For those of you who don’t already know, I am a huge Atlanta Braves fan! Growing up as an 80’s kid in Atlanta, the Braves were a powerhouse in the national league, with a memorable team. With names like Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Greg Maddox, Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones…it’s hard to believe they won only one world series during that era!
This year is particular; there is much to be excited about in the MLB. Albert Pujols, who has been in the league since my freshman year of high school in 2001, just hit his 703 homerun, becoming only the fourth person in Major League Baseball history to have 697 or more home runs. A younger player, Aaron Judge, just broke Babe Ruth’s American League single season home run record of 60, set in 1927. He hit his 61st home run on September 28th tying Roger Maris’ all time record of 61, which he set in 1961 and his 62nd October 4th. Why is this relevant for adoption? Well, Aaron Judge isn’t just a 6’7’’ 282 lb baseball phenom. He was also adopted just two days after he was born. He was raised by Wayne and Patty Judge, a Caucasian couple from Linden, California.
Judge’s story really resonated with me because our stories have a lot in common. Judge is biracial and adopted into a Caucasian family, and raised as their own. He grew up playing sports, video games and with the neighborhood kids. When Aaron was around 10 years old, he realized he didn’t really look like his mom or dad and started asking questions. For him, it really didn’t impact the way he saw his parents, in fact, even today he honors them at the height of his popularity.
In a recent interview with Newsday, Judge shared his relationship with his parents and his adoption origin story. He stated, “I have one set of parents that raised me. That’s how it is. Some kids grow in their mom’s stomach; I grew in my mom‘s heart…She’s always shown me love and compassion since I was a baby. I’ve never needed to think differently or wonder about anything.” What a beautiful statement to the woman who not only helped raise him, but also poured into his life and success. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Aaron didn’t have difficulties, but he chose to use his platform and success to recognize his parent’s investment in his success from day one.
Recently, I found myself reflecting on my beginnings and upbringing. My family and I visited Atlanta to see my parents in July before our youngest, Ezra, was born in August. While cleaning up some of my personal belongings in my childhood room in my mother’s house, I came across a photo frame containing a poem. I immediately recognized the poem as one I cherished from my childhood. As I looked on and read the words, I caught myself smiling. The poem is one that you may have heard before, and it goes like this:
“Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, but still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, you didn’t grow under my heart, but in it”. -Fleur Conkling Heyliger
Like Aaron Judge, I have so much to be grateful for. I may not have beat Roger Maris’ 1961 American League record, but I am happy, healthy, and prosperous in my own right. I tell parents curious about adoption that it’s always endearing to me to hear about their interests, dreams, and desires in learning and growing as they prepare their homes and hearts to bring their children home. That is because that was mom and dad. They brought me home in my earliest days and provided a foundation that I carry with me till today.