I do not remember when my parents explained to me that I had been adopted. I grew up always knowing that I was. I think when they first introduced the topic I was about my son’s age (5). Maybe sooner…There was never a doubt in anyone’s mind that someday I would search for my biological family.
I remember when I was a teenager, there was a stage at which every sing day I longed and wished to know my biological mother…well, both of my parents really, but especially my mother. I felts like I needed her because she would be the only one to really understand me.
Every year on my birthday I get sad. I never celebrate my birthday ON my birthday. I always celebrate it a day before or after. Usually on my birthday I just want to be alone. It is the one day that I feel my mother’s presence the strongest…or my imagination feel it…whatever that means.
I have always carried around the burden of not knowing anything about my biological family. It is a burden that no one can truly understand unless they’ve been there. Even trying to explain it to my own family or friends, they don’t understand because they KNOW where they came from. They know people who they are related to. My only blood relative in the world I’ve ever known is my own son…
Over Christmas my aunt suggested that I take the DNA test on ancestry.com. I thought it would be a really neat way to find out my ethnicity. I didn’t consider the fact that I might actually get connected to family from it! I don’t think I was as emotionally or mentally prepared as I thought I was. Even though I’ve prepared for it in some way, ever since they day I knew I was adopted, nothing could prepare me for the fact that it’s finally starting to happen…
When I got the results of my DNA test I was in between classes. I happened to glance at my phone and saw the email subject line, “Your results are in!”….I must have jumped 10 feet in the air in excitement. I rushed to my AC/DC lab class and hopped on the first computer frantically…..I could not WAIT!!!
I was so surprised that not only did I find out my ethnicity percentages, I also got connected with several cousins! 3 of which from my biological mother’s side, and many from my dad’s side that are 4th cousins or beyond. I reached out to many of them. What is tricky about my situation is that my biological mother was ALSO adopted…
After about a week of correspondence and research, a story has started to emerge. More research will be needed to confirm, but the odds are very likely that I have found my uncle and maternal grandfather. The story seems to have emerged that my biological grandfather, a truck driver, had a relationship with my grandmother between wives. It would make sense that when she found out she was pregnant in 1959, being an unwed mother, she placed my mother up for adoption. Then, my own mother, 23 years later after 2 kids and a divorce, placed me up for adoption as well….
I had the pleasure of speaking with my 3rd cousin on the phone. I was amazed at how much it made sense that we were related. I breathed a sigh of relief that finally I “made sense.” Finally, it is confirmed that I am absolutely who I am because of genetics, which is why I have never fit in with my adopted family. Genetics was stronger than nuture in my case, and suddenly as we talked for about 4 hours straight, the world started to feel good. A burden that I have carried around since I was a baby was taken away, and a sigh of relief took all of the mystery out of who I am.
I am taking a break from the search and have decided to scrape together the money and petition the courts to unseal my adoption records. Then I will know who my biological parents are. I may never know who my biological grandmother is, but I may still….time will tell. But even if I never learned anything more about my biological family, I am content with what I do know, and I have discovered many new things about myself that answers some of the deepest questions I have always had. Suddenly I am no longer the odd sheep of the family, but when I talk with my 3rd cousin, I realize we talk the same, we think the same, we laugh the same, we sort of look the same, we are absolutely family.
I have also gained a new appreciation for the family that raised me. The resentment for all of the pain they have caused me has dissipated when I have now realized that I really did have a better life than what I would have had if my biological mother had not placed me up for adoption. While it will always be the elephant in the room that I am not like them, I do have a new appreciation for the effort they have made to love me the best way they know how. Even if I do not have all the answers, I have enough answers to satisfy the curiosity and yearning. The mystery, although only half solved, is understood enough to feel a sense of relief.
With this new found knowledge, I feel free at last. The prison of the mind is more isolating than any physical form of oppression. The battles I have faced my entire life were battles of the mind, and the deepest darkest parts of myself were forced to be brought to the light in order to heal, and move on…. Now that I understand those things about myself that are truly part of my DNA, I also understand my unique position that I have been given the best of many worlds. I have suffered uniquely, and now I do have something valuable to contribute to society because of what I have learned and discovered about myself through this process of recovery.
I am very thankful for this experience, and the amazing people who have helped me along the way to get where I am. If it were not for science, I would not be where I am now. Not just because of the DNA test, but because of the scientific advancements in medicine, and trauma recovery, as well as the amazing resources afforded to me in this community…because of the local domestic violence agency, the generosity of strangers, and the general good of humanity, I have been given a second chance at life.
I feel stronger and wiser than most. That is not meant to be an arrogant statement. I mean that because of all I’ve been through, I understand the world on a level that is so much higher, richer and more beautiful than I ever thought possible. Life is still hard. Life will always be hard. But I have found freedom….contentment…..beauty…..and truth.
Thank you. Thank you for helping me become a better person. Thank you :-)