I was adopted as an infant.
Many people might not know this because I don’t make a big deal about it. Being adopted is just part of who I am, and I don’t feel the need to announce it, just like I don’t walk up to people and tell them I’m tall or wear glasses. I’ve also never felt ashamed or had any negative feelings about being adopted. I love the life I’ve been given. I wouldn’t be who I am without it.
I was naturally curious about my biological relatives, my family medical history, and my natural heritage. However, the adoption world of today is much different than it was when I was adopted. Additionally, my adoption was handled through a private lawyer instead of an agency. The likelihood of ever finding out any information was slim to none. I had long ago decided that if I found any of the information, that would be great, but if I didn’t? I was at peace with that.
A few years ago, my oldest child wanted to take a genealogy DNA test. Several of his dad’s family members had taken them, and he’s always been curious about genetics. Then he wanted me to take one too, so we could compare everyone’s results. I did and never really thought much else about it. A couple of times, I received a message through the online system showing a possible distant relative (I’m talking 4th cousin or more type distant). I would reply that I had been adopted and didn’t have any information for them. Then something interesting happened.
Hi, I think we might be related.
I was sitting beside the pool at a hotel in San Antonio in March of 2018. It had been just a little over a month since my adoptive dad had passed away. The boys and I needed an escape, so I planned a spring break getaway. I promise I was paying attention to my children, but I decided to check my email on my phone. I had obtained a notification of a message through the DNA website. It was another “I think we might be related” message. I didn’t even bother to check the person’s profile; I just sent back my standard “I’m adopted” response and carried on.
But then, right after that, I got a notification of a message request through Facebook. It was another “I think we might be related” message but from a different person. She said to respond if I was interested in talking. I said “Hi” back. But her following response blew me away – “I’m pretty sure you’re my half-sister.”
I’m not joking when I say I dropped the phone in my lap and covered my face with my hands in shock and surprise.
My heart was racing. Was this actually happening? We continued messaging, and I found out that the person who had messaged me through the DNA website was her brother. I logged back in, and sure enough, the connections were staring me in the face. Their mother was my birth mother. We actually were related.
Over the next few days, I continued to message her, and I also emailed my birth mother. We learned some things about each other and also the circumstances surrounding my birth and adoption. A few messages later, I found the courage to ask about my birth father. After days of silence on her part, I was worried that I had asked the question that would end our conversations with no response at all. However, I would continue to be surprised. About a week later, she responded. She had tracked him down, met with him, and let him know she had connected with me. Then, she passed along his email address to message that he would be happy for me to contact him.
It took me a while to send him an email. I wasn’t even sure what to say. I’m so glad I did, though. I found out that he had wanted to find me for quite a while but had never been able to. We emailed back and forth, learning a lot about each other. Although I have not met any of my maternal family members in person, I visited him just a few months later, in June 2018. All my nervousness melted away the instant I walked in his door and was greeted with a massive hug.
That December, the boys and I took a trip back so they could meet each other and so that I could meet more of the family, including aunts, uncles, and my sisters.
I HAVE SISTERS Y’ALL!
I have a super adorable niece and nephew too. We’re all family: one big, blended, accepting family.
We’ve spent holidays together, gone on vacation, and I even got to celebrate one of my sisters getting married. The most awkward part is that there hasn’t been much awkwardness! My adoptive mom is genuinely happy that I’ve been able to gain information and meet the family. Connecting with my biological family was never meant to replace anyone. It’s “in addition to” rather than “instead of.”
I certainly know that not every reunion story is like this. I don’t know if I’ll ever meet any of my maternal relatives, and I’m okay with that, although I still message the half-sister that first contacted me. As I mentioned, I made peace a long time ago with the fact that I might never know anything about my adoption or ever meet any biological relatives.
I also feel incredibly grateful that my family has grown so much these last few years. I look forward to more time spent together, learning more, and making new memories.