WhatsApp Image 2018-11-20 at 05.07.06.jp

"I’ve known that I was adopted just about all my life. My parents told me at a very young age, explaining to me that I was not in fact their child. I was ok with this. I was happy, and saw my parents as if they were my birth parents. However, it wasn’t until I got older than I started to develop more and more feelings around my adoption. As any teen, I’ve had, and still have problems with my parents. I didn’t get along with my mother and shut her out of my life for awhile. I blamed the lack of our relationship on my adoption. Of course this wasn’t true, but I couldn’t think of any other reason. Ever since middle school, I’ve been getting myself into trouble, a lot. Let’s just say that it’s a blessing that I’m still alive and well to this day. I regret a lot of the decisions I have made in my past which causes me to feel a lot of guilt. I feel guilty because from the little bit that I know about my adoption, my birth mother gave me up to have a better life because she couldn’t afford to take care of me and my older brother. I felt like I had thrown that “better life” down the drain by making the poor decisions that I did. The decisions that got me into very bad places with bad people. I felt helpless for a long time. The worst for me was being left with an unknown. It stresses me out when I don’t know things, for example who my mother is, who my father is, where they are now...I had a lot of unanswered questions. However, this changed after I took a trip to India in October. I was able to visit my agency after 17 years, and read my file. The lady who took care of my right before I left was still there. I looked through my file and saw all the court orders and papers, but the best part was seeing my families names. My parents are Sultana and Muhammed Elias Khatoon. Even though my name is Sanjana, the name I was given at birth is Farzana, which means intelligent or wise. For many years, not being able to know these details put me on edge. Now, finally, I feel at peace."

(New York, NY, USA)

Sanjana is a senior in high school and lives in New York City with her family. You can follow her on Instagram @sanj_uu