Humans of New York

(Source: https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork)

Humans of New York - “I downsized my life to one large suitcase, a | (2/2) “It’s very difficult to talk about ado | One thing that makes me most proud of..

(22) “It’s very difficult to talk about adoption on the Internet...

(2/2) “It’s very difficult to talk about adoption on the Internet. No matter what you say, somebody will say the opposite. We adopted Axel last January. He had spent three years in the orphanage. The staff loved him and were desperate to find him a family. We were the only ones on the list for an older child. We knew it was going to be difficult. I had read a lot of literature on the difficulties of overcoming early neglect. And we’re making progress. We’re teaching him that our home is a permanent home. We are learning that touch is a good thing. We are learning that hugs can make you feel better. And I’m learning to not put so much pressure on myself. At first we felt so much pressure to love him. It would hurt me when he didn’t want to be hugged. I wanted to immediately love him as much as our biological son. And I felt guilty because it wasn’t happening right away. But then I stopped pressuring myself. My husband and I decided to focus on basics. We focused on providing food, shelter, and education. And once we stopped pressuring ourselves to feel a certain way, we discovered that we already loved him quite a bit. It’s a rollercoaster. But I feel like we’re heading up. Adopting an older child is difficult, but every child is difficult. My biological child was difficult. Only this time, after several months, I’m sleeping through the night, my boobs don’t hurt, and I don’t smell like diapers. So I feel like I should be doing a victory dance.”

(Santiago, Chile)

One thing that makes me most proud of Humans of New York is the warmth..

One thing that makes me most proud of Humans of New York is the warmth of the comment section. There are exceptions of course, but generally the responses to each story are thoughtful and encouraging. I joke that Humans of New York is followed by the nicest 25 million people on the Internet. Often the comment section will take on a life and a narrative of it's own. During my visit to Santiago, I received an email from a woman named Victoria (aka Sofia) who shared a story about how her life was changed by the support of the HONY community. Very proud to pass it along:

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(1/2) “We’d been trying to adopt for several years. We didn’t want an infant. The waiting list was too long. Plus we had one child already, so we’d already been through the experience of having a baby. We wanted other couples to have that opportunity. So we decided to adopt an older child. But everything went wrong. Our application was invalidated after three years because my husband got a job in Ecuador. When we tried to start over, the government went on strike. Then we lost all our possessions in a storage facility fire. So I was about to give up. I couldn’t do it anymore. The process was stressing me out so much that it was affecting my biological child. Then right when I was about to give up, I saw a Humans of New York post about a man who’d grown up in a group home. I thought: ‘He could have been my child.’ I wrote about my difficulties in the comment section, and hundreds of people responded. Everyone told me not to give up. My phone was buzzing all day. The ones that touched me most were the stories from adopted children. It gave me the strength to go on.”

(Santiago, Chile)

(33) “The doctors discovered a tumor on Mom’s spine in 2007. She..

(3/3) “The doctors discovered a tumor on Mom’s spine in 2007. She spent four years being really sick. First she couldn’t walk. Then she couldn’t move her arms, or her hands. When she died she could only move her head. My father took care of her. I don’t think there was emotion involved. I think he was just concerned about doing the correct thing. He’d openly say: ‘I hate this so much.’ But he did it. Mom died three years ago. When she realized she didn’t have much time, she really encouraged me to get closer to my siblings. She also encouraged me to travel. She’d say: ‘Go explore. Forget about me. You’re different. I want you to find people like you.’ She was always so worried about me being alone. And sometimes I do feel alone now that she’s gone. I don’t know who to call when I accomplish something. I miss her so much. But I always try to be like her. My whole life I’ve tried to be like her. I can be shy. I can isolate myself. Sometimes I remind myself of my father. But I have always tried to be my mother.”

(Santiago, Chile)

(23) “One day I found a box of old love letters that my dad had written..

(2/3) “One day I found a box of old love letters that my dad had written to my mom. They were romantic letters. They said nice things. I was surprised because I’d never seen him say those things. All of that had disappeared before I was born. My father had never told me anything about himself. Everything I know about him, I learned from my mom. She told me that the romance had been an act. She told me that she later realized he was a very cold man. But Mom always told me that we shouldn’t blame him. She said he had a very rough childhood. His father abandoned the family when he was very young. His mother married another man, and sent him to live with an uncle. She raised an entirely new family and left my father behind. He had a very lonely childhood. So my mother always told me: ‘You must not blame your father.’ She told me that always. Especially after she got sick.”

(Santiago, Chile)

(13) “In every sense she was the perfect mom. She always tried to encourage..

(1/3) “In every sense she was the perfect mom. She always tried to encourage me when I was younger. I was really shy, so she always worried about me being alone. She would ask things like: ‘Have you met anyone at school?’ or ‘Does anyone like the same things you do?’ She always knew when something was wrong. I never had to tell her anything. But Dad was the opposite. He ignored me. He never did anything wrong. He wasn’t an alcoholic. He wasn’t violent. He was just nothing—like a chair or a piece of furniture. His only idea of fatherhood was going to work. He never reacted to anything in my life. Not the good things, or the bad things. He didn’t react to me staying out late. He didn’t react when I experimented with drugs and alcohol. I made my mom very sad by trying to get my dad’s attention. A few years ago I got hit by a car. When I woke up from my coma, I called home to tell my parents what happened. My father answered the phone. I told him everything. All he said was: ‘Your mother is asleep right now. You can call her tomorrow.’ That hurt me worse than being hit by the car.”

(Santiago, Chile)

“The older my daughters get, the more indifferent they become towards..

“The older my daughters get, the more indifferent they become towards me. They don’t call me. They don’t come see me. They don’t do anything unless I try. I left the house when the oldest was six. I found a new partner. Their mother was very angry so she restricted my visits. Now they are teenagers and they seem so distant from me. I have nobody in my life right now. I have nobody to share things with, so I’d really like a relationship with them. But nothing seems to work. I pick them up from school. I speak to them every day. I try to take them to my apartment a couple times each week. But even if they are physically with me, it’s like they aren’t there. They don’t even say ‘I love you.’ It hurts. I guess they are still angry that I left. Maybe one day they will have their own relationships. And if they fail, they’ll learn that everything can’t be perfect.”

(Santiago, Chile)