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This I Believe: Blood Doesn't Equal Family

Emilie Harrison - Unity Christian School
Beatrice Bonner
NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS
Emilie Harrison - Unity Christian School

Sometimes a biological family isn't going to be the people you need in your life. In my case, I was adopted when I was 4 years old after a lengthy court battle between my family and my biological mother. From the beginning, she had said she couldn’t take care of a child and didn’t want one. As soon as it came time for the finalization, she brought my family to court and fought it. Instead of an easy process, it was long and painful for all parties, I still had to visit her, but I never remember considering her a parent of mine.

Soon, my birth mother lost interest. I stopped seeing her early on. When I realized I wasn’t going to see her again, I sadly felt a sense of relief. At that time, I was just appreciative I would stop bouncing between homes. My memories of her have slipped away by now, and I've moved on. It has never mattered to me that I was adopted: Instead, I’m grateful for the gift of someone to care for me. Unfit blood parents cause countless issues for their children by selfishly dragging the kids into their problems, just as mine did. It can be necessary for those children to find other parents – people ready and willing to take on the responsibility of having a child. Even friends can be family, anyone close … you never know who will end up having that sort of connection with you.

I was given a second chance. As I grow, I’ve found better people to influence and be a part of my life. Since I was privileged to have been adopted, I have access to a good education and support through anything that may happen – something I would have never experienced otherwise. Despite the absence of biological family in my life, I will never regret not knowing them. Blood or not, I believe family is what you make, not what you are born into.

This I Believe Illinois is NPR Illinois' annual essay program for Illinois high school seniors. An expression of where their minds are as they prepare to enter the adult world. This I Believe was started by radio journalist Edward R. Murrow in 1951 to allow anyone able to distil the guiding principles by which they lived. Special thank you to our sponsors: The Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise, BLH Computers, Illinois Times, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and Mary Beth & Harvey M. Stephens.

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