When I was a child, a part of me didn’t believe I was actually adopted.
It wasn’t because my parents kept it from me or that I thought I looked anything like either of them, but because ever since I can remember, they were my “real” parents, and nobody could tell me otherwise.
My parents, Dennis and Laura, adopted me when I was four months old from Chongqing, China on Feb. 1, 1999. I remember when I was a little girl getting ready for bed, I would always ask my dad to tell me The Baylee Story, the story of my adoption.
I would get so excited, probably because I was a vain child, but also because it blew my tiny mind that my parents flew halfway across the world just for me.
My parents traveled to China in the dead of winter, landing in foreign territory all for a little baby who they only knew through a small picture that hung on their refrigerator. Once they arrived, my parents visited some of China’s greatest landmarks, such as the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. As glorious as those sights probably were, there was nothing more exciting to my parents than Baby Day.
Baby Day was what my parents excitedly kept repeating the morning of my adoption. I remember my dad telling me that they had waited so long for this day to come, just to wait a little longer because the bus they were taking to the orphanage got a flat tire.
Once they finally arrived at the orphanage they were taken into a room with other adoptive parents who eagerly waited for their babies too. Before they knew it, little Chinese babies made their entrance one-by-one, meeting their forever families for the first time.
It wasn’t too long until I was that tiny baby being carried in. I remember watching the video my dad took of that day and seeing my mom with tears streaming down her face when she first held me in her arms. I on the other hand couldn’t have been more fixated on whatever was happening outside the window.
I haven’t asked my dad to tell me The Baylee Story in a very long time, but it’s a story I think about almost everyday.
It’s wild to think that my parents loved me so much that they went through almost two years of waiting and paperwork to adopt me from China because they wanted to give me an opportunity at a better life. A life where I would no longer be an orphan, but a daughter as part of a family that would love me endlessly.
And so far they’ve done just that. They even went back to China two years later to adopt my younger sister Brianna from Beijing.
It’s fitting that National Adoption Day be so close to Thanksgiving, because out of all the things I’m thankful for, the most important are my parents and this amazing, unreal life they’ve given me.
The amount of love, relationships and opportunities I’ve had in the past 20 years has been incredible, there just aren’t enough words to describe how grateful I am.
Adoption has changed my life in so many ways, and I strongly believe more people who want children should educate themselves on what it is, and possibly decide if it’s the right fit for them. There are so many children in the foster care system all over the world looking for homes that will give them as much love as mine has and will continue to do so.
One day, I hope to travel back to China with my parents to see where The Baylee Story all began. Until then, I’ll continue to grow and appreciate that story each and everyday.
Often times, people will tell me I look like my mom.
I’ll take the compliment, smile and laugh. I laugh not because I wouldn’t want to look like my mom, but because of how ironic it is for me to look like my mom.
Probably because she isn’t my birth mom. But, she’s my mom. And I’m damn lucky to have her, because as luck has it, she’s the one who found me; I’m adopted.
My mom, Buffy Fox, has been my rock for years. She’s been with me through thick and thin. She held me as I cried when my dad died some eight years ago. She’ll always be the shoulder I cry on whenever I’m missing him or my grandfather just a little too much.
She’s always told me one simple thing: without angels, there are no miracles. That’s something I believe in. She’s been my angel here on Earth, guiding me through life, affording me the chances I have today. I wouldn’t be who I am without her.
I’ve been with my mom since the day I was born, but the adoption wasn’t official until I was about 3 years old. It’s one of my first memories. I got dressed up in khakis, white button up shirt and a puffy blue jacket on, and sat up on the stand next to the judge. He asked me questions like: “Does your mom love you?” “Does your dad love you?”
As a three-year old, I had no clue what was going on, but I answered all the judge’s questions with an enthusiastic yes.
And so, I was officially the son of Eddie and Buffy Colgan. My parents. I was also the grandson of Calvin and Linda Roman. My grandparents.
The four most important people in my life. They gave me all they had, even though I wasn’t their own flesh and blood. But that’s not what’s important. Family is.
And now, two of them are gone. Dad and Pop are the reason I do what I do. I wake up and want to make them proud. And Mom and G support me in everything I do. I pray everyday that I can give at least half to them what they’ve given to me. It’s the least I can do.
I’ve also been given the most amazing extended family. Thank you Unkie, Aunt Chris, McKenzie, Aunt Judy and everyone else — there’s too many to mention — for welcoming me in the family like I was blood. I love you all more than you know.
This isn’t me trying to show that I’m special or different because I’m adopted. I’m not. This isn’t supposed to be a sob story because I’ve been dealt a tough hand.
With National Adoption Day on Saturday, I’d ask to just think about what you have. I hope you have what I do. Just squeeze them a little tighter next time you can. Hold them just a big longer, because you know that without angels, there are no miracles.
Baylee DeMuth is a staff writer at ‘The Post’ and Trevor Colgan is a slot editor.