Blog talk Radio Transcript:  Sisters Through Adoption/Adoptive Parents Connected from the Start – Part 2    Air Date: 7-18-17 (you may listen to the podcast by clicking on the audio link, or read the transcript of the podcast below)

In our previous podcast, we learned about three families that felt connected from the start. About their Journey together to China to pickup the children they were adopting. (click here for Part 1) In this podcast we hear from three adoptees who share the same kind of bond, how they became best of friends, and sisters through adoption.  They describe their relationship as a sisterhood because their families are so connected and spend so much time together.

Adoption RadioJennifer J.:  Hi, and welcome to Adoption Focus. My name is Jennifer Jaworski, and I’m a social worker with Adoption Associates of Michigan. This is Adoption Associates’ premiere talk radio blog show. Adoption Associates and its staff are trusted leaders in adoption, and we have placed over 5,200 children into loving homes. Since 1990, we have advocated, supported and nurtured both birth families and adoptive families, and helping families grow through the adoption process is very important to us.

Our offices are located in Lansing, Jenison, Farmington Hills, and Saginaw, and our private adoption services are available throughout all of Michigan. One of Adoption Associates’ commitments is to this weekly radio show, so thank you so much for listening in today. We do hope that you find this forum to be inspirational, educational and thought-provoking.

I am super excited about today’s show. This is part two of our Summer Series 2017, and this is a story of how three separate adoption journeys of three families have intersected and what that looks like in the post-adoption arena. Last time, we heard from three moms who shared their view of the adoption and their children joining their families. And this time, I’m very excited that we are hearing from their daughters, who consider themselves sisters through adoption. I would like to welcome to today’s show Emily and Holly.

Ladies, are you with us?

Holly:  Hi.

Emily: Hi.

Jennifer J.:  Good morning. How are you?

Emily:  Doing good.

Holly:  Good.

Jennifer J.:  Thank you so much for being on today’s show. We’re missing Kate. I’m not quite sure, but I suspect that she’s having some connection issues. We’ll hope that resolves and we hear from her, and we’ll include her in on this show at some point if she makes it. I do appreciate both of you being with us, and you both I believe are 16 years old. Is that right?

Holly:  Yeah.

Emily: Yes, that’s right.

Jennifer J.:  Awesome. Okay, so, and it’s summer break of school, which is a perfect time for you guys to come and chat with us on Adoption Focus podcast about your families and your stories and your relationships, so let’s just jump right in here and get started. If you could, share with me and our listeners about how the three of you became friends, and eventually sisters through adoption.

Holly:  Honestly, our parents went on this adoption trip not knowing each other, and they figured, “Let’s keep in contact,” so we were introduced through our families.

Jennifer J.:  I don’t believe there was ever a time that you didn’t know each other because you girls were adopted at such a young age. How old were you when you joined your families?

Emily:  We were just under a year old.

Jennifer J.:  Okay, so you’ve basically grown up together, right?

Emily:  Essentially, yeah.

Jennifer J.:  Okay, so, Emily, would you describe or tell us about your friendship with Kate and Holly? What does that look like? And what kind of friendship is this?

Emily:  Our friendship mostly revolves around our bond of all being adopted, which is something really great to have. We all have this one thing in common that not a lot of our friends can say they have.

Jennifer J.:   Mm-hmm. Absolutely. Holly, what about you? What do you feel about this friendship? How would you describe your friendship to someone else who doesn’t know you guys?

Holly:  I always describe our friendship as almost like being sisters because we’ve grown up with each other through our whole lives. And we were in the same orphanage before we could remember, so we just are like sisters through adoption. We have a closer bond than most people can understand.

Jennifer J.:  Mm-hmm, that’s really special to hear. One of your moms said that last week too – that they felt like their relationship was like sisters, so that’s really nice to hear you say that as well.

What has it been like for you guys growing up as an adopted member of your family? I want to give each of you an opportunity to answer that. What has this adoption experience been like from your point of view? Let’s start with Emily.

Emily:  I think that adoption is pretty positive. There’s very little negatives in it because we may seem different physically, but our bond with our family is the same. We don’t even notice the differences, so our experiences with them are just normal family.

