By Jovanna M.
My biological parents were drug addicts. They had a horrible addiction—something that controls, destroys, and tears apart. It controlled their actions. It destroyed our family. It tore us apart. Addiction is hard on everyone and anyone who comes in contact with it. It ruins everything. My biological parents were sick, they could not provide for their seven kids, let alone themselves. It truly was draining of life and morale. I believe that the only time they truly showed love for us was when they let us go.
I was the oldest child of my seven biological siblings. During the adoption process the four oldest were separated from the three youngest, for practicality. The hardest thing for me as the oldest sister wasn’t specifically getting taken away from my parents, although that had emotional and psychological effects. The hardest part was being taken away from my younger siblings—essentially my kids. Yes, to me they were mine. I may not have actually had them, but I was doing what a mother should do—nurture and provide. I was just a child myself and I often found myself asking, “How am I supposed to take care of them?” I sometimes felt so helpless and incapable of doing, what then seemed the impossible. The youngest, just a mere one-year-old, called me “Mom,” I had been his caretaker since the day he had come home from the hospital. He was “my baby.” So yes, parting from the three youngest was the hardest thing I had to experience as a nine-year-old. Thinking back, as young a child as I was, I don’t know how I did it. I don’t know how anyone could, ever.
Yet something amazing happened. My brothers, sisters and I entered the world of adoption. Many people have very mixed emotions on the practice of adoption. Adoption for me is, and has remained a life-changing and amazing experience. When I was eleven years old I was adopted by the greatest family in the world. You may think differently, but I hold to my statement.
Even though it was hard to not be all together we were given a family, our childhood, education, friends, a home, and food, everything that a “normal” child grows up with. Those were things that we were lacking in but which every child deserves and has the right to. In addition, children deserve a family that will always be there for them and will support them in both trial and opportunity. Our new family did just that, although the four oldest were all a year behind in school, and it was a huge thing to adjust to when we began again.
Through all this I was angry—angry at my parents, angry that I didn’t consider myself smart because I didn’t get the education that I should have gotten, angry that I had my childhood taken away. I didn’t completely understand how they could leave their children. I didn’t understand a lot of things, but I did understand that addiction takes over your life and that if you are so far into it no one can help you but yourself. The decision has to come from within. I prayed to understand their addiction and I realized that I could do nothing for them but to pray. I needed my Heavenly Father and the atonement of Jesus Christ to let go of all the angry feelings I had towards them. It wasn’t until years later that I forgave them. When I forgave, I felt so light! It was such an amazing feeling, knowing that it was okay, that everything was going to be okay.
I want to adopt someday. I know that out there there’s a child who needs my love and care, who needs me to show them that there’s more than what they have experienced, that life really isn’t horrible. I want to show them that there is a God who loves them and has a plan for them. I want to be the one to help them get back to our Heavenly Father. Adoption didn’t make me bitter—it made me love my biological parents even more; it made me closer to my Heavenly Father because I know that what I went through was all for a reason. I know that it happened to us because He knew that we could get through it, that it would make us stronger and bring us closer to Him. I am thankful for what I have gone through, it has shaped and refined me.