Thursday, January 26, 2012


I'm adopted.

My life started on August 22, on a doorstep outside of a Portuguese orphanage in Lisbon. There came a sharp rap at the door of the orphanage at 6:37am. A nun opened the door, looked around, seeing nothing. About to close the door,  she chanced look down, where, lo and behold, a baby lay quietly in a basket. She gasped, then, after looking around in vain for the person that left the baby, brought the baby inside. Inside my basket, the nun found two items: a tattered old newsboy hat belonging to my father, and, in the grasp of my chubby fist, a silver locket containing a picture of my mother. These were the only evidences I had of my birthparents. The nun looked inquisitively into my watery grey eyes, which evinced no answers to the mystery of my origins.

5 years later, I sat on Sister Assunção's lap, as she retold the story of the first day I arrived at  São Paulo's orphanage, and explained to me the significance of the raggedy hat and tarnished locket that I possessed. After hearing the story, I was sent back to my chores. In the orphanage, chores consisted of creating dishes and pottery that the orphanage sold to the local town to turn a profit, glazing the dishes and working the kilns that cooked the dishes was a chore reserved for those children 5 years and above. Sweeping and mopping floors was a chore designated for younger children. The children aged 7 and older prepared the meals, mostly consisting of old tortillas and dried cod. On this day, having just turned 5, I was now eligible to run the kiln. Sister Assunção assigned an 8 year old boy to teach me how to manage the kiln. His name was Antonio, a quiet boy, generally liked by all the orphans. Both of us, barefoot and dressed in rags, went to the kiln. He showed me how to change the temperature to ensure that the glaze and ceramic wouldn't crack, and how to turn off the flames. After I had been sufficiently taught, we proceeded to go to dinner. In the old hall, we sat on the rustic wooden benches, silently consuming our dried cod. All of a sudden, Sister Ana-Maria flew into the room, waving a fistful of papers around wildly. Sister Assunção asked what the ruckus was about. Sister Ana-Maria walked over to me, with tears in her eyes, and showed me the papers she held. They were my adoption papers. A family in America had adopted me. I looked up at her, my once grey and listless eyes now shining and full of questions. I ran my fingers along the brim of my old hat, then clutched my locket close to my chest, feeling my heart pumping fervently at the idea of a new life in America. That was the best birthday I had ever experienced.


Just, no.

This is not my life story. This is most likely NOBODY'S life story.  Is it amusing? Maybe. Does it evoke a sense of romance and adventure? Probably. But this isn't real.

There is no hat.
There is no locket.
There is no Sister Assunção.
There is no orphanage.

I'm adopted.
My life started on August 22nd, 1990, in a hospital in Montclair. Soon after I was born, I went home with my family. Not my biological family, my REAL family. The family that would raise and love me more than any family has ever done before.

Sorry if that's "boring", but it's real. I've only had dried cod once in my life. I've never run a kiln. Heck, I've never even been to Portugal. My name is Kristin Joye Thompson. Born in Montclair, raised in West Hills. I have a loving mother and father, and a younger brother. That's my life story.

Diverting from the aforetold stories of ridiculousity, let's discuss some common misconceptions regarding adoption. Some FAQs, if you will. I and my other adopted friends commonly have to field such questions as these, so I will here attempt to dispel the idiotic preconceived notions that seemingly most people have regarding adoption as an institution, and adoptees as people.

Q: Oh wow! You're adopted! Were you like, an orphan?
A: Yes, I'm adopted. No, I'm not an orphan. The media's done a capital good job of jumbling this all up in peoples' heads. Every instance of adoption in the media has been portrayed as the classic Oliver Twist style orphan adoption process. THIS IS NOT TRUE. We don't come from orphanages; we come from hospitals, here in America, and we don't even get to SEE our birthmother usually; we're given over to our "legal," or REAL parents, if you will, not long after we're born.

Q: You have a brother? Is he like, your REAL brother?
A: Of course he's like, my REAL brother. I've grown up with him, I love him very much as my brother, and while we may not be blood related, we most CERTAINLY are "real" siblings.
~~~note here~~~ let's talk about the word "real". Really? "REAL" parents? "REAL" brother? what does that even mean? Let's interchange "real" with "biological" for a second. Do i know my real biological parents? no. Is Brian my real biological brother? no. However, I DO consider him to be my REAL brother. There is no realler love than the love i have for my brother. The same goes to my parents, my "legal" parents. They ARE my "real" parents. End of story. I hope that clears things up between real/biological usuage.

Q:Do you know your REAL parents?
A: If by "real" you mean "biological", then no. I don't feel a need to find them. Why would I? My life is great with my REAL family, be they biological or not.

Q: Do you feel weird or different being adopted?
A: The media says I'm supposed to feel weird about it. I love being adopted, MY parents actually wanted me, and cherish me in ways that biological families can't understand. And I'M happy to be adopted, given a better life than what probably would have been. So different in a good way, but I don't feel BAD or ASHAMED about it at all. God blessed us with the gift of LIFE in a situation where abortion was a very realistic option. Not only were we NOT aborted, we were placed by the loving hands of God Himself into our families. Being adopted means being blessed beyond meausre.

Those are the usual questions people ask us kids. Most of us are cool about it, not a huge deal to have to answer this stuff. It's just amusing how misinformed most people are on the subject. "Adopted" is barely uttered and suddenly grand pictures of Oliver Twist and grimy old orphanages pop into their minds. Orphans in ratty clothes and newsboy caps, freezing to death, never having enough to eat, etc. Obviously, as I have mentioned prior to this, we don't come from these dark and mysterious oprhanages, Our origins are simple, humble beginnings, and out current lives are normal and happy.
We love our families very very much, and consider them to be our REAL families. Blood ties mean nothing to us. All that matters is the bonds shared between us all, and the love that runs deeper than that of the deepest sea. And throughout all of this runs the bonding tie of the Lord's  great love and wisdom.

We're adopted.
We're normal people, with normal families, maybe just a little more blessed than most, and we have a different and greater appreciation for the families that we DO have, and for the LORD that provided them.

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