InBlog, Featured, Inspiration

How I became an American Citizen.

Today is World Adoption Day! Some of you might know that when I was a baby, I was adopted! So this day means a lot to me and always gives me a chance to be a little extra grateful for my circumstance. 

So, I thought I would share my adoption story with all of you and explain what this day means to me. 

My adoption was never something my parents kept from me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve known. When I was growing up, people would always ask, “Don’t you want to find your real parents?” and I would always shake my head and say, “No”. 

At the time I wasn’t sure why I really never wanted to find my birth parents. After all, I didn’t even know the full story until I was about 19 years old. All I knew was that I was out of China and growing up in some city called Aloha and everything seemed to be the way it was supposed to be.

But, growing up with my parents wasn’t the easiest. I was a fighter. My mom was, and still is, one too. We frequently butted heads and constantly didn’t get along. Most of my friends had this great relationships with their parents and I was always at home fighting. But no matter how bad it got, I always knew that this was better than the alternative.

It took a few years into adulthood to fully realize the impact of what it meant to be living in America; to have grown up rarely wanting for anything and with parents who loved me – not matter what strange methods they had to show it.

What I enjoy most about my adoption story, is how serendipitous it is. In a way, it’s a constant reminder that anything can happen at any moment, and to just roll with the punches. I don’t have a story of getting to know my parents before they fell in love with me. I wasn’t a foster child who grew on the my foster parents. I have a bit of a different story. 

I wasn’t the original baby my parents wanted. 
I was a replacement

When my mom realized that she wanted to adopt a baby, she looked to her sister, who was in the process of adopting a baby from China. After being with her and watching her go through the process, my parents decided that this was the path for them. They chose a city and found an orphanage, and contacted them about the adoption process. After several long months of waiting, she heard back. They had a baby for her. 

The baby was found under a bridge. She had been lying in the mud for a number days before anyone found her and was very ill when she made it to the orphanage.

This adoption process happened before people were required to go through agencies and my mom had hired some man (who was trained to do this sort of thing, I’m sure) to keep her up to date on the paperwork and let her know how things were moving. Unfortunately, for many, many, many different reasons, that first baby didn’t make it. At the time, my mom was already in China and most of the paperwork has been processed for her to bring this baby home. Around the same time, I was born. 

Shortly after my birth, my birth mom told the nurse she was going to home for some baby supplies and then packed her bags and never returned. The hospital contacted the orphanage who contacted my mom and offered her a deal. Me, instead of this other child. I would keep the same paperwork and my mom would leave with me instead. No one would ever know. And honestly, no one would really care. We had both been unwanted babies and I had simply been lucky enough to be born at the right time. 

I’ll often think about what I might be doing if the other Ari had lived, and I simply can’t fathom the difference. It’s not too far off to assume that I probably be walking the streets if not already dead. I definitely wouldn’t be sitting in an apartment in Thailand typing this up on my Apple computer. 

I’m eternally grateful that I was adopted in the circumstances that happened and nothing else in my life has ever given me greater perspective. I mean, every single facet of my life exists because someone else doesn’t. Most days, I completely take for granted what that means and how damn lucky I am that I was born when I was and it was at that moment that my mom wanted a daughter. 

I haven’t always been the best at telling my parents how thankful I am that they’ve given me this life, but you can be sure I’ll be telling them today. 

There is never a shortage of children who need homes. More and more are born into this world with the most uncertain futures. I know that when the time is right for me, I’ll be paying all of this forward. I even  get a little giddy at the thought of my own adopted children running around changing the world. 

Anyways, thanks for reading my story. I love getting to share a little piece of me with you. 

-Ari

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