Adoption In The Black Community: One Woman’s Journey of Self Acceptance

I have a fraternal twin sister named Ashley and we were both adopted at birth. My adoption story isn’t cliché like in the movies or TV shows when the parents wait until the kids are in their teens to tell them they were adopted. No, my story is a little different but it is real. I have known I was adopted ever since I was little and I think that knowing from a time where you can understand is the best way to go about explaining to a child that they were adopted.

Some important background information to note. I have a fraternal twin sister and we were both adopted together at the same time. Our biological mother is from Liberia and came to the United States for a better life. When she was in her early twenties she became pregnant with twins and had no way to care for them, so she chose to give us up for adoption. Meanwhile, my mother that adopted my twin sister and I was living in Philadelphia with her high school sweetheart and husband (my dad) at the time.

She was on her 7th miscarriage when she finally decided adoption was something to look into. It was no coincidence that my twin sister Ashley and I were supposed to be born around the same time as our adoptive mother’s latest miscarriage.

When Ashley and I turned sixteen we did learn a little bit more information on our biological mother. We learned that she is from Liberia. She hand wrote us a 3-page letter and gave us two pictures of herself. In the letter she mentioned that she loved us and that our father was unknown. She also noted that she would love to meet us one day. When I read the letter it was extremely overwhelming. It didn’t really hit me that I was adopted until I saw a picture of my biological mother.

“I saw a reflection of myself and it made it REAL”

Representation is key so I believe that seeing someone or something that you can identify with makes things click in a certain way that makes life easier to understand. What made it even more intense is that I look more like my biological mother than my twin sister.

Growing up, my twin sister and I always received questions about being adopted like, “What does it feel like to be adopted and NOT be raised by your blood parents?” I understand why people were so curious, but ultimately my mother is my mother. She raised me and that’s all I know. The only reason I even thought about myself as an “adopted” child is because my mother is light skinned or “yellow” as some people would say. So because I did not look like my mother I got a lot of questions. More questions came about when my parents were finally able to have a child- my little sister who is 6 years younger than I am. My friends would ask why I did not look like my baby sister or they would even ask if we had the same parents. Back then it was a little frustrating but looking back now it truly was all out of curiosity; not everyone is adopted and not everyone knows how to approach certain questions.

Ultimately, being adopted has definitely helped shape my views on life. It has made me a little bias towards abortion because I always have it in the back of my mind that my biological mother could have easily chosen to abort my twin sister and I, but something in her knew that that was not the best decision for her. I have always told myself that I could never have an abortion if I ever became pregnant and was unable to care for my child.

As far as meeting my biological mother, I do see myself doing that at some point in the future. Especially since she said that it is something she would like to do. Over the past few years I have contemplated on whether or not I want to meet her, simply because I did not want to meet her and then that be it and carry on with my life. I have decided that meeting her is the best thing to do because of my understanding of life. I believe that knowledge of self is powerful and that knowing where you came from can aid in life.

I hope my story inspires those that are interested in adopting or even placing their child up for adoption. Sometimes we all need that extra push, and reading my story may be what someone needs to reassure that what their gut feeling was telling them to do, may actually be what’s best. Lastly, being adopted is not the “standard or norm,” but that does not mean you can’t enjoy life.

Are you or do you know someone who has been adopted? Please share your experience below.



About The Author

Lauren Mattison is a 22-year-old senior Biology/Pre-med student with a minor in Health Education and Promotion at Georgia Southern University. She plans to practice as a holistic based (mind, body, and spirit) family physician. She loves educating others on the importance of health and wellness.