To recognize the last day of National Adoption Month, CCAI asked former Foster Youth Intern, Marchelle Roberts, to write about how adoption has impacted her life.
I was adopted when I was 12 years old and it truly changed my life. After having suffered the loss of my younger brother through sibling separation, I looked to adoption as a way for me to keep my younger sister with me. I knew my adoptive mother loved us before she even adopted us, but I also knew that the foster care system had its ways of taking things from me and I didn’t want my sister to be another one of those things.
Being placed with my adoptive mother saved me from sexual and emotional abuse that I had suffered in foster homes before and I knew that I wanted to continue living a stable life with my sister. After three years of being her foster child, when my adoptive mother asked if I would be okay with being adopted the first thought I had was “Of course!” I had already felt so much a part of the family but she explained that certain things would change and the love she had for us would only grow. With my and my sister’s adoption, on the same day, at the same time, came new names and a fresh start.
Being a permanent part of the Roberts family, I was given so many opportunities that I most likely would not have been afforded as a foster child. I traveled out of the country on numerous occasions, worked as a youth mentor and volunteered my time in the city of Camden. Now, at 23 years old, I am the oldest of nine children, eight of whom are adopted. I graduated high school at the top of my class and I am currently a soon-to-be Temple University graduate. I feel that I am truly blessed to have had a second chance at life and I thank my mother almost every day for saving my siblings and me.
I also have never referred to her so much as my “adoptive mother” because she never made me or my siblings feel like anything less than her children. She opened her heart at the age of 21 to her first foster/adoptive child and never ceases to prove her love for all of us.
When I think back to the day I was adopted, I remember hugging my sister, who was a tiny one-year-old, and feeling a sense of comfort and relief; relief because I no longer had to fear being taken away or losing my sister. I know that adoption is not always the answer for every child or every situation, but I also know that adoption saved my life, and gave me a better future.