Written with love and pride by Linny
Alright, I admit I probably watched too many Kodak commercials while growing up and even into adulthood. This could be the reason that each time I watch either of my now-adult kids, I envision how they were as infants, toddlers and fast-forward myself into their current ‘look’. I wonder now, did my own mom do anything like that?
So when I watch my oldest sing, not only do I love to hear her voice, but also remember the moments she and I sang together at various times. Even when visiting us while on leave from the Air Force, I’d ask her to sing certain selections with and without me. And so, when she left the military after nine years (two times in Iraq and a passport stock full of travels to far away places) she came back home to continue in college studies and work at her old high school haunt: McDonald’s.
You have to know that McDonald’s is more than hamburgers and anyone who’s stayed at a Ronald McDonald House while dealing with a sick child could tell you this. Ronald McDonald Houses have also been known to open their facilities to adoptive parents and their new babies/children while they awaited ICPC clearance. Among the other avenues McDonald’s contributes to, they also hold a sort of annual talent search exclusive to their employees in their restaurants world-wide. The Voice of McDonald’s contest strives to be a sort of ‘(Specific country)’s Got Talent’…holding competitions in Canada, Europe, Latin America and others besides the USA.
My daughter was hesitant to send in an audition for this talent search. Her dad and I, as well as co-workers had heard her raw talent and urged her to give it a try asking her, “What could it hurt?” So when she got the word she’d been selected as a regional semi-finalist, one of only 22 in the USA, she was shocked! Her region encompasses all of Chicago and the greater part of Illinois. (Scroll down to vote for Shannalee!!!)
All of our children were adopted and she was our first. While in the military we’d applied to the only adoption agency on Okinawa in hopes of adopting a Korean baby. The phone call came on Halloween, 1980. By November 04, we were flying to Seoul to see her, not understanding we would only have her for a couple of days before flying home and waiting for her adoption to finalize through the Korean Court system. When she entered the agency office riding on the back of her mamasan, we were in awe that our baby was finally a reality. Once paperwork was signed, we y begged the caseworker to allow us to stay with her overnight in our hotel room. It was a lovely night, despite having her vomit all over me (probably from being overfed) and putting her to sleep in an empty suitcase (no crib available).
We were assured she’d be coming back home with us in two months, but when the two month mark had passed and no word from the agency, we began to panic. The panic lasted for three more months, filled with phone calls to the agency, lots of unanswered questions and me almost failing a college class due to worry.
Finally, the day came. We flew to Korea via a military ‘hop’. She then flew home with us on a commercial flight to Okinawa and the years of her growing up flew by. She was an easy baby, easy child, easy teen and now, well into adult-hood, she reminds me of how old I’ve physically become, yet still captivated by her smile and warmth when I was younger and she was a baby.
I took the opportunity of writing this blog to ask her a few questions about being adopted and how it’s impacted her life:
I asked her if being adopted had ever been a hindrance to her in any way? “No.”
Was it ever?: “No.”
Do you wish, or have you ever wished you weren’t adopted? “No.”
Have you had any desire to search for biological roots? “No.”
And in this world of adoption boards and blogs where hopeful adoptive parents are often warned that their adopted children will surely have an angry attitude for not being allowed to intimately experience biological roots as a child; wish they’d been raised by those biological people and feel adoption has been nothing but a poor life experience all around, I write to you about an adult adoptee who feels comfortable about her adoption, her real family and her life. She could write volumes on the life she’s experienced from climbing an iceberg in Norway on her birthday to entering Iraq right after the beginning of the war. And yet, she’s who she is without excuse of ‘Oh, my life’s this way because I was adopted.’
Far from it.
Whether she becomes one of the top three vote-getters and wins this next phase of the Voice of McDonald’s contest to compete at the international level or never makes it past the regional winner, she’s comfortable with who she is and that she’s done her best. Even her online questionaire states “What she’d like people to know about her” as:
“ I will always take any opportunity that comes my way and strive to live my life to its fullest potential.”
Adoption hasn’t defined who she is nor does it stand in the sidelines reminding her of a life that ‘might have been’. Contrary to some adoption agencies/attorneys, many adoptees are happy, well-adjusted individuals who have their ups and downs just like any other person.
Voting in the Voice Of McDonald’s Contest is easy and free. Voting begins November 01 and continues through November 30. Please vote for Shannalee in the Voice of McDonald’s Contest
Click here To Vote!!
Please place your 5 star vote DAILY!!!! Thank you!