As part of the Empowerment initiative, Growth Is A Journey is very honored to share Michelle McManus ‘story.
Michelle is the Founder of Baby Be Brave, which is a platform for bringing awareness about adoption and supporting other adoptees. She is working hard to make Baby Be Brave a non profit organization.
Michelle was born in Romania in 1988. She was a product of rape and placed in an orphanage shortly after her birth. She was adopted at 2 years old by an American family and grew up in Philadelphia in a healthy and happy home. She learned that she was an adoptee when she was 8 years old in a conversation with her father. She remembers how confused she felt during that conversation, but at the same time, a light bulb went on: she had always felt she could not fit in or that something was amiss. She was heartbroken when a schoolmate bullied her and cruelly told her that her birth mom must have never loved her, therefore her abandonment in an orphanage. Things went downhill throughout high school years with Michelle remembering how she started partying too much, always in need of attention and validation. She would always look in the mirror growing up creating images of her birth parents as she did not have photos of them. At some point, she felt she really needed answers and at 18 years old, she hired a private investigator to find her birth mother in Romania. The journey only resulted in more heartache and abandonment as her birth mom refused to have to do anything with her first born. The private investigator had found out that her mom was raped when she was 23 years old and had to abandon her because she didn’t feel she could care well for her. Her mom had two kids after getting married and Michelle was able to get some pictures done with her mom, half brother and sister, and her grandparents. When her mom made it clear that she didn’t want to do anything with her, Michelle felt the pain of rejection again and started blaming herself because her existence caused her mom so much pain. She continued to be heartbroken until into her early 20s. An incident when Michelle was 21 dramatically changed the way she had been seeing her birth mom. Tightly escaping a rape aggression in the subway made Michelle look at her mom with more grace and empathy. She saw her mom not as a birth mom who had abandoned her but more like a person and a woman who felt powerless and had to endure the trauma of a rape.
Fast forward several years, Michelle is a vibrant, beautiful and energetic human being, dedicated to being a voice for Adoptees and a brave soul. Statistics and research show that adoptees are 4 times more likely to commit suicide because they feel unseen and unheard. Adopted children are also at more risk to suffer from mood disorders like anxiety, depression and behavioral issues.
Michelle is making it her mission to make sure she gives as many adoptees as possible a voice. She wants them to feel seen, heard, and that they matter.
You can follow Michelle on instagram @babybebrave_
For a few general statistics on adoption from Adoption-Beyond.Org:
- There are millions of orphans in the world just waiting for a family.
- It is estimated that about 1 million children in the United States live with adoptive parents.
- Birthmothers who have on-going contact with their children’s adoptive families report having less grief, regret, guilt and sadness than do those who do not have contact.
(Article published with Michelle McManus’permission)