Openness in Adoption: A Daughter’s Story

Kenzie, feather

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.

One thought on “Openness in Adoption: A Daughter’s Story

  1. Ron Elder (your dad's cousin who lives up in Seattle) says:

    thank you for sharing your story. I have a long time friend who was also adopted and she (in her 50’s) needed to find out more about her birth family for health reasons. She did and found the experience helpful for understanding who she is, who she takes after in looks, family health concerns to watch out for in her own life etc. Her adoptive parents encouraged her to contact her birth parents and she did through a 3rd party. My friend is very glad she discovered that she has more family beyond her adoptive family. Cindy Elder


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