Although my early years were not like the ordinary or “normal” childhoods that our society is used to hearing about, I thoroughly enjoyed mine. I was adopted by a nice older couple in the Milwaukee’s central city when I was about 3 weeks old. I was born in and adopted from the Milwaukee County Child Welfare System. Eventually, my new parents also adopted another child, who became my brother who I love dearly. I had a wonderful childhood. My father worked at A.O. Smith during the booming industrial age in Milwaukee, while my mother stayed home and took care of a multitude of different children in our foster home. There was not much of a commute for my father between work and home, which allowed him to return to us almost instantaneously if a situation arose.
Growing up in a home that fostered children allowed me to experience many diverse backgrounds. When I say diverse, I do not solely mean race or skin color, but also personality and character. Learning how to love and care for a varied group of individuals at such an early age has made me more patient and understanding with different personalities in life today. I appreciate every aspect of my childhood, because every day offered a new lesson to learn and an opportunity to grow.
Adoption is a positive thing, because it empowers so many people and gives them a second chance to be great. It allows for children to be loved, and helps them to learn how to love others and love themselves. These experiences I had early on give me the greatest comfort as I have gotten older and matured. Being exposed to different people with different backgrounds early in life has made it much easier to understand that no two people are the same, and that everyone cannot be treated the same way.
Adoption offers children a stable home, where they know they will stay and be a part of that family forever. Children no longer have to worry where they are going to have to go next because they know that the home they are adopted into is their home for good.
Because I was adopted so young, I was able to maintain stability with my education as well. I was educated in the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system for most of my youth to young adult life, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. These experiences gave me a well-rounded way of thinking about the world and the people in it. In the MPS system, people cared about me and wanted me to succeed. I was surrounded by people who encouraged me to make something of my talents and gifts. This inspired me to be the best version of myself I could be.
It truly takes a village to raise a child. When I was adopted, I had a good foundation that surrounded me. I had a good support system within the community we lived in. Through the encouragement of my music teacher, I was inspired to sing at Samuel Morse Junior High, which was an incredible experience. I also participated in pageants, such as the Miss Black Teen, and took trips that allowed me to experience the world for everything it is. Without the stable and constant support system I had in my life, I may not have had these opportunities.
Finally, the Milwaukee County Child Welfare System also granted me the opportunity to meet my biological parents after I had been adopted. I was given contact information for my parents if I had ever wanted to locate them. It was very touching to know I had this opportunity, because some kids in foster care do not get this chance.
I finally met my biological mother a few years ago, and she had the opportunity to meet my son and hear about all the strides he and I are making. After sitting and talking with my biological mother, I thanked her for everything she had done for me, including giving me up for adoption. Because, if I was not given up for adoption, I do not think I would have had the same experiences that I did as a child, given the circumstances and sacrifices my biological family had to endure.
– Mildred Jackson-Coby, adoptee and mom
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services recruits, trains and provides support services for foster families. The need for foster parents in Wisconsin is great. Contact us to receive information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, or visit our website to learn more.