Christine Joseph

Christine Joseph

I’m a mother. My son is six. In this journey with my son, I have been learning more about who I am and where I came from. Because I was in the foster care system, I can’t really go into detail as far as who I truly am. I don’t really know that much about my history. So it’s kind of looking through documents and trying to get an understanding of who I am as an individual.

I have to be honest, I feel like I’m living a lie. I have two names: the one I have now from when I was adopted out of the system, and the one I had before – the one before that. 

When I learned that, I was like, “Dang! You have to change my name? You couldn’t just leave me with my biological first and my last name so that I knew my roots?”

I just think of myself as unknown.

My first name is Christine – that didn’t change. But my middle name and my last name were changed. My full name was Christine Monique Mellieon. The name that I have now is Christine Elizabeth Joseph. I feel like I am neither of these names.

I’m a young parent and I can’t say to my son, ‘Oh! This is where mommy is from. I can only tell you where your dad is from because I know what his roots are.’  I’ve been trying to find out just what my roots are. It still sucks that I’m close to 26 now and I still don’t have all the answers for my son. 

When I asked my adopted mother, I found out that my history with my biological parents was something that I wasn’t supposed to know. But I found out later that the records about my family were things that I was supposed to receive when I turned 18.

When I was reading through the files about myself, it kind of broke me a little bit. It was hard to read about myself as that young child going through so much at birth, and going from one foster home to another foster home, and then the adoption. I found out that after the adoption was actually set and sealed, my father reached out to find me. But the system wasn’t interested.  The child welfare system thought, your dad is annoying. Why is he reaching out? He lost his rights. Why is he still trying?

Some of what I have been missing with family connections and those roots, I have with Annie. 

I met her during a difficult time, and she is part of my support system now, even though she is not my family.  She was helping me with my son, and after that, she still continued to reach out, even though I would ignore it. I didn’t want to deal with anybody. She said, ‘I’ve been looking for you for so long. I’m here to help you.’ It amazed me that somebody would want to know about my life, because there’s not many people that care about you being somebody in the system.  

Annie is this wonderful mother of four who I look up to. She’s a go-getter. I admire her because she finds a way, no matter what. I understand, as a mother, you try to find the best way to provide for your children. Annie has always been that person.

My son is my biggest achievement.

I’m most proud of being a mother.  My first memory of my son was when he was born: he cried. But then when they put him close to me, he grabbed my face and knew that he was okay. It feels so good knowing that I’m raising a young man who is loving and affectionate, knowing that I didn’t have that.

Looking at him allows me to push myself more in ways that I didn’t think that was possible. Everyday we wake up with each other. He pushed me to want to finish school. He pushed me to go back into the world, and work, and not be afraid to meet new people and try to start over, and put a positive mark on myself. 

I’ve learned that whatever I’ve endured in my life, that’s not going to pass to my son.