Lately I’ve been recognizing that many adult adoptees are in a place where it’s still dark and always has been, or they have moved out of the darkness and found surrounding light. That does not mean that the dark isn’t still within them, but it’s just not suffocating them and dictating everything else.

I feel such deep empathy for adult adoptees that are still over taken by dark & bitter feelings. I’m well aware that there can be so many different reasons that they haven’t been unable to escape it. So I am not here to judge them, but it has made me turn inward a bit & look at my own life to see why it hasn’t consumed me.

I feel like I am an adoptee who more than anything can appreciate my story & the fact that I was placed for adoption. It hasn’t always been that way. I’ve been the bitter dark adoptee too. As I reflect to figure out why that is I am aware that there are MANY reasons. But if I go back to the beginning stages of the real hard times for myself I really believe that MY FRIENDS were a huge contributing factor for myself.

As I’m sure most teenagers do – you live for your friends. You choose them over your family if given the choice and every minute of your day is consumed by talking to them, thinking about them or being with them. Friends are life when your a teen. My mom has mentioned to me many times as I’ve gotten older that she always felt like I only loved my friends because that’s where I wanted to always be.

What I look back and notice is that yes friends were my life, I loved being with them. But why, what’s the real the reason for that?

Well the simple answer is that they were my happy place & also my place of escape. I didn’t need to escape from my family, I wasn’t trying to shut them out because my family is great. But what I was trying to escape was the reminder that I was adopted.

When everything within me was rapidly spiraling out of control and I was so angry about being adopted. They were there seeing me for me. I never felt adopted when I was with them, so at a time when I felt bitter about being adopted they were the normal I so desperately needed.

It doesn’t mean that I didn’t love my parents or I wasn’t grateful too. It just meant that I was struggling to understand and so struggling to accept the strange course of life that I had which was unlike everyone else.

Not only was I going through normal teenage hormones, changes, emotions etc. I was also battling quite painful and dark thoughts. The heartache I constantly felt I knew nobody could relate too, so I kept it inside. But my friends were there and I could breathe when I was with them and I could escape the struggles I was fighting internally.

Friend groups kept evolving over the years and of course there were falling outs with some. But by about 8th grade I truly had found my few people that I genuinely loved & trusted. Being adopted made it hard for me to trust people. I’m not really sure why, but I think that’s pretty common for us adoptees. A fault in our wiring that only seems to be harder as the years go by. So being able to have these girls that I trusted was HUGE for me. But still I tried my best to rarely speak of my adoption issues or pains. I don’t know that any of them have ever really truly heard me open up about it. I touched on it occasionally but not extensively.

I wasn’t proud of these emotions, I didn’t even know how to process them so I always thought why even share? I surely didn’t want to put a damper on all the fun that we had. Because let me tell you… we can have fun! Like real, wet your pants, cry laughing, drunk on life fun! My friends have always been the coolest, faithful, funniest, rowdiest, nicest, most genuine, humans I knew OR know because lets be real, we’re still pretty fun we just have that “we used to be cool mom vibe going on”

My friend Kylee was our tender bucket. I can’t even count the number of mixed CD’s she burned and the amount of quotes she printed off for every occasion, high or low that we were experiencing. I’ve saved these and came across one while looking through my school days bin, and it perfectly sums up how I feel about these goons. It says….


A simple word isn’t it? It’s uttered everyday to almost ever person imaginable. Who are your friends? I used to think that friends were the people that you could laugh and talk to. Now I know that friends aren’t that, they’re the people that touch your heart.

You could spend hours with them doing nothing at all and it can be the best time of your life, just because it was with them. They’re the people you can share your secrets with, cry with, laugh with, and just have fun with.

They don’t judge you or make you change. They accept you exactly as you are. They look at you and they see a great person, one they love spending time with. You all share something in common and are tied together by memories, tears, laughs and smiles. You’re tied together by love for the other.

Friendship is one of the greatest things in the world. I find my time with my friends, the best times of my life. My friends are my heart, my soul, my fun, my laughter, tears, love and my life.

You lifted me up when I could not lift myself; you made me smile when I forgot how to. You were there for me in my times of need and you were there for me when I needed nothing at all.”


The truth is, I don’t think I even knew WHY they were my escape until later on in life. I didn’t even realized WHAT they were to me.

They were just … my best friends…

Sure they were the people I laughed with and loved being with. But what I didn’t realize til later is that they were saving me from the downward spiral my feelings wanted to cave into. Without them knowing it they were saving me little by little and day by day.

As I look back I do wish that I would of opened up more about all that I was hiding underneath. Leaning on them in those moments would have been so healing, but I was just too hesitant. But even though I didn’t then, I can now. It’s so comforting that they are still my friends and it’s cool to get to share these things with them. I know they’d do anything for me as I would for them. That in itself is a blessing I’m so thankful for.

I often wondered if my birth mom had a great group of friends or not. I assumed based off of the little that I knew about her that she wasn’t so lucky. Which often left me feeling both incredibly guilty that she didn’t & grateful that I did. They’re aren’t quite words that I know of to explain the complexity of that.

I know how important good friends are and how much the company you keep can affect your life for good or bad, adopted or not. Surrounding myself with people I could grow with and be better because of, at a time when internally I was so lost made all the difference for me.

I hate to even imagine what route my life could have taken if they weren’t a part of it. (As cheesy as this sounds) They helped me keep my head above water until I figured out how to swim on my own & I don’t think can ever understand how much I appreciate them for being those people.

Thanks for being such great examples & for being true friends.

I am forever grateful.

Love, J-rad

love you guys

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