“My name is Shannon, and I was adopted at birth in Texas through a Methodist adoption agency. I am the oldest in my adopted family with a younger sister who was also adopted and a little brother who was an unexpected biological addition for our parents. Though I was always told that I was adopted, the context of my adoption was a Christian story.
My parents believed that God had delivered me to them which is reflected in my first name, “Shannon,” a name that means “a gift from God.” But as I grew older and needed to know more about my biological past, I found that my story was riddled with secrets and shame about the things my birthmother had struggled with like drugs and mental illness, which made my experience darker.
Over my lifetime, I’ve struggled to put into a cohesive narrative the story of my adoption, and for many years, avoided the topic altogether as a central part of who I am. It wasn't until later in life that I came back to my adoption in order to rewrite the story of my life.
It should go without saying that I love my adoptive family very much. They gave me a safe and secure home, access to higher education, and countless privileges I wouldn’t have otherwise had. And despite all the behavioural issues and mental health struggles I’ve had; they’ve done their best to help me as best they could.
However, their own fears of mental illness, drug addiction, and all the other parts of me that came down biologically were difficult for all of us to navigate, and I struggled a great deal with learning how to express myself in a home with parents who desperately wanted God to be the ultimate answer to everything. I’ve done a great deal of hard work in therapy and writing a book about adoption also helped me face some of my own fears, but adoption is a lifelong journey. Though I’m happy to have a loving adoptive family, there is still a part of me knows that, in some ways, I’m on my own to navigate what makes me who I am.”