The adopted life

Strengthening the adoption community by amplifying adoptees

Rest On a Bed Of Flowers, Sandy Bell.

One week ago I recieved a call from my aunt, who was at the hospital, listening to Sandy take his last breath. Her call came after Sandy had complained for a few days of chest pain, and having a hard time breathing. Sandy died at the young age of 61. He died having known that he had a daughter for just 10 years.

My mom, my husband and I flew down to Chattanooga, Tennessee to mourn with the community. The wake, viewing, funeral and memorial services were emotional and powerful. I heard from so many of you, recounting the stories of ways that Sandy impacted you as he rode around town with a big smile, emanating a kind spirit and a bundle of flowers in his hand. The photo series below captures only a handful of the incredible tributes and stories.

Thank you Chattanooga for loving Sandy so well. Leah and Eddie Bridges, thank you for being the glue of the downtown community - I treasure knowing that he had such beautiful friends.

“I was honestly struck when I saw you smile; you look so much like him.. and like him, your spirit just radiates sunshine somehow; light that I so desperately needed came in the form of that same smile a few years ago. I will never be able to adequately put into words how much his kindness meant to me then and now.”

-Brittany

After living so many years not knowing for whom I resembled, it now feels like I’m giving a gift when I smile - the gift of keeping Sandy’s spirit alive.

The Problem With Saying You’ll Adopt After You Have Biological Kids

After growing up with seven siblings who were adopted into the family and one sibling who was biologically connected to my parents, I recognize that society places a higher value on children born biologically than those who are adopted.

“I want to adopt, but I’m going to have biological kids first.” Have you heard anyone say that? Or have you said it? It’s a common phrase that people say without putting much thought into. But as an adoptee myself, the idea of “biological first” carries a great deal of weight – and even pain.

When people say “I’m going to have bio kids first,” it prioritizes having “your own” – as though adoption is a good and charitable thing to do, but it’s just not the same as having biological kids.

For five years, I worked with hundreds of couples hoping to grow their family through adoption. The initial conversations included explanations of their motivation to adopt, for which I heard a similar story almost every time. They talked about their painful journey to my office, which included unsuccessful IVF bouts followed by the heartbreaking decision to move forward with adoption. The tearful statements were often followed up by an eager admittance that they hoped to be one of the lucky couples that gets pregnant right after adopting a child. I never had the courage to tell them that this is an old wives’ tale.

Through these experiences, as well as growing up with seven siblings who were adopted into the family and one sibling who was biologically connected to my parents, I recognize that society places a higher value on children born biologically than those who are adopted.

Click to read my full article at Role Reboot.