“ “There was something in your eyes", are the words my mom told me when we discussed the reason why they chose to adopt me. I was born in the winter of 1989 with drugs and alcohol in my system, and severely underweight. I would later learn this was one of the reasons why I’ve stated at a height of 4’11. Due to drug use and neglect, I spent about 3 years in foster care before I was adopted at the age of 5 years old. I remember the day as if it was yesterday. My parents arrived at the foster home I currently resided in to take me "home". The drive seemed so long, from Middletown, CT to my new home in New London, CT. Growing up, I always thought about my birth parents and family. There had always been a hole in my heart that I could never fill. My adoption was closed; therefore my birth mother was not able to contact me until I was 18 years old. My birth father passed away when I was 3 years old. As a child, my parents were not fond of the idea that I wanted to know who my birth parents are/were. Now that I am older, they understand my need to know and support me wholeheartedly. Through my adoption, I gained two loving parents and a large family. I was never treated differently. Growing up, I would always run into 3 kids that looked just like me and my parents and I would come to find out they were my siblings. Once I became a teenager, my parents granted me permission to read my adoption case file. I began my search for the rest of my family at the age of 29 and I was able to locate them sooner than anticipated. After meeting my biological brother and great-nephew in December 2018, I learned I am 1 of 9 children from my biological father and 1 of 6 children from my birth mother. Including my adopted siblings of 4, I have a total of 17 siblings. What I have learnt most about my adoption experience is that family is not always blood and I do believe my adoption had to happen. I was a lesson and I am a blessing. God made no mistake with my life
There are multiple highs and lows I have felt throughout my adoption experience. I hated my experience with foster care because the only things I remember was being burnt with a cigarette and being forced to sleep in a basement, in a dark room, and on a toilet because I kept wetting the bed. My parents shared stories of how I continued to have nightmares for years. My parents made sure to give me a good life and always encouraged me in all that I did. I shared an interest in sports early on, following in my mother’s footsteps to become a cheerleader and playing softball. Without my parents, I have no idea how different my life would have been or where I would have ended up. I get angry when I think about my birth mother and her decision to give up her rights to me. She made me live a life without my biological family. Facebook has aided in my access to search and locate family members. I find myself overwhelmed at times with learning so much so soon and at the same time; I can't shake that pain I feel. I have yet to meet my biological mother although I can count on one hand the amount of times I have talked to her on the phone. Although I am on a constant emotional rollercoaster, I am happy that I finally have the ability to meet my biological family members. The hole I've always had in my heart is starting to close as I learn more about who/where I come from. I use my story to inspire, mentor and encourage others to help them heal.
Through sharing my story, I help advocate for Adoptees and youth in Foster Care. I use my personal blog and social media to connect with others and help inspire them to be encouraged by their truth. We can't change the events that have already taken place in our lives, but we can control what happens in our future. We all have a purpose.”
(Fayetteville, NC, USA)
Artreese is advocating for Adoptees and Youth in Foster Care. She works hard to make sure that all their voices are heard. Keep up with her work on Instagram @treesetheadoptee, on Facebook @Artreese Basnight, and on Twitter @IMME_D_R