Last summer I coordinated a summer camp called EFY. I had the opportunity to meet youth from all over the world. I considered myself lucky to have met such young and influential people. Today, I wanted to share with you a person I found that I know has been through a lot. When I met her, I was instantly uplifted because of her outgoing personality and love for life. She was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, and has overcome so many things. A few months ago, I was following some of her posts on Facebook and she was rejoicing about getting prosthetic ears so she could wear earrings. I am humbled to know Katie, and to know that she is an example to many. Her faith and endurance to make it through hard things is going to get her places in this world. Read about her adoption this week, and next week I will share her post on living with Treacher Collin’s Syndrome and some of her major surgeries.
This is Katie’s Unknown Story:
I decided to share my adoption story with you all; my parents have shared it so many times so I know it by heart. Knowing it by heart doesn’t mean it is easy to talk about. It has not always been easy to know I was adopted. There really isn’t a word to describe what adoption can do to you. It is a wonderful blessing that has allowed me a life of happiness and love, but it always hurts to think about those who gave me up.
It all started when my parents and five sisters were living in Alabama. At that time they felt like someone was missing from their family. They didn’t know how they would add another kid because my mom couldn’t have any more children, so they were confused. One night my daddy had a dream that a child was walking towards him, but the child had trouble walking towards him they had a walker of some sort. When he woke up he said we have to adopt! And my mom was like what? After letting it sink in for 20 seconds she was on board. The road to adoption had begun. LDS Family Services were skeptical about my parents receiving another child because they already had 5 daughters, but they figured they would give it a go anyways. Since they already had five “normal” children they decided to adopt a special needs child.
About a year after deciding to adopt my family moved to Virginia due to my dad’s job in the Air Force. They still hadn’t heard from LDS Family Services so they were discouraged. One day my sister Ali was at home watching my sister Lindsey and the phone rang. Ali answered and it was someone from LDS Family Services! They asked if my mom was home, which she wasn’t so they left a message with my sisters, but not just any message. They were calling to inform my family that they had a baby girl for them. It was me! Well like any other normal teenager she flipped out and hung up. As my sister hung up, my sisters saw my mother driving up the drive way right then. Screaming like a maniac she ran down the drive way “They have a girl for us!” Mom, not totally understanding what had just happened, responded with “WHAT?” So finally after my sister had calmed down she told my mom that LDS Family Services had called and that they had found a girl for them. My mom couldn’t contain her happiness.
Mean while at the Pentagon, where my dad worked, the same LDS Family Services lady who called the house called his office and talked to my dad about me. I had just been born in Georgia and I had some serious medical problems and the birth parents had chosen my mom and dad to be my parents. The next day they drove to Georgia to meet me. I was in the ICU, paralyzed and I had tubes all over me. I had an operation as soon as I was born to install a Tracheotomy tube in my throat to help me breath. I had just barely started my journey here on earth and I already had a major operation. I don’t think my parents knew what they were getting into at the time but they decided that I was the one for them. They took me home after a lot of training from the doctors and nurses. My sisters immediately decided that I was the one, I was the missing sister. My sisters became very motherly like to me and so I had six good mothers taking care of me.
Today, it seems it was a miracle I made it to my first birthday. After a good year full of illnesses and hospital visits, I made a visit that truly impacted my life. My family went to the temple and I was sealed to my family in the Washington D.C LDS temple for all time and eternity.
Adoption is a tough subject for many, including me. You often wonder why your birth parents gave you up. You are always wondering what they look like and what their personalities are like. You want to be able to talk to them but realize you are too scared. You always wonder how it will affect your adoptive family. I want you to know though that being adopted is not something to be ashamed of. It is something that is hard to talk about a lot of the time but it’s something to be proud of. Personally, I have a rough time with it but if I hadn’t been adopted then I wouldn’t know the people who I know and wouldn’t have grown to love the family I have. Adoption may have saved my life as well, I probably wouldn’t have made it this far in life without a family who could take care of me.
Whenever the idea of being adopted hits me hard, I force myself to think of what could have happened if I wasn’t adopted. I force myself to remember that if I hadn’t been adopted I wouldn’t have the friends I have or the army I have standing behind me helping me through everything I have been through. I have come to realize that God is never going to leave you. He cares more about you than anyone else in the Universe. There will be days you want to just give up on everything, trust me I have those days, but he is always going to be holding his hand out to help you. I have learned to not give up on yourself and be proud of the person you have become. My life didn’t start out as most do, and it hasn’t really followed the “normal” path everyone else’s does. I was adopted as a “special needs” child and live with Treacher Collins Syndrome. About 1 in 50,000 people have it. I am a full functioning teenage girl who is enrolled in hair school, has crushes on boys, and spend most of my time longboarding or with friends. Tune in next week for more information on TCS and how it affects my life daily.
You seem like an amazing woman, Katie. Thank you for sharing your story.