Growing up I always knew that I was adopted. I don’t have a dramatic story of when I “found out” like most people I speak to think I have… or maybe hope I have. Everyone seems to like to hear a good story. I, however, always knew I had a birth Mother and Father who received annual letters and pictures from my parents, and sometimes, I would get things in return, i.e. Birthday Cards and Christmas Ornaments. I also knew I had several half brothers and sisters, from both sides.
When I was nine my parents sat me down to tell me they had been contacted by a half sister on my birth fathers side. She, along with her brother and two other sisters, wanted to meet me! I don’t remember my initial reaction but I do remember being given time to think about it and knowing that if I were to meet them that it would be on my own terms.
When I made the decision to meet them I had one request, that I bring along my closest friend, the only friend I had who knew I was adopted. I remember the visit occurred just after my 3rd grade school year ended…I even remember what I was wearing! I was nervous and had no idea what to expect. We met at a park and I was overwhelmed at how many people were there; 4 adult siblings and 7 nieces and nephews. I am a very shy person so it took me a while to warm up – but when I did I was “showing off” for the crowd. I had everyone’s attention and what 9 year old doesn’t want that!
At this meeting I was given a small photo album that my sibling’s mother made for me; she was not my birth mother. The album was full of pictures of my siblings at various stages of their lives. I remember looking at a picture of one of my sisters and for the first time seeing a family resemblance; my eyes, my smile, my hair! I didn’t realize it at the time but I know now how significant that was, this is where I came from.
In the years to follow I have been involved in the lives of these half siblings. I have been to birthday parties, Christmas get-togethers, weddings, funerals and I have even met my birth father. I now have 10 nieces and nephews and twin great-nephews! It’s been a wonderful journey and this biological connection means more and more to me as I get older. I am also grateful to my parents for allowing this openness to occur, knowing the decision could not have been an easy one.