Life on a Different Family Tree

Julie, Fall 2014 J1 student

Hayley McCune, freshman, grew up on a different family tree––adopted. She never found it strange or sad, instead, she chose to embraced it.

“I actually thought it was cool.” McCune said. “I don’t know, in my brain I guess I had like two families, even though my first family wasn’t really involved in my life. I probably didn’t really understand what adoption was, but I thought it was cool anyways.”

McCune isn’t the only one who embraces it — she said her family always made sure she was aware of it.

“My family made sure they never hid it from me; they were really open with it, and wanted me to ask questions about my biological family.”

She and her family have no problem denying it, but her friend, freshman Alex Stanek, said no one would ever guess McCune was adopted.

“I was kind of surprised because whenever you see them as a family it doesn’t really seem like she was adopted.” she said. “They’re really cohesive. It’s never awkward they just seem to be a normal family, there’s no adoption talk. They just kind of fit.”

According to a study from the Maine Department of Human Resource Task Force on adoption showed that 95 percent of observed adoptees expressed a want to meet or get to know their biological family.

“I know my real name is Abigail Smith.” McCune said. “I know that I have five or six older brothers, so I have lots of siblings. My dad is from Mexico, and my mom is originally from Oklahoma,”

McCune also talked about getting to meet her family.

“I haven’t had any contact with my family but I really want to meet my siblings.” she said. “I’m fifteen now, but next year when I turn 16 I get to start looking for my siblings, so that’s exciting.”

You or someone you know might be adopted. According to Adoption USA : National Survey of Adoptive Parents, a poll taken by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 25 percent of people are adopted internationally –– thats a quarter of the world’s total population.

“[I do know someone who is adopted.] His name is Grayson; the other day he was talking to me about his birth mom.” said Alli Williams, freshman. “He said that he doesn’t want to meet her but he wants to meet the other siblings.”

Statistics from a 1995 National Survey of Family Growth show that 500,000 women were waiting to adopt.

McCune herself is also anticipating to adopt in the future.

“I probably have a different perspective because I’m adopted. So I do want kids of my own but I definitely want to look into adoption.”

According to The National Adoption Attitudes Survey, two-thirds of Americans have a positive outlook on adoption, and 78 percent of people believe the government should be doing more to encourage adoption.

“Give people a home. Let them know that they have somewhere to go home to and have a family to look forward to seeing.” Stanek said.

The World Association for Children and Parents encourages parents to start talking to their children about it around the age of three.

According to the Administration for Children and Families, many adopted children can struggle finding an identity for themselves because they have many different family heritages in themselves.

“[If I found out I was adopted at this age] I’d be kind of angry honestly because that’s a really big thing to keep from your kids,” Kate Duggan, freshman said.

Lots of famous people have been adopted or adopted their own children. Tom Cruise, Sheyrl Crow and Sandra Bullock have all adopted a child. Celebrities like Faith Hill and Steve Jobs were adopted.

“I think it’s awesome. I think it’s a good thing that people adopt their kids. There’s lots of kids out there who wouldn’t have a home if someone didn’t adopt them,” Duggan said.

McCune thinks that being adopted has definitely shaped her into the person she is today.

“[If I wasn’t adopted] my surroundings would be different, and I think my upbringing too because each parent probably has their own style of raising a kid, so I think I would’ve had different views and a different childhood,” McCune said.

“I think its really cool.” Williams said. “Like it or not, adoption creates a family, and families stay together.”