This blog comes from our summer Social Media & Marketing Intern, Natalie Hyland. Natalie was looking to find a connection to the adoption community in Chicago since moving from Kansas City, and luckily, she stumbled upon RG Adoption Consulting earlier this summer! In this blog, Natalie offers her perspective on open adoption and what it has meant to her.
By Natalie Hyland
Today, I’m only a few years older than my birth parents were when I was born, something that is overwhelming to think about at times.
What if I were going through the same thing? I could hardly handle my hamster dying, let alone giving up my child.
The strength my birth parents had at 17 and 19 astounds me. It’s so hard to imagine the emotional rollercoaster they went through placing their child with almost complete strangers, in hopes that my future would be better than anything they could provide.
My adoption never came as a surprise to me, as I’ve known both my birth and adoptive families for longer than I can remember, something pretty unusual for most adoptions.
Because of this, it’s taken me awhile to see how alike we really are. My mom tells me that from the nose down I look like my birth mom and from the nose up I look like my birth dad, but that isn’t the resemblance I’ve come to see.
For me, it’s our interests and mannerisms that make us so similar. So often I hear my birth mom when I speak, as if I’m saying exactly what she would have said at my age, if put in a similar situation. Like my birth mom, I could talk nonstop for hours, but much like my birth dad, I tend to be more quiet and reserved in unfamiliar situations and around new people.
I get my love of chocolate milk and maraschino cherries from my birth mother, but my love of cooking and adventurous taste comes from my birth dad. However, the biggest connection I have with my birth parents, aside from DNA, is a deep love of music.
Our office at home is filled with endless photo albums, many of which contain pictures of me with my birth family. One of my favorite pastimes has always been flipping through them, trying to identify the different bands on their shirts, hoping to discover a new favorite.
Unfortunately for my parents, after looking through the photo albums and loving the “NIN” logo on my birth dad’s shirt, Nine Inch Nails became my 13 year old self’s band of choice.
Now this connection is a source of countless conversations when visiting my birth family and even led to going to a few concerts with my birth dad.
Both my adoptive and birth families continue to encourage my love of music, whether it’s through suggesting new artists or listening to the acoustic covers of metal songs I post on SoundCloud.
My adoptive parents have been so supportive of the various ear-splitting concerts I dragged them to, anything from Maroon 5 to Bring Me the Horizon to Motion City Soundtrack, and gladly listen to and cherish the hours of the same song practiced over and over again.
I’m so incredibly grateful for all the love and support I have always received from both sides of my family. Although adoption can be difficult to explain to new people, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I have absolutely no idea where I’d be, had I not been adopted or been part of a closed adoption. I feel so lucky to have the life I do and it can all be credited to the two teenagers strong enough to not only give me the opportunity for life, but also the chance to have a better one.
Natalie is a recent graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in live and performing arts management. She is part of an adoptive family and her love of music is how she’s maintained a connection with her birth family. She found RG Adoption Consulting as she was looking to get more involved in the adoption community!