Adoption: Given A Chance

It’s not something they hid from me. I’ve always known I was adopted, so it wasn’t a shock for me at all. I can’t tell you when my mom actually told me. My mom had some type of ovarian cysts that made it so she couldn’t conceive. They were on the adoption list for a long time and ended up with me.


My dad was a higher-up at Zayre (an old department store back in the 80s) and my parents were supposed to go to a work function dinner/ball type thing the weekend they found out they were getting me. It was important enough that they couldn’t back out of it; so basically, my mom picked me up from the hospital while my dad immediately left to go to this event. My mom dropped me off with three of my grandparents and my Godmother, my Aunt Trude, and left to join my father at the event for the weekend. My mom found that story hilarious; that it took four adults to watch one baby! My dad died a year later in a car accident, and my mom remarried in ‘95 to my step dad. He never adopted me, and we had a strange relationship from as long as I’ve known or can remember. But my mom and I have always been very close; she was an amazing woman.

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When we do new staff introductions at work, we always tell something about ourselves that nobody knows. I share that I’m adopted because people are always surprised. People tell me all the time that my mom and I look a lot alike, and that still makes me laugh.

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As far as I’m concerned, my mom is my mom. I never thought about being different as far as adoption or anything like that. My family is my family; they are who I grew up with. I still don’t know who my birth-parents are, and I don’t have any desire to meet them. My mom is the one who raised me. I remember a few occasions when I was a dumb teenage kid, angry about something stupid, and I threw it back in my mom’s face. I’d scream at her, “You’re not my real mom.” Even though I’ve apologized for it several times since, I regret it to this day.

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My mom passed away a couple years ago from breast cancer. We were cleaning out their house in Las Vegas and found a card and medical records from my birth parents. Outside of that, I don’t know anything. That was the first time I’d seen that. It was a shock that she had never shared that with me, but knowing my mom and how much of a pack rat she was, she probably had every intention of sharing it with me and couldn’t find it!


My wife and I thought about adoption. The original plan was to have three kids of our own and adopt a fourth. We have three kids of our own now (all 5 and under) and my wife stays home with them. She does an incredible job raising our children, but I don’t think she could handle a fourth at the moment! Adoption is something that I want to do because someone gave me a chance, and I’d like to return that kindness. It might happen down the road, but it’s something we’ve not yet discussed.

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Had I stayed with my birth parents, I don’t know what my life would have been like. My birth mom knew well enough that my life with her would not have been very good, so she gave me a chance to have a life that she wanted for me. And I thank her for that immensely. I got really lucky and ended up with an amazing mother and a wonderful family.


To families considering adoption: it’s giving somebody a chance. Whether the child is an infant or a 13/14 year old kid who just needs a place to live instead of a foster home, it’s something I think is worth it. There’s too many kids who don’t have a family or a parent to give them what they need, who are in foster care their entire lives, who struggle and have to be on their own without anyone to love or care for them. Give them the chance that they deserve to have a good life. I know I am beyond thankful that my parents gave me that chance.

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~ Carl Palma


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