My name is Megan and I am 17. I was placed with my adoptive parents, along with my sister, when I was four and a half due to neglect from our birth mother. I was legally adopted a year later. I was inspired to write the letter, below, on my adoptive mother's birthday.
Life is funny. You never know who you are going to meet along the way, or what your life is going to turn out like. But I can honestly tell you that if I hadn't got adopted, I highly doubt I would be where I am today, I would have given up on myself and everything else in life.
My life was very rocky at the beginning, but that all changed when I became about five and a half years old. That's when I met the two most amazing, bravest people in the world. Regina and Andrew.
Going through the care system, being moved around a lot, it can mess with a child's head very badly. I wasn't happy at all, the one person I knew I could depend on was my older sister, other than that I didn't trust anyone. Who could blame me? I was consistently let down, I thought that this is how everybody in my life would be like. But the day these two came along, they showed me that wasn't how life was meant to be. They made me trust again, made me realise that not everyone will let me down and that I should never let anyone down.
Adoption is not easy. Not for us as the children, and not for the couple adopting. As a child, growing up adopted was not the easiest. As a 17 year-old, I have probably had more to cope with than any adult. Now, I didn't have to go through it alone because I had Regina and Andrew, as well as my sister.
However; being adopted does come with a lot of people asking questions. I am very proud to be adopted and I don't mind talking about it, but the one question that infuriates me is "so, where are your real parents, do you know your real parents?". This annoys me because the people who gave birth to me mean nothing to me at all other than the fact that they bought me into this world without good intentions.
They did not raise me, they had nothing to do with who I am today. My REAL parents are the ones who took me in, knowing I wasn't theirs by blood, and treated me as if I was their own and raised me to be the woman I am today.
Being adopted as a child and not a baby does not matter as you (adoptive parents) still experience us growing up. All the important firsts such as riding a bike, learning new things, first kisses, first heart breaks, important moments in our lives, are all shared with you. So the advice I would give to all of you adoptive parents worried about missing your child's first word and things like that is don't be ridiculous! That doesn't matter because growing up, children will be learning new words and experiencing new things with you. If you're worried about the child not feeling like your own because they weren't a baby, then I don't think adoption is the best thing for you because I can tell you now that I love my parents as if they gave birth to me and I couldn't care less if they gave birth to me or not because I feel like they did. If everyone let that affect them, then there would be so many sad children who spend the rest of their lives growing up in foster homes and care homes, just think about that.
The one piece of advice I can give to anyone who has been adopted, is to be proud. Proud to be where you are today, to have been saved from that horrible beginning of your life, proud of how brave the people who took you in were, and ignore all the ridiculous comments of people who are too closed-minded to understand all of this.
There is no bond like the bond between a child and their parents. My parents know me in ways no one else ever will. They see a bright future for me and they always support and encourage me to try new things and work hard for what I want in life.
My mother and father are my mentors, my confidants, my heroes, and the people I turn to first when I am upset or even if something new and exciting has happened. The comfort I feel that comes from our friendship, the confidence in their faith for me, and the unconditional support of whatever I do, is irreplaceable.
I am so unbelievably blessed to have parents such as these. They may not be my parents by blood, but why do people think that is so important? What people don't seem to understand is that family doesn't have to be blood; loyalty, faith, and kindness is what makes a family and that is why my parents are the ones who adopted me and no one can ever take their place.
Throughout my life, their valuable advice has guided me safely, their words are my guidance and their love is the most precious thing in the world to me; more precious than life itself because without love and support, what is the point?
If it wasn't for these two wonderful people, I wouldn't be who I am today. A quote that I wrote myself, which I suggest adopted children think about is: "I will not follow the unforgiveable path of my birth parent, but rather those of the heroes who raised me, taught me right from wrong, and taught me that no matter what, never give up on anything; no matter how hard it is."
Megan decided to share the letter she wrote to her parents with Adoption UK, as part of National Adoption Week 2016. Adoption gives children a second chance of experiencing enduring family relationships when birth parents cannot care for them and no other reasonable option is available.
Adoptive parents provide stability, permanence, a new sense of identity and the love and nurture that all children need - as Megan's letter eloquently demonstrates.
Adoption UK's purpose is to give voice to adoptive families and to ensure that the right support is there for them. Anyone experiencing difficulties is urged to become a member of Adoption UK and contact our helpline on 0844 848 7900 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org