Hey everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend! This past Friday I shared the adoption process of adopting an infant in the United States. If you didn’t read that post, definitely go check it out now! In fact, today’s adoption spotlight follows this type of adoption. I’m SO thankful for because this special adoptee reached out to me. Although I don’t know her, she has done so much and her story is amazing! I want to thank her so much for sharing her story with me because it helps spread the awareness of adoption so that we all will know that adoption is an option!

Today’s spotlight is RILEIGH PEDERSEN!!!!!!! Her type of adoption was a domestic adoption. In fact, she was adopted from birth. On August 13th, RILEIGH was born in Jacksonville, Florida. Fun fact: she was actually born during Hurricane Charlie. Her adoptive parents, who I will refer to as her “real parents” previously had trouble having children of their own, so they chose adoption. They lived in Port Washington, New York and used an adoption agency that their friends had used. After five years, paperwork, you name it, they finally got the exciting news that a baby was being born. Her real parents flew down Jacksonville to adopt their new baby. When Rileigh turned 3, they adopted another child at three days old, this time it was a boy in Jacksonville through the same agency :)!

According to the information she knows, her mom could not afford to care for her, so she chose adoption for Rileigh. That way, she could go on to live a better life. I want to draw light to this situation because I feel that it is a common misconception that parents put their children up for adoption because they don’t want them or anything negative. I want to clear that up. Almost all the time, it is because the birth parents could not provide the same life for that child as another family would. They mostly put up for adoption because they want to see that child live a better life. When I asked Rileigh if she ever wanted to contact her birth parents, she said she did. The reason why is because Rileigh wanted to thank them for giving her an amazing life with her new family and being so selfless to do that. She quotes, “I have a real mom and dad and I love them. I do not know my biological parents.”

A real cool aspect about Rileigh’s Adoptions is that she actually looks like her real parents. Meaning, she could probably pass as their biological daughter.

There are always hardships with being adopted for sure. Rileigh was so generous to share one with us! In fifth grade, her class was talking about the different ways families could have children and adoption became a topic of discussion. Rileigh knew that she was adopted and was proud to talk about it just like she is now :). One kids in her class had said that being adopted was weird because they didn’t even know their real parents. It is expectable that some tears would be shed because it’s true most of us don’t know our biological parents, but that’s another life that God decided we’d be better off without.

However, despite all the obstacles, look at Rileigh now. She is 14 years old and thriving. She uses her title as Young Miss New Hanover County 2018 to share her adoption story everywhere she goes.

Thank you so much again Rileigh for sharing your story! Be sure to follow Rileigh on Instagram @rileigh.pedersen!!