You know what I love? I love when a friend introduces you to one of their friends, and you end up really liking that person! Well that was the case with Roberta. I met her through Laurie, they both blog. Roberta was adopted and she was more than willing to share her story during our adoption series. Please give a warm welcome to not only my friend Laurie’s friend, but mine now too! 🙂
My name is Roberta Jo Penn. My maiden name was Brayton. I was born on March 30, 1971 in Pontiac, IL My parents, John & Judy Brayton, adopted me from “The Baby Fold” in Normal, IL. I have an older brother, Stephen, who was also adopted from there as well. He is 5 years older than I am. We lived in Moline, Il until I was 5 where we then moved to Danville, IA. I had a wonderful childhood. We lived in a small town, much like the town I live in now. I had many friends even though I was very shy. I participated in sports, speech, swing choir, golf, school plays and other extra-curricular activities. Yes, I broke out of my shyness by High School. I graduated High School in 1989 and then went to business college in Davenport, IA for two years. After I graduated college with an Associate Degree in business. I got a job with USDA “Farmers Home Administration”. I worked for that agency for 20 years before becoming a stay-at-home-mom. Within that time I had gotten married, had twin daughters(Jessica & Rebecca) in 1999, got divorced, got remarried and had another daughter(Lillian Jo) in 2008. My husband, Michael, our three daughters and I live in Edina, MO on 35 acres. Life is good!!!
I believe I first found out I was adopted when I was 6 or 7. I can almost remember the exact spot my dad told me, he sat me on his lap. Although I can’t remember how the conversation came about, he told me they just couldn’t have kids of their own. He said it was up to me when and if I chose to tell anyone. I didn’t for years. As a child you are afraid to tell other kids you are different. At least that’s how I felt as a child – different. And I don’t mean that in a negative way. I NEVER felt that my mom and dad were not my parents. I didn’t know any different. So, as a child I didn’t think of it much or speak about it or tell anyone. Then in High School the subject came up between some friends and myself. I felt comfortable with myself by this point that they are either going to accept me for being adopted or they won’t. Come to find out….one of my best friends was also adopted. So of course she understood my story. But others, their first response was “your REAL parents didn’t want you?” I never looked at it that way, I just didn’t think about it much – period. Until later years, then for some reason, it starts to become more of an issue. Maybe it’s the part when you start having kids and the doctors ask you about your medical history. I would say well, you see. And then I find myself explaining all of it to every doctor I have ever gone to. Then it starts to hit me, what IS my family history? This is followed up
by, why did they give me up? Was my mom or dad sick, were they too young, not married, unplanned, couldn’t afford kids. So many questions all of them unanswered.
A few years back I decided to find out what I could. Not about my biological parents but about my medical history. My thought on finding out about my biological parents has always been the following. My mom and dad that I have known as my parents for 43 years were and still are the best parents in the world. We ate supper at the dinner table every night, they attended all my school events, along with attending church every Sunday we went to my grandparent’s for Sunday dinner. My dad played basketball with me. My mom took me shopping. We went on family vacations EVERY summer. I had everything I needed and more. The street we lived on was full of kids. We ran to and from each other’s houses and played all the normal kid games together! I feel I had the perfect childhood. I didn’t want to know about my biological parents. I just wanted to know if I needed to be aware of any health issues.
I contacted the adoption agency. They did inform me that unless my biological parents and myself both filled out a certain form to find out about each other than we would never know who/where the other was. I was fine with that. But I would be lying if I said I never about where they are or who they are. I can’t believe that any child that is adopted doesn’t “wonder”. Just because, as of right now, I choose not to find out doesn’t mean I don’t wonder. Some questions I always have are: Who do I look like? Do I have other siblings? What did they do for jobs? Where do they live? Are they still living? Who’s little quirky mannerisms do I have
…hers or his? Do they own pets? The most obvious question, do they ever wonder about me? I never have had any hard feelings against my biological parents because they did an amazing thing for me. They gave me the opportunity at a wonderful life and that’s exactly what I got. You read and see on the news about babies just being dropped off here or there. My biological parents loved me….I have no doubt. On March 30th, I wonder, how hard that day is for them?
I think the biggest compliment I get is when people tell me how much I look like my dad. We just look at each other and smile. I have decided that after my parents are gone that would be the only time I would ever pursue trying to find my biological parents. That is just something I feel in my heart to be the right thing. A quote that always stays with me “Adopted children are luckiest because they were chosen”. 🙂
Roberta would be happy to respond to any questions you might have or feel free to leave a comment below for her. We are encouraging you to share the posts in the Adoption Series 2014 to bring awareness this month to adoption.
We extend a huge thank you to Roberta for participating and we hope only the best to her and her family in the years to come!
To checkout Roberta’s blog, be sure to see it at PENN TO PAPER.
Thanks for stopping by!