Gabbi Anderson

A CHS senior processes the effect her adoption had on her identity.

January 11, 2023

“I was nine and thinking that there is something seriously wrong with me,” Gabbi Anderson, CHS senior, said.

Anderson is adopted from Guatemala, and when she was nine she went to meet her biological family: her biological grandma and biological siblings.

After coming home, she was confused and hurt. Her mother had other kids, before and after her, and only put her up for adoption, and, especially as a nine-year-old, this was difficult to understand. Anderson worked on healing from this experience with her parents and therapist, but when she was 14 she was all the progress she had made was lost after a Facebook message to her biological mom.

The message read, “Gabbi is interested in flying to Texas and seeing you. Would you be interested in that same sort of thing?”

The response was a thumbs-down emoji. 

That one symbol response held the power crush Anderson in an instant. She restarted her healing process after this. She started talking to her mom more about her feelings related to her adoption. Anderson was finally able to be open and explain how she felt after visiting Guatemala and how she felt after receiving the response. With time, she no longer wanted to meet her biological mom and was satisfied and happy in her life in Ann Arbor with her parents and two brothers who are also adopted.

“My family is here, and my family is the people that I live with, the friends that I have [and] the connections I’ve built here,” Anderson said. “Adoption is a loaded topic that people don’t really understand unless you yourself are adopted, and it’s different for everybody. It was such a huge realization for me and just to say I thought there was something wrong with me and to talk about things with her really changed my life.”

Anderson admires her parents for having children through adoption and believes that it takes strength to go on that journey. She recognizes it is challenging to adopt and raise kids, especially multiple kids with different stories and challenges. For many adopted kids, there can be a lot of confusion growing up and struggles with self-worth.

“It takes a strong parent, and a validating parent to raise [adopted children],” Anderson said.

With the help of her parents, Anderson has grown as a person and gained clarity on what she values in relationships. She has found she values having a small, trustworthy and tight-knit group of friends more than a larger friend group. Her friends remind her she is here for a reason and valued where she is.

In general though, Anderson feels tip-toed around when it comes to adoption.

“I feel like it’s always something that you have to say, and it’s a little bit taboo,” Anderson said. “People are afraid to ask [if I’m adopted] if I go out with my parents, but I think it’s something that I live with, so it’s normal to me, I wouldn’t be upset and people shouldn’t be afraid to ask about it because talking about it helps me process it and will help other people feel more comfortable.”

Anderson loves her family, friends, the connections and the life she has built in Ann Arbor and doesn’t have anything she feels is missing. She does not plan, or want, to meet her biological mom because she already has a team of people on her side and she is healing. 

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About the Writer
Photo of Ella Rosewarne
Ella Rosewarne, Print Editor-in-Chief
Ella is a senior at CHS and entering her second year as a Print EIC. In journalism, she is excited for the year and all the amazing work that will be created together! In her free time, she is a mermaid (don't tell anyone though!) She loves spending time outside, hiking, hammocking and hanging out. As the weather starts to change, she is getting excited for fall colors and corn mazes!

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