Jennifer J.:  That’s a good point. A really good point. I guess that a lot of people might think it’s different or may have said to you, “Is it different?”

Holly, what about you? Do you have any thoughts about that?

Holly:  Yeah, I mean, some people like to point the adoption out more than others. Our families raised us telling us that we have been adopted, but they don’t emphasize it. I don’t think every day, “Oh, I’m adopted.” I sometimes even forget that I’m adopted. Most of my friends forget that I’m adopted. It’s a normal life. It’s all good, and it’s nice because we have support from other families that have gone through the same thing.

Jennifer J.:  It sounds like you have a lot of other families that you guys are connected with and bonded to, so that support is definitely a part of it I can tell, and I think that, Holly, what you’re saying is important, too, for us maybe to take a second to recognize for our listeners is that you’re talking about how you don’t walk in and out of every day saying, “I am adopted,” because that’s not who you are. That’s something that occurred in your life when you were an infant you were adopted, but it certainly doesn’t define who you are as a person. So that’s what I hear you saying to me. That’s a really good message.

For either of you, maybe, Emily, what do you think is one of the best or most memorable things that your parents ever did or said to you about adoption?

Emily:  This is pretty recent, but one of the most memorable things my mom in particular said to me is, “I’m super glad you don’t have my genetics because, otherwise, you wouldn’t be musical with all this talent.”

Jennifer J.:  Wow. What sort of music are you involved with?

Emily:  Playing instruments such as piano, the clarinet, all those things.

Jennifer J.:   Nice. What type of music do you prefer?

Emily:    Classical music.

Jennifer J.:   Very nice, very nice, so that is something that’s unique to who you are.

Holly, what about you? Anything that you recall that your parents said or did regarding adoption that was real memorable?

Holly:   The thing I think of is them explaining my story to me and being able to let me know about my past and what they went through to get me.

Jennifer J.:  Do you remember that story or remember the circumstances, how old you may have been when they were talking to you about that for the first time?

Holly:  I’m pleased that they’ve started telling me at a very young age, but I don’t think that I ever really got very interested or comprehended exactly everything until probably 10 years of age. They definitely informed me throughout my whole life just to let me know.

Jennifer J.:  What’s your takeaway from that? How did you feel in having them discuss that with you and being open with you about it?

Holly:  I didn’t feel different. I didn’t feel excluded. They brought it up to me very calmly and like it was just a part of my life, but there’s nothing to be ashamed about it.

Jennifer J.:  Mm-hmm. Absolutely, so do you guys get a lot of questions from classmates or friends that ask you about it?

Emily:  I think a common question I’ve always been asked is, “Have you ever met your parents?” which I’ve always answered, “No”. Of course, the followup question always is, “Would you ever want to meet them?” which is definitely a huge question to ask.

Jennifer J.:  What are your thoughts on that? First of all, what are your thoughts about being asked that? How does that feel for you?

Emily:  I don’t think about it too much because I just think of it as just a question, nothing else, but I honestly would love to just meet them for maybe a minute. Nothing major. I wouldn’t change anything now, just maybe to meet them in person. The people who gave me life, might have given me up to give me a better life, or just couldn’t take care of me. It would just be nice to meet them in person for maybe a minute.

Jennifer J.:  Do you have a sense of curiosity about them?

Emily:  Just a tiny bit, but I don’t overthink this every day, just every once in a while.

Jennifer J.:  If there were one or two things that you would want to know from them, what would that be?

Emily: I would ask them, “How would my life be if you guys were in it?”

Jennifer J.:  Mm-hmm. I’m sure that’s a common question.

Holly, do you ever have any times where those thoughts creep into your mind?

Holly:   Yeah, I mean, most of my friends will ask the same question, “Have you ever wanted to meet your parents?” or, “If you could go over there, would you?”. And my response to that is always, “It’d be nice to meet them, and understand what I get from them”, but I can live without it if I don’t ever go over there.

Jennifer J.:  Mm-hmm. And this is your home, your home here with your parents, so it’s completely normal and appropriate to have curiosity and questions and thoughts. Maybe one day to have those answers, but what I hear from both of you, Emily and Holly, is that your families are here and your parents are here. Your biological parents are not here, and you guys have that curiosity that, hopefully, one day you’ll get more information. But this is a theme that we hear, and I know that a lot of people have questions about this, so I’m glad that we’re talking about it.

