Adela escaped with her family from Cuba and settled in Bensonhurst, New York. She felt she needed security, so she married Michael Corinthos, who was in the service. Adela's parents objected, as they did not like Mike and were certain that he would only end up hurting her. Less than a year after the couple married, their son Michael Corinthos, Jr., called Sonny, was born. Because of Mike, her parents spent very little time with their grandchild. The marriage, however, was rocky. They often fought about money and Mike often would leave for days or weeks at a time. At one point, Mike stopped coming home and they divorced.
"Her family had to escape from Cuba. There were things there that she couldn’t get over. She needed to feel security. She needed to have security. She needed to feel safe, so a big strong man in uniform is what she thought she needed. First, there was Mike, he was in the service by then. Then, there was a cop. All my mom ever wanted for us was to be safe. Instead, we got Deke."(Sonny talking about Adela)
Shortly after Mike and Adela divorced, she became a secretary for Trevor Lansing and the two started dating. They became engaged and Adela got pregnant. While pregnant, Adela fell down the stairs and Trevor blamed young Sonny for her fall. The baby survived, but when their son Richard was born, Trevor made Adela choose between her two sons. He didn't want his son around the boy who almost killed him, as he saw it. Adela couldn't give up Sonny, and let Trevor leave with Ric. Adela never saw her son Ric again.
After Trevor left with Ric, Adela started dating Deke Woods, a well-respected police officer. After they married, Deke started beating both Adela and Sonny. Deke also would lock Sonny in the closet, which led to him becoming claustrophobic. When Sonny was sixteen, Adela asked him to move out to get away from Deke. He did, and was taken in by mob boss Joe Scully. But, without Sonny there to take the beatings, Adela was the focus of Deke's temper and rage. Sonny went to visit Adela at one point and saw how badly Deke had been beating her. He confided in Joe, who took it upon himself to murder Deke.
Deke's beatings contributed to an early death for Adela. After her death, Sonny reunited with his birth father Mike. Sonny also met his half-brother Ric. Ric grew up not knowing his mother, but knowing that she chose Sonny over him. He had mixed emotions regarding her. He was angry at her and didn't understand how she could choose Sonny over him, but he still loved her. When Sonny found out that Kristina Davis was his daughter, he gave her his mother's name for her middle name. It has been said by Sonny that Kristina looks exactly like a young Adela.
Adela loves music and dancing. She would often sing in Spanish and dance to the music on the radio. She also enjoyed the ballet so one day after Sonny moved out he snuck back to take her to the ballet.
"My mom used to watch ballet on public television. She used to tell me all the time how it was ... she used to go to the ballet all the time in Cuba when she was a little girl, so I decided I'd take her and so I bought two box seats. They were for the afternoon when I knew that Deke would be working, so I went to the house and I surprised her. She was so excited, you know. Her whole face changed and she was, like, 10 years younger and beautiful again and even wore this suit that she hadn't worn since she stopped working and ... so we went to the ballet and she was looking around and she was like a little kid seeing everything. And she ... all she kept telling me was how much bigger this theatre was than the one in Cuba. So we get to the box seats and there was all these girls and they all had uniforms ... they were giggling and flirting and they kept looking at me, you know. And I just kept thinking, we're so different, you know, because to them this is like a fun day in the afternoon. They're going to go back to their rich schools and rich lives and they'll forget the ballet. But to me and my mother, it was like we were visiting another planet. What I didn't know then is that even rich people can hurt as bad as poor people."