This is the first in a series of interviews with people who have experienced adoption. I hope to offer multiple perspectives on adoption since nobody wants to listen to me ramble about adoption all month.
Joshua Cody is 20 years old and a student at the University of Georgia. He’s our intern at the Center for Church Communication, specifically making my life easier at Church Marketing Sucks. He’s also adopted. A lawyer in a black Lincoln delivered Joshua to his parents in a parking lot when he was only three days old. He’s seen the video and noted that his parents looked a lot happier than he did. As you’ll see, he’s pretty comfortable with his adoption–to the point of making jokes.
1. When did you first realize you were adopted? What kind of impact did that have on you?
As soon as I was old enough to know that babies didn’t come from storks, I knew that I was adopted. My parents concentrated on using proper language to convey the idea, telling me that my real mommy and daddy couldn’t take care of me.
They would always tell me that I was luckier than all the other kids because they picked me, and all the other parents didn’t get to pick. I grew up feeling really special about the whole thing.
2. Do you know what motivated your parents to adopt?
My parents simply couldn’t have children a la natural. As a child, this came over as “mommy’s pipes are broken.”
3. How do relatives/friends respond to the fact that you were adopted? Has that ever been an issue?
My grandma was absolutely petrified that my parents would get an ugly baby. After I actually showed up, my family was awesome about it, and they just took cues from my parents. They wanted my parents to be the ones to lead in all of that, so they never brought it up before my parents did, and they were always just supplementing the things my parents were saying.
Friends were really great about it, too. I don’t remember anyone ever making fun of me too much or anything like that. If anything, they were really interested in the whole idea that my parents got to go to a baby farm and pick a baby.
4. Have you ever had any contact with your birth parents? Do you want to?
I never have had any contact with my biological parents. I’ve gone through different stages in my life regarding this. When I was younger, I held some bitterness towards my biological parents–a “they gave me up, why should I care about them?” kind of attitude. Then that moved towards just not caring to find them as I thought it would hurt my parents. Finally, the stage I’m at now, I don’t know how much good it would do.
Maybe one day I’ll find them to thank them for making a decision I’m sure was incredibly difficult and hopefully influence them in some positive way.
5. How do you feel about the fact that you were adopted?
Being adopted has really been a phenomenal thing for me. I remember in elementary school when i was mad at other kids I’d make fun of them for not being adopted.
It’s all a frame-of-mind thing, and I feel incredibly blessed/fortunate/glad to be adopted. I respect my biological parents for the decision they made, and I respect my parents for how well they communicated adoption to me. I’m a pretty glass-half-full kinda guy, whichever parents might have given that to me.
6. Do you know why your birth mother placed you for adoption? Do you ever wonder about that or feel resentment?
Sometimes I do wonder why she gave me up for adoption. I’ve known people who get pregnant really young or had friends who are afraid they got pregnant really young, and always it’s either have an abortion or keep the child as the two options. It’s a tough thing to nurture a child for nine months, go through labor and never see him again.
I think my biological mother got in a tough situation and felt convicted to carry the pregnancy all the way through. I have so much respect for her for making that decision. Or maybe my father is some high profile celebrity–Larry Bird or David Hasselhoff or something.
7. Did you ever have to do the family tree project in school? How did you handle it?
You know, in all my schooling, I only ran into it once. I just went through my adopted family. I have their last name, shared experience and knowledge of my adopted parents’ entire families, so that was always the way I went. I guess in retrospect it’s a bit strange, but it was never even a question that came up or seemed problematic to me. It’s just how it was.
8. How do you feel about adoption today? Would you encourage others to adopt? Would you consider adopting (in the future, of course)?
It’s actually really important to me to adopt a child one day. I almost feel an ethical imperative to. I think there’s something inherent to want to plant a baby somewhere, but I think it’s a lot more important that rather than just indulge that desire, we take the incredible wealth we have as Americans and save a life.