We Have A Winner!
In celebration of last November being National Adoption Month, we were excited to rollout our 1st Annual Adult Adoptee Writing Contest. We invited adult adoptees from MAA families to answer the question: “If you could sit with your younger self for an hour or two, what advice would you give them?” We received several amazing entries, making the decision on the winner quite challenging! MAA staff voted, and we are thrilled to announce the winner of the 2021 1st Annual Adult Adoptee Writing Contest – Katelyn Corkern!! Katelyn, we trust the $500 reward will be helpful in your educational pursuits! Please enjoy reading her beautiful essay below. And stay tuned for the 2nd Annual Adult Adoptee Writing Contest to be announced in November 2022!!
Dear younger me,
First, I would love to give you a big hug. You have gone through a lot, and I am so proud of the woman you have become. Just thinking about the past, even though there are so many things I wish I could redo or do differently, in the end I would not change anything. You are who you are today because of all the things you have been through. You are on such a sweet journey and God has such a big plan for you. I wish I wrote down some questions for me to answer today. It is hard to give you every single piece of advice, I wish I could. However, here are some of the important ones.
You are worth so much more than you think you are. It will take a long time for yourself to understand that. You are so loved by God, and all of the people around you. You will spend many years believing you are not good enough. There will be times others might think you are different, even strange. Especially while you are an orphan, people may look down on you. However, it is not your fault that you became an orphan. You had no control of that, nor did you do anything to deserve it. There will always be so much love around you, because you are wanted, chosen, cherished, and appreciated. You are loved. Even though you cry all the time, every time you walk back from school to the orphanage, one day you will never have to do that. One day you will have a forever family who loves you very much.
You have always been a chameleon. You will need to learn to stop pleasing others and trying to figure what other people want and becoming that thing. Please learn about yourself. Ask yourself what do you want to do with your life, what are the things you truly enjoy. Do not change for every person around you. Sometimes, instead of saying yes to everyone, it is okay to say no. Any time you get invited to go out, ask yourself if you really want to before giving an answer. Learn to set boundaries for yourself and stick to who you want to be, not who others want you to be. Your mental and physical health is more important than trying to please anyone. Do not focus on too many things at a time, instead of not achieving anything. It is okay to focus on one thing at a time, you can have it all in life, but not all at once.
Do not be afraid of what others think of you. Instead of pleasing people, because you will learn time and time again you are not able to please everyone, focus on pleasing yourself first. It is also okay to fail. Those are all the real opportunities that make you grow stronger. All of those things do not matter. The expectations of others should not limit you from who you are trying to be, do not let others look down on you.
You are more than just your body shape. Even though there are times you may not feel you look your best or reflect whatever the magazines may show, you are beautiful. Your standard is to be healthy, not to compare yourself to other people who may be super fit, who have a 6 pack or to people who may be overweight. I want you to cherish your body, somehow in your head you have believed that you are fat, and you start seeing yourself like that. You will have body image issues because of that. You will have to remember, you have to just take care of your body and not compare yourself to other people. Your body is not built the same as other people. Eat healthy and exercise regularly.
I hope you will not settle in life. There may be times where you do not think you are good enough. Somewhere along the way, you do not want to chase after what you want, because you are afraid to fail. It breaks my heart that you go through that phase. You just give up or you won’t even give it a try and it will take a long time to realize that you are much stronger than that. This is not just in chasing opportunities, but also in your relationships. I know you have always wanted to find that true love. I know you question whether there is someone out there for you. Do not worry, there will be. Your time will come, just do not settle.
You will slowly overcome all the hardships and all the struggles. Remember at the same time, there is so much joy and so many blessings you will experience while you are growing. All of those experiences made you who you are today. God has had a plan for you. All of the experiences and pain you are going through, you will learn from it and you will be able to use it to help others. Remember you do not have to earn other people’s love, you are already so loved by God, the Father. Be grateful for everything you have, do not stop looking at the blessings all around you. Do not ever hold a grudge over anyone, keep forgiving. Learn to stand up for yourself. Do not let your circumstances determine who you are. Do not let your fear hold you back. Keep reaching for your goals. Remember, you are never all alone, even though there may be times you feel like you are all alone. Whether it is when you were given away to another family, when you lived on the street, when you were being adopted, when you were learning English for the first time, or when learning to receive love from your parents now, you are not alone. It is okay to be scared, those things are all new to you. Be proud of who you are, how far you have come, even just a small step at a time. You are so loved, in ways you can not imagine today. Every day you will meet new people who will love you for who you are! Be proud of who you are becoming!