Student reflects on experience as adopted child


Courtesy of Stella St. Clair

Freshman Stella St. Clair embraces her uncle-turned-father, Thom St. Clair. The pair moved to Atlanta this past summer.

Stella St. Clair

National Adoption Month started in November over 25 years ago. It used to be National Adoption Week, but President Bill Clinton extended the weeklong event into a month, which is what we celebrate today. Some people still don’t know about the importance of the month. National Adoption Month is an important month to celebrate because it’s a reminder for those who have been adopted that they aren’t alone. November is typically associated with seeing family, Thanksgiving and anticipation of the holiday season, but for me, it’s a reminder that it’s not just me.

Problems within the adoption system are important, but this month focuses on people who have been adopted and kids who are waiting for their adoption trial results. 

Six years ago, I was one of those kids. 

On Feb. 12, 2017, I got pulled out of my third-grade class by my uncles. They took me down to the courthouse and told me to wait in the lawyer’s office until the trial finished. I was terrified, my family and my whole entire future were in a singular judge’s hands.

It seemed like ages of waiting, even though the result was clear. They came back to the office, smiling ear-to-ear. Nothing needed to be said for me to know what had happened. When we left, we left as more than just a same-sex couple and their niece, we were a family. 

Whenever I was with my uncles, they always felt like more than that; it felt like we were a family, Feb. 12, 2017 finalized that and legally made us a family, they weren’t my uncles anymore, they were my dads. 

For a while, it always seemed like a big dispute between my biological father and what were my two uncles at the time. They argued back and forth for most of my childhood and I was too young to fully understand why, but I knew that they were arguing over me.  I now consider my uncles as my dads.

My adoption is pretty different from others. I had a relationship with both of my biological parents and I never was put into an orphanage, nor was I ever in the foster care system. 

I spent the first half of my life with split custody. At first, my biological mother had me most of the time and my biological father had me every Tuesday and every other weekend.

What were my uncles at the time, started looking after me in place of my biological mother. I liked them; they soon became the only thing that could possibly be my parents. They managed to keep things fun and distract me from the problems within my biological family. 

My dads and I moved from Virginia to Georgia during the summer of 2019. My dads got separate places and filed for a divorce that autumn. One of my dads, Thom and I lived in the suburbs of Georgia, while my other dad and his boyfriend lived in Atlanta. 

Throughout my childhood, I always felt extremely alienated. I felt like the only one with two dads, even just a gay dad for that matter. It started to really affect me, which led to us moving once again. I currently don’t know anyone else with same-sex parents, but now at least I know I’m not the only one. 

This past summer, Thom and I moved into a small house in Ansley Park. He took me to see a house one day and I loved everything about it. The house reminded me of our old house in Virginia, so naturally I felt at home before I even stepped foot inside.

Being raised by two men has been an odd experience, especially because I’m a girl. Kids at school used to ask me questions about my family, some of my family members would say things that were extremely insensitive and people used to give me strange looks when I was younger when I would hold my dads’ hands in public. 

My family used to be an embarrassing thing for me, but as I’ve grown up I’ve understood that this family is the best thing that could’ve happened to me. I’m now proud of my family and I’m no longer embarrassed to share my story. 

Since the beginning of my adoption journey, my life has become drastically different. Most of my biological family still lives in Virginia and my relationship with my biological mother has been reduced to a few texts and visits at the holidays. Six years ago, I never could’ve seen myself living in a big city like Atlanta and being genuinely at peace with myself, my family and understanding what that really means to me, but now I finally can.