What would you say has been the coolest part of being adopted?

Emily:  Definitely the genetics portion of not sharing DNA with your parents.

Jennifer J.:   You think that’s a cool part of it.

Emily:  Yeah, it’s definitely a …

Jennifer J.:    …  a positive rather than a negative?

Emily:  Yeah, because, you might inherit something that they don’t have, or the opposite. It’s neat how different everyone is in the family, and it’s not just you have the same traits and we have the same trait. It’s not at all boring. It can be very different, but it’s nice.

Jennifer J.:  Last week, your moms were talking on our podcast about how connected your families have become and have been for all these years, and there’s a plan that that will always be that way. I’m wondering about the two of you. It sounds like you guys see each other and get together a lot throughout the years. Is that right?

Emily:  We do.

Jennifer J.:  Do you guys talk or text message? What do you do in between these get-together times? How do you stay connected with each other?

Holly:  Sometimes we’ll just talk on the phone. We get together often throughout the year with these get-togethers, but, we’ll just plan a day on the weekend to go visit each other.  Or go blueberry-picking or to the zoo, or maybe just a shopping day.

Jennifer J.:  I was going to ask you what you guys do for fun, but you did a really good job with that, Holly. Thank you. Tell me a little bit about Gotcha Day. Your moms were telling us that that’s something that you celebrate. How do you guys celebrate? What does that look like for you guys?

Holly:    I just see it as pretty much like a second birthday. The day doesn’t come to me in sorrow or reminding me, “Oh, I’m adopted. I don’t know my birth parents.” It’s more of a nice, happy second birthday. It doesn’t bring out tension about our adoption, but it does just give us a little reminder. And it gives us the time to be thankful for each other.

Jennifer J.:   Very nice. Emily, I think you were going to answer, too. What about Gotcha Day?

Emily:  Essentially, it’s the same thing as what Holly was saying. It’s a second birthday. We don’t treat it as a negative holiday at all. We actually just celebrate it with gifts, and that’s pretty much it.

Jennifer J.:   Does it feel like a birthday party?

Emily:   Definitely.

Jennifer J.:   Cool, so there’s a cake. Awesome.

This is a really special bond that you guys share, being sisters through adoption, and I’m sorry that we didn’t get to hear from Kate this week. Hopefully we’ll be able to include her in our last show, but it’s obvious to me in listening to your moms last week and then in listening to both of you, Emily and Holly, today that this is a really special, unique bond that you guys share. And while adoption is not unheard of, adoption happens, but this story that your families have of being connected from the beginning and traveling together and bringing you girls home, and then this relationship you have, I just… I love this story. And I love hearing how you guys have this relationship as sisters through adoption. What has this meant to you, to each of you, to be able to have this set of very special circumstances and to have each other in this friendship?

Emily, would you want to take a shot at that one?

Emily:   I think definitely the support of each other is just a great part of being in a circle of families that have adopted children. It’s just great for knowing that you’re not alone, you’re not just the only one. You have other people that you can look to for advice that are in your similar situation.

Jennifer J.:   Mm-hmm, so your circle is pretty big, this circle of support. And family and friendship, and one of your moms talked last week about the world opening up so much. We have all of these great relationships and seeing things a little bit differently. Holly, did you want to add anything there about what these relationships mean to you?

Holly:  I think it’s good support. We have siblings as well, and that has brought more families into our circle. If the kids or the adults just need some support, need to talk, we’ve got them. We’ve got them because we have the same thing in common, and it’s just nice to know that you have such close people in your life that understand what you’re going through and understand the conditions and all the blessings that you share with each other. It’s just nice.

Jennifer J.:  Very nicely said, and I think that maybe we have Kate connected.

Kate is that you? Are you with us?

Kate:  Yes. Hi.

Jennifer J.:   Hi. How are you? This is Jennifer.

Kate:  Hi.

Jennifer J.:   Thank you so much for connecting in. You’re not too late. We were approaching the end of the show, but I think you were having some problems with connectivity, weren’t you?

Kate:  Yes.

