Growing up, my friends and I had a lot of fun creating scenarios about my biological parents because at that time, I had no information about them. We laughed about it and made the whole scenario funny instead of weird.
I didn’t look like anyone, but I did pass for my parents’ kid aside from my curly afro. That’s definitely one thing I remember – from a young age everyone always asking me, “Wow, who has that curly hair? Your mom? Your dad?” My answer was always, “Neither of them. I’m adopted.” Usually they responded, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t know.’ Which I never understood. Why would anyone say sorry?
For me, It was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I have an amazing one-of-a-kind family because I am adopted. My great-grandfather invented the Q-tip, did yours? Oh, well I’m so sorry, I didn’t know…
One of my fondest memories was walking around the Westchester County Fair laughing hysterically with my best girlfriends, as we made up stories about my family. We’d find some funny-dressed people and just laugh and laugh and occasionally pee our pants because we thought we were so funny. We would point at some random people and yell – “That could be my dad!” It rarely got old because, really, who knew?
And then there were definitely times it was hard because it actually went back to the basic question: Who do you look like? And of course, I didn’t look like anyone. When a baby is born, usually the first question everyone thinks about is which parent do they look most like? Well I can’t help you there – I was a six-month-old baby brought home from (probably) the result of a fun one-night-stand on New Year’s Eve. But keeping it light helped, because there was nothing that would change the fact that at the time, I only looked like me.
I’m not sure if being adopted and loving children and animals goes hand-in-hand, but I’ve always been fascinated by both. Maybe it’s the adoption aspect of taking home an animal and caring for it.
Early on in our relationship, my husband and I were that couple. We would walk around so in love, holding hands; him staring at dogs and asking their owners all sorts of questions, and then there was me, staring at babies and kids everywhere we went. Even when we were planning to move out of the city, we always said our next place had to be dog-friendly. We knew we wanted to expand the family, so we decided that we would start off slow and adopt a dog.
A year shy of our one year anniversary we adopted a puppy from The North Shore Animal League. I’ll never forget sitting in that waiting room on a brutally hot August day with our friends, waiting, chatting, and listening. I remember hearing the receptionist talk to my brother, who we put down as a reference. I also remember looking over at my husband and saw him laughing in disbelief about what we were doing. He was spiraling and I could see the thoughts pouring out of his scared face. “What are we doing? Oh my god! Are we making the right decision?” His face was even discolored. He was very anxious. On the other hand, I was so excited and eager to snuggle our new puppy. We were becoming parents right then and there – how amazing!?
My husband was new to this, but I grew up taking care of a lot of animals. When my parents brought me home, they already had two dogs and two cats; Thalia and Max were black poodles, Bozzie and Jaggers were our Siamese cats. I quickly became obsessed with them – I would lie in bed with them, follow them, study them, etc. We were a family – my parents, my brother, our animals, and me.
Unlike our sweet Mickey Dog (who was just happy to have a ball to fetch and a place to hide from thunderstorms), I grew up knowing that I was adopted. It wasn’t a big deal to me. In fact, it wasn’t until college that I made a really good friend that was adopted too. I guess I didn’t care. My brother (he’s three years older than me and also adopted) and I always found it amusing. He is extremely tall and is shaped like a string bean, and I’m short with extremely curly hair and a curvy body. We didn’t look alike unless you compared our brown eyes, but of course, even those are pretty different too.
And then we had our twins. And finally – two people looked like me! I couldn’t be more elated that I actually created two tiny creatures who now looked like me and my husband – they are a perfect mix of the both of us. To be fair, we are still in shock that no one has my afro but oh well.
The twins gave me my first taste of a biological family, not that it matters, but it was still an experience that most people just ‘have’ and I had to wait for. In the end, it doesn’t matter who looks like who, all that matters is that we’re happy, loved, and safe. That makes us a family.