Growth and Understanding in Adoption
John Michael DeFrank's Story
I would like to dedicate this to my parents; all four of them.
My name is John Michael DeFrank, and I can proudly say I am adopted. My adoptive parents, whom I consider my “real” parents, found me through an adoption agency and drove from Chicago to Tulsa, Oklahoma to bring me home from the hospital in 1992. My birth parents, Judy and Travis, were too young to properly care for me. Through adoption I found a family that not only could better care for me, but one that I couldn’t love more if we were related by blood.
I found out that I was adopted around the age of 2 or 3, but I didn’t really understand it at first. I was too young to know that my biological parents placed me with my adoptive parents because they loved me and wanted what was best for me; not because I wasn’t good enough or because they didn’t want me. It didn’t really hit me that my biological parents didn’t keep me because they cared about me until about the age of 8 or 10.
When I was two, my parents adopted my little brother, Andrew. We were best friends all throughout our young lives and still are today. Then, when I was eight, we adopted my older sister, Karina. She had different reasons for being adopted, which I don’t really feel I have the right to share, but she was 11 at the time of her adoption. We didn’t really get along at first, but after a while we became really close. These are two people, awesome people, that I couldn’t love any more if they were my biological siblings. In fact, in my personal opinion we have a stronger bond than most biological brothers and sisters. I love them dearly, and I would do anything for them.
Between the ages of 8 and 10, I realized that Judy and Travis, my birth parents, must have really cared about me. To this day I can only imagine how hard it must be to give up your child, your own flesh and blood, without knowing if you will ever see him or her again. Over the years, Judy and I have written letters back and forth. The letters helped me to understand that she cared, and still cares, a lot about me.
A few years back, I found out that my birth mom had another baby. She decided to keep him, which in my young mind meant he was better than me. But now I know better, and I’m happy for her. She had reached a point in her life where she was ready to feel the joy that is raising a child.
I feel no resentment towards my biological parents; in fact it’s quite the opposite. I’m grateful for what they did. One day, I’m going to meet them. And when I do, I’m going to thank them for what they did for me.
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