By: Michelle Johnson, development intern

I’d say my first week here at the National Adoption Center is only the start of a life changing experience. Or better yet, a mind changing experience. I’ve never taken the opportunity to sit down and read stories about the lives of children who were forced to leave their parents because of various reasons, such as neglect or abuse. Or hear about a child that would be separated from the siblings they’ve known their entire lives. It makes me think about my own life and question … What would it be like to not know my own father? What if my mother decided she didn’t want me right after giving birth? What if I was forced to be separated from my sister? 

I attend Drexel University, one of the best schools in the country. I come from a very loving and supportive family. I have a great relationship with my parents and my older sister. That’s my reality. 

But for most of the children I’ve read or heard about, this is not the case. They’ve lived in numerous foster homes over the course of only a few years. Their lives are filled with insecurity and instability. Their 18th birthday brings them a sense of fear instead of celebration knowing that they’ll age-out of the system and have no support. Their chances of ending up in jail, on drugs or homeless are much higher than someone who comes from a supportive family. 

On the flip-side, I’ve also read success stories about children who were lucky enough to be adopted and accepted as part of a family. They have the parents they’ve always longed for. They no longer worry about waking up in a new home tomorrow. These are the stories I find the most heart-warming and touching. It makes me proud to work for a company that works to better the lives of children because they hold our future. 

When a baby is born, you never truly know their potential. It’s very possible that they could change the world and have their name written down in our history books. But do they even have the slightest chance if they’re never given the tools to be successful? If our president, Barack Obama, grew up in multiple foster homes and aged-out of the system with no support, he most likely wouldn’t be president today. This idea, to me, makes every child significant. I believe that everyone is born with a purpose or somewhat of a destiny. A reason why they were put on this earth. It’s a shame that some of these children will never reach their full potential because of something they had no control over. 

I realize now that adoption is much more than just caring for a child. It’s loving someone with different blood running through their veins as if they were your own. It’s giving someone the life they’ve always dreamed of. It’s showing people that being a parent means much more than just giving birth.