Whenever I’m asked if anyone in my family is adopted my instinct is to say “no.” I don’t mean to lie, I just always forget my uncle is adopted. I swear, if I showed you a photo of our entire family today and told you to guess who was adopted, you would not pick him.

My Uncle Pete is adopted. I have almost no emotional connection to that sentence. That’s what happens when you grow up with something that’s been normalized. If you’ve grown up with parents who didn’t speak English, or had a sibling with a disability, you know what I’m talking about. To the world around you it may seem unique or odd, but for you it just is. To me, it’s odd to think that my Uncle does not share the same genetics as the rest of us because he literally has the same height, facial features, emotional demeanor and sense of humor as the rest of the family. This is why my grandparents preached that family is about who loves you the most, not blood relation.

You see, my grandparents are extraordinary people. They refinanced their house to afford the outrageous adoption costs (something that still hasn’t changed) and bring home their first son. I joke that, after having three girls, my grandparents were desperate enough for a boy that they adopted my uncle, but the truth is they had less than 24 hours notice when my uncle was born to confirm a decision that would shape the rest of their lives.

Now, over 40 years later, my uncle is married with two wonderful sons and he is one of the most involved fathers I have ever seen. He shows up to their games, drives them around everywhere on his days off, and supports their dreams in any way he can. They are two generations deep in reaping the benefits of one couple’s choice to bring home a son born in the heart, as my grandma loves to say.

So in the end, that’s what adoption means to me. Adoption creates a ripple effect of love and becomes an antidote to broken, painful situations. I know not every adoption story ends like this one, and while I have no idea how hard it must be for a mother to choose adoption for her child, I do know my life would be tragically different without my uncle Pete and the three additional lives he brought into our crazy, loving family.

by AdoptTogether Editor, Colton Simmons

Do you have a story about what adoption means to you? We’d love to hear it! Submit your story to info@adopttogether.org and it may just end up being featured on our site!

 

 

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