After my post last week, I got some questions and comments about my adoption story, so I thought I'd share some more. I'm going to break it up into a couple posts since the story can be sort of long. Here's part one:
My mom has always told me that she remembers me being 3 years old, stopping her in the middle of the hallway on her way to get dressed from a shower and telling her I wanted to meet my birth mom. I guess it's safe to say it's something I've always thought about. Growing up, thoughts of meeting them came and went, but never stuck with me till I was about 16. I'd always wondered what they were like, what they were doing, where they lived, if they had other kids. I just wondered. Secretly, I hoped that my birth mom had married someone famous so I could meet them. (the things you think of at 16) I was proud of being adopted, I loved my family more than anything, but for me I still longed for that closure and those answers.
Adoptions are different for everyone. Mine happened to be a closed adoption through the state of New York. So when I got serious about wanting to find my birth parents, I searched the state's website and filled out the form to receive more information and sent it in. In my mind, I imagined that in a few days, I'd have the answers I was looking for. Well months later, I still didn't have those answers. Did the paperwork get lost? Did I not send it to the right place? There was nowhere to call and check on the status, I just had to wait. It took nearly two years before I heard anything, and by that time I had all but forgotten about that paperwork. When I got the mail that day and saw a letter from New York state with my name on it, I was nervous. What would this say? How would I feel once I had these answers? This is what I had waited for and I was ready to finally have some answers. So I opened it.
And you know what it said? My parents were caucasian. That's it. Every other field was blank and I had just waited nearly two years to find out information that had been pretty clear to me all along. I was crushed. This had been the only avenue that seemed worthwhile or useful to go down to find them, and I thought this letter was going to have my answers, and it had nothing. After receiving that mail, I stopped looking for a while. I was in college and busy dating my later husband and I was busy. My questions still remained, and the longing to know more was there, but after that letdown, I was ready to take a break for a while.
About a year later, we had just gotten engaged and getting answers to my questions about my family history and my birth parents was something I decided was really important to me before we got married, so I started searching again. We spent an afternoon going through court documents and reading through all the information we had. Pages and pages of legal wording, searching for anything with a name, an address, or personal information. I was lucky in that those documents provided me both my birth parent's names (at least my mother's maiden name) and their addresses at the time of the adoption. From that, I started looking online. I tried every search engine and website I could think of. I looked in the online yellow pages, Facebook, Myspace (back when that was actually popular), and google. I typed an open letter on an adoption forum talking about my story in the hopes that one of them would see it and know it was me. I tried everything. And then I found something.
Classmates.com. I'm not sure why I looked there, but it was one of the websites that came up in my search, and I figured it was worth a try. I typed in her name, hit return and someone matching her came up. Was it her? It says she graduated around the time I thought she would have, from the area I would have guessed, and it's the maiden name I have. So I thought about it for a couple days and I sent her a letter. And then I checked back, every single day. But each time it said the same thing, unopened. Maybe she made the account and never signed back on, or maybe it wasn't her. This was the second time I thought I had some answers, and was left with nothing. I felt more discouraged that I had the first time. Was I ever going to find them?
After that, I continued to type their names in search engines every so often. I figured maybe she'd log back on one day to her classmates account and see my letter, or maybe one of them would make a Facebook account and I'd find them. And then, one day when I typed in his name on all the search engines I had tried before, a picture popped up on Facebook. Same name, same high school, and similarities to myself that were undeniable. I'd typed in his name so many times before and got nothing, and here he potentially was, just a click away. . . .
Come back on Friday for Part 2 and to find out if that was really him.