo that makes me feel this way, it’s all of them that occur. But, this one hits particularly close to home because a close family friend of mine was involved.

Not only that, but if people didn’t know where his hometown (which is the same as mine) was before, they sure know where it’s at now, due to the national attention the tragedy has received. I was down in Nashville when I first heard about it and it even showed up on the TV at the bar my friend and I were at yesterday.

  

Not only do I know my best friend’s brother who live in Kalamazoo, but, I know other people as well. Friends, sorority sisters, etc. It’s sad and scary because it could have been anyone, anywhere. It could have been someone else I know. I’m thankful it wasn’t, but, it’s a scary thought knowing this kind of thing CAN happen anywhere.

There clearly was some kind of mental illness this man was dealing with, and I can only hope that moving forward more can be done about education on mental health. I see people say guns are the problem, but, in my opinion I disagree. 

People kill people.

It doesn’t matter if the person has a gun–he or she can and will find other means to harm people if they really want. I know not everyone agrees with that but, I’m sick of the blame being put on guns.

It’s a mixture of the two–I believe some, not all, people need to be educated on gun safety AND even proper lock up. Because even if a person legally owns a gun and isn’t mentally ill, it doesn’t mean that someone who IS mentally ill can’t potentially get their hands on the gun if it’s not properly stored and locked up. Again, this is just MY opinion.

Secondly, mental illness needs to be talked about more. I think we try to brush it off and under the rug, but, it’s a serious problem. I think if it was a more discussed topic people wouldn’t be afraid to seek treatment–they might actually realize they need treatment to begin with. And even if the person with mental illness himself/herself doesn’t realize they need help, again, if we talk about it more then other people–like family and loved ones–could notice the signs and get the person help.

This is strictly my opinion, and in regards to people boycotting Uber… On one hand I would like to agree, but as others have pointed out, it really isn’t Uber’s fault. Sure, maybe they could do more in terms of background checks or something but, this guy had no criminal history, nor, could Uber have predicted this individual would go on a killing spree. And like I mentioned earlier, this could have happened anywhere, any time. Things happen that we can’t always predict or understand. But again, moving forward, I hope more can be done to be able to discuss mental illness more openly and more often because I believe that’s the root of the problem. Not guns. Again, just my opinion and not everyone will agree but, something major needs to be done. 

We as a country can’t keep saying we’ll make change, we need to ACT on it.

I’m thinking of my friend’s family, especially her brother and his fiancée–who originally posted to her Facebook about how bizarre the alleged shooter was acting when her fiancé was riding in the Uner before the driver eventually went on his killing spree. She and her fiancé had even filed a police report right after the bizarre ride and unfortunately action wasn’t taken soon enough. But, what’s done is done and what we can do now is make sure justice is served for the victims whose lives were taken much too soon and pray for their families and other loved ones. ❤️

Michigan is my home.

And I understand this could have happened elsewhere, and shootings have occurred before, I’m not ignoring that fact–but, my heart is extremely heavy it happened in my home state, and while my family friend wasn’t killed, it still doesn’t make it any less sad. The whole situation is just awful and like I said, we as a community AND state AND country need to stand together not just for this mass murder, but all of them.

#PrayersForKalamazoo

#MichiganStrong

– Ana