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Why I’m Thankful to be Adopted

My name is JR Taylor and I am an intern with the National Council For Adoption. Adoption has given me a loving family, great friends and opportunities I may not have found in my birth country. Needless to say, I’m pretty thankful. Adoption has given me a lot in life, and I’d like to share my story.
I was adopted at a very young age from South Korea. Approximately four years later, my family adopted my little brother from Vietnam. Essentially, my family was forged through adoption.
Whether it is working at NCFA or just hearing things about adoption on my own, I’ve always heard stories of adoption where either the parents or the adopted child has a difficult time acclimating to their new living situation. Or maybe, the child felt confused or insecure about being adopted. Luckily, I never had to experience any of that. Being adopted was really never an issue for me. I never felt insecure or thought I was looked at differently because I was adopted. I attribute this to my parents and how they taught me about my adoption and what it meant. My parents were upfront with me about being adopted and how it didn’t make me any different as a person. They made it a priority to explain that it was okay to be adopted. Most importantly they instilled in me that I may look different but that didn’t mean I was any different than anyone I would meet in life, and especially that we were not any different as a family. I know this is not the case for every adoption, so I guess I got lucky.
A few years later, my little brother was adopted from Vietnam. My parents had divorced by the time my mother adopted my little brother, but she did a great job adjusting both of us to our new family. Much like our mother did for me, she explained to my little brother that it did not matter that he was not adopted, nor did it matter that he may look different. He was a part of our family and he knew it; that’s what did matter. Because of this, I don’t think my little brother was ever insecure because of the fact that he was adopted either.
While I don’t think my brother or I would have lived a terrible life our birth countries, I do think our adoptions to the United States definitely gave us a better chance to achieve and accomplish our goals. This is primarily due to the social stigma our birth countries traditionally associate with disabilities and how they place blame on the birth mother. Both my brother and I are handicapped. He has Cerebral Palsy and I am missing my right hand. For example in Korean culture, those who are disabled often blame themselves or their family and hope to “grow out” of their disability. I’m currently a senior at the University of Maryland, majoring in communications and sociology. I’m not sure I could have gotten to where I am, or go where I hope to go if I had stayed in Korea. My brother coming from Vietnam is a similar situation. He is currently a high school senior and applying to colleges. In the past decade, Vietnam’s traditional view on disabilities has somewhat shifted away from being a spiritual punishment to an effect of Agent Orange and the Vietnam War. Despite this shift in mentality, I’m not sure that a child with Cerebral Palsy in the early-mid 90’s would have received the proper attention to achieve what my little brother has. It is apparent to me now that my adoption to the United States has been a blessing to my little brother and I in myriad ways.
Interning with the National Council For Adoption is not only an opportunity for me to grow professionally, but also as an opportunity to help ensure that adoption can help place kids in a loving, permanent family, just like it did for me, for years to come.