Today I present Kira McSherry. She’s an adoptee since birth who reunited with both sides of her biological family exactly one year ago. She is also a mama to her 5 year old biological son, and she adopted her daughter locally 2.5 years ago. She and her husband have been married for 6.5 years and live in the hot Arizona desert but they’re both from New Mexico. Her (adopted) mother tragically passed away exactly one month after she turned 16 years old. She has a life threatening, rare autoimmune that she keeps controlled by working out daily and taking a cocktail of medications. She’s a social media manager for a local adoption agency and contributor for a virtual adoption community, Kindred + Co. Adoption is her life in so many ways. I met Kira on instagram because i saw a cool picture of her and her “new” sisters. We have some things in common and really wanted you to hear her story.
I really love bringing on people who have been touched by adoption because there is so much to learn from each other. We all have different stories to tell but there are so many commonalities that can bring us together. Here’s a story of an adoptee who loves her life and is truly enjoying her new-found family. Adoption is never an easy process but when families can come together to support the child, everyone wins!
Kira with her kids, birth mom, and aunts
Who was adopted in your family? I have one adoptee sister who is three years older than me. She also recently reunited with her birth mom side.
Did you always know about the adoption? Yes, I have always been aware of my adoption. The conversations of adoption were always welcomed and open within my family which I am forever thankful for. I truly believe that knowing and communicating led me to a healthy, well rounded person.
How did you feel when you found out about the adoption? I have never known differently so there was never a moment of realization for me.
Do you know why you were placed for adoption? As of recently I do know why I was placed but I went my whole life with always wondering the reasons.
Have you been reunited with a biological family member? Please tell us about your meeting. How did you find each other? And how did you meet? Long story short, I did dna test through ancestry.com simply to find out my genetic makeup. I had no intention on reunification. 2.5 years later I happen to sign on my account because a friend asked my Native American percentage. There was a message in my inbox from a categorized “close relative.” I messaged him back but our conversation was short because I couldn’t answer any of his questions because I didn’t know anything regarding my placement. A few months had passed and I kept investigating. There was another high dna match and I quickly discovered one was my grandfather, the other my uncle. My newly found uncle got me in contact with his brother, who ended up being my birth father and my birth father then lead me to my birth mom. All of that unfolded just days before my thirty fourth birthday. My birth father and new grandparents drove out to visit me a couple week later and my birth mom and I met in person about a month after that. They all live in my hometown still. These meetings were simply unforgettable and still take my breath away when I remember those days.
How do you feel about adoption? I am so proud that I am adopted! I am proud of my adoptive parents and how they raised me and who they are. I am proud of my (adopted) sister for being able to go through these milestones together and lean on each other and relate to one another even though our stories and outcomes are vastly different. I am proud of my birth mom for her strength. I am proud of my birth father for accepting me into his life, him family, his heart. I am proud of my new (biological) sisters who have welcomed me open arms. I am just so overwhelmingly proud of my adoption.
What emotions were you feeling before, during, and after meeting day? I was so so nervous but so excited. I was also a little hesitant, apprehensive at first because I had no actual DNA proof that they were my parents. I just had verbal confirmation and matching stories. Once I was face to face with each of them, I was quickly put at ease and everything felt so natural and comfortable. As if I had known them my whole lives.
Has the experience been all positive or have there been things that turned you off to your journey to meeting your relative? It has not been all rainbows and butterflies. True emotions and real hearts are involved in learning each other, dealing with lost time, and simply getting to know one another as people and as new family members. The emotions have gotten very heavy and very real for me at times, that I wonder if I can maintain all of this. I know I can but at times it has seemed like too much for one person to carry.
What is the first thing you consciously did as a family after meeting? After meeting my birth mother for the first time, we had breakfast together where she could meet my (adopted) father. Talk about another surreal moment that is forever etched in my heart. With my birth father, it was a park date. He swung my daughter and I on the swing together. He pointed out that he finally got to push his daughter on the swing for the first time 34 years later. A common activity parents do with their kids at a very young age.
Did you take professional pictures of your new family? Why/Why not? No and I would have LOVED that. Not only am I a huge fan of photography and capturing special moments and milestones, in a matter of a week my little (immediate) family of 3 quickly quadrupled. I have living grandparents now. I have a mom who is alive and actively in my life. I have new siblings! New cousins! More nieces and I have nephews! New aunts and uncles! I have an entire Tribe! All so worth documenting but unfortunately I have not.
If you took pictures, how do they make you feel when you see them on your walls? And why would you recommend them to families who have just reunited?well, I have cheap costco 5x7 prints from an iphone on my refrigerator and those alone bring me so much joy. I bet having professional ones on my wall would help make this dream more of a reality for me. It definitely did for my daughter when we adopted her.
How is your relationship with your biological family? It’s getting stronger and stronger as time passes. We were all talking daily through phone and text but that has settled which I am thankful for because it seems like real life.
Where do you see your family in 10 years? Honestly, I don’t know what I see because I can’t believe I am here, writing about this. But gosh, I see new traditions being established. I see huge family gatherings. I see lots and lots of love.
How has adoption changed you as a person? Being an adoptee, an adoptive mama, and in reunion has changed me in many ways. Career wise and community. It was enhanced my love for my daughters birth mom and gives me hope that maybe one day she will get what I am experiencing. And if she doesn’t, I have healthy tools and experience that will hopefully help her with her journey.
What would you say to someone going through what you went through? Don’t compare stories. People are placed for adoption different reasons. Reunions aren’t all the same either. Each relationship is unique. Most importantly, take one day, moment , breath even, at a time. Keep all communication open between yourself, your adoptive family and your biological family. Be honest with yourself and everyone involved. Create boundaries and listen to your heart. No one needs pressure on themselves or expectations on each other.
Sisters meeting each other for the first time after Kira was adopted.
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Janeris Studios is a family photography on-location studio in Miami, FL. We focus on documenting relationships, especially those of adoptive families. We have photographed families for over 15 years. Our specialty is providing tangible heirloom portraits to families and helping adoptive children build confidence in their new official homes. We have a documentary style and enjoy photographing moments of joy between families. Click the link below to inquire about booking a session.