We Were Simply Part of the Family

 Welcome to 30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days, hosted by Portrait of an Adoption. This series will feature guest posts by people with widely varying adoption experiences and perspectives. 

We Were Simply Part of the Family
By Erin Leisure

When I was born, my biological mother gave me up for adoption. I was made a ward of the state. Before anyone starts thinking of Oliver Twist, I can assure you, it was not like that. My bio mom was recently divorced, and my older siblings were in custody in another state. I'm not sure how that came about.

I do know my mom and dad tried to adopt all of us, but the states refused to cooperate.

The Children's Home and Aid society named me Tammy, and I was sent to a foster home upon my release from the hospital. My parents, who adopted me at six weeks old, renamed me Erin, a fitting name for a little Irish baby.

My mom remembers my foster mother, who cared for me, telling me how well she cared for me. They still have the tiny dress they brought me home in. I've even read a paper that my foster mother wrote about me. There are times when I wish I knew her name, to thank her for taking such good care of me.

I grew up knowing I was adopted; it was never a secret. When I was old enough to understand, my mom and dad explained everything to me. They told me how they picked me, which given some of my known familial medical history, was not a small undertaking.

My oldest biological sister is blind, due to tumors that grew behind her eyes. There was a chance I would get them too. Thankfully, although I wear glasses, I did not get the tumors.

As I grew older, my parents were open about all aspects of my adoption. My dad kept what little information there was about my bio parents. From everything I read, I was grateful to them. As I was born in 1978, six years after Roe Vs Wade, I am thankful that my bio mom chose to let me live. I'm also glad she gave me up. She wasn't able to take care of me and made what I'm sure was a difficult choice.

I have a good-sized extended family, who welcomed me with open arms. My being adopted didn't make a difference in how I, or my younger sister, were treated. We were simply part of the family. I had cousins close to my age, and family get-togethers were common, especially for the holidays.

Christmas meant my mom's mom -- my Mema -- spent the night at our house. Mema spoiled us, a lot.  We'd wake up early Christmas morning to open presents. Then later in the afternoon, we'd go to my aunt and uncle's house for even more presents and a fantastic Christmas dinner.

I also remember many afternoons at Mema's house, watching the Cubs game with the TV muted, so we could hear the game on the radio. Harry Carey was a voice from my childhood. I miss hearing him say “Holy Cow!” We grandkids also spent every New Year's Eve at Mema's house, staying up until midnight, doing puzzles and watching movies. Those were such fun nights.

I grew up in a house where the phrase “I love you” was said daily. Did I have a perfect childhood? No, but I was always safe and loved. Even when I was being a brat, which did happen on occasion, no matter how much my dad may deny it, I still was loved.

I've never felt any burning desire to meet my biological parents.  I have a family that I love and that loves me. That's always been enough for me.

I'm truly grateful, to have has the wonderful family I've grown up with. My mom and dad still spoil me, and now they spoil m7 kids.  They are always my mom and my dad.

Erin Leisure is a proud adoptee who loves her family. 

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Carrie Goldman is the host of Portrait of an Adoption. She is an award-winning author, speaker, and bullying prevention educator. Follow Carrie's blog Portrait of an Adoption on Facebook and Twitter

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