Jennifer J.:  That’s okay. Emily and Holly are here with us, and they have managed without you, but you were greatly missed, so thank you for making it on. So Kate, we’ve talked a little bit about how the three of you became friends, sisters through adoption. And also about the adoption and Gotcha Day – a little bit of everything. So to catch you up, I wanted to give you an opportunity to share with us your thoughts about some of the memorable things that your parents ever did or said to you about your adoption. Things that really stand out to you, if there’s anything there that you’d like to share. Or, what it’s been like for you growing up as an adopted member of your family.

Kate:   I don’t think there was very much of a difference because I’m adopted. My parents decided to adopt us because they married when they got a little older, and I don’t really mind that very much. I haven’t seen much of a difference because I’m adopted.

Jennifer J.:  Do you get asked a lot of questions from other people, classmates or friends about the makeup of your family or about your personal adoption?

Kate:   Not too much. I mean, like in history class, when we study Chinese and stuff like that, people look at me, but nobody really asks me how I came to America and all that stuff. Nobody asks me about my adoption really. It’s more because I look Chinese.

Jennifer J.:   Do you have any specific thoughts or feelings about that? You’re in history class, and the topic of China comes up, and everyone looks your way. What does that mean to you? How do you feel about that?

Kate:   I don’t mind it so much because I’m obviously Asian. One time, someone asked me if I was Asian, and it was so funny because another person said, “No, stupid, she’s Chinese,” and then we laughed. It was just so funny because China is in Asia.

Jennifer J.:  That one made you laugh, I bet.

Kate:  Yeah, it was so funny.

Jennifer J.:  Do you have any thoughts about what’s been the coolest part of being adopted?

Kate:  I think it’s really cool that I’m adopted because not everybody can say that their parents flew on a plane to go get them.

Jennifer J.:  Mm-hmm, so this is a question for all of you, Emily, Kate, and Holly. Have you guys heard the story from your parents together? I know that you guys have individually had conversations about adoption. And talked about your adoptions with your moms and dads. You guys get together several times a year. Has there ever been a time where it ended up in this big group conversation with all of your parents and you and talking about the events of their travel to bring you home?

Holly:   They’ll bring up memories like, “I remember this part of China. I remember that of what we did.” It’s more of the fun, memorable memories that are brought up at these reunions. And they laugh and they talk about how much they hated some things like my mom can’t stand eating Chinese food anymore because she was over there twice for about a week.

Jennifer J.:  Mm-hmm. I know what you’re saying with the laughter and the stories because that’s what happened last week on our podcast with the three of them together, so I think I have a taste of what you girls might be sharing here with us.

Anything else? Anybody want to add anything else, because we are approaching the end of the show, and I’m going to wrap things up, but I wanted to give each of you, Emily, Kate, and Holly, an opportunity to share any additional thoughts that you have that maybe we haven’t covered yet? Thoughts about how you became sisters through adoption.

Holly:   Yeah. I’d add that adoption is not a negative kind of thing. Sometimes, some people would just point out  things and emphasize it, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it can bring families so much closer. It’s just a nice gift to have.

Jennifer J.:  It’s not something, as you said, that you’re embarrassed about or not something’s different or unique or odd. Unique, yes, in a very positive way, but I think that that’s an important message here, Holly. Thank you for saying that. We’ve touched on that a little bit throughout today’s show, and I’m just so thrilled that the three of you agreed to do this. I’m looking forward to next week when we’re going to have you three join us back with your moms. That will be a very exciting special show with the six of you. I’m super excited to hear from all of you together. This is our Summer Series 2017, talking about these separate adoption journeys of your three families and how those journeys intersected in such a beautiful way. And about the relationships that have now grown from it, and how you’ve become sisters through adoption. So, Emily, Kate, and Holly, a sincere thank you from me for this today.

Emily:  You’re welcome.

Kate:   Thank you for having us.

Emily:  Absolutely.

For you, listeners that are looking to connect with Adoption Associates, you can reach us at 800-677-2367. You can also connect with us on the Web at adoptionassociates.net. We’re also available on Twitter and Facebook.

A big thank you, ladies, so much for today, and for now, this is Jennifer on Adoption Focus. Tune in next week, everyone. Bye. Bye.

To learn more about becoming an adoptive parent, and adopting in Michigan, click HERE.