I came into this world on November 16, 1967, spent my first day on this earth with my mother and then never saw her again. I was given up for adoption. The story of my life was re-written in an instant. In July of 2018 I began searching for my birth parents. It has been a long emotional year, but I wouldn’t trade what I found for anything in the world.
If you’re doing the math, you have figured out that I am 52 years old. Gah! How does that even happen?! I had all but given up on ever finding my birth parents.
Then, in July of 2018, Indiana changed it’s law and allowed adult adoptee’s access to their original birth certificates from what were once “closed” adoptions. All I had to do was fill out a form requesting it and they would send it to me.
As long as neither one of my birth parents had put in a non disclosure request….
I waited, hoping and praying that that there wasn’t.
On December 30, 2018 my husband came in from getting the mail and handed me an envelope. It was from the state department of health.
Suddenly I couldn’t breathe. There in that envelope were the answers I had been waiting for. The names of my birth parents. I sat the envelope down and got up. My husband asked me what I was doing and I told him I needed a minute. I’m sure he thought I was crazy.
I had given up searching for my birth parents a long time ago and now suddenly, here I was, getting to ready to open Pandora’s box. Once I opened that envelope and read the contents, it could never be undone.
I slowly opened the envelope and took out the papers that were inside. I unfolded them and went straight to my original birth certificate. By this time my heart was racing and excitement overtook my fear.
There it was, the name of my birth mother and my name at birth. Jamie. Talk about a weird feeling. To realize you had a completely different name than the one you have been walking around with all your life.
I looked further down the form searching for another name, but my father’s name wasn’t listed. I only had half the information I needed to begin searching for my birth parents.
The search begins
Armed with a name, my husband and I took to the internet. What a wondrous thing the internet can be. We had a name, an address from back when I was born and we knew my parents had been college students in the town where they lived.
I went to Facebook and my husband went to the white pages. Not knowing where she lived now made it difficult on both platforms.
So we backtracked and started over. We started by searching high schools in the area where she lived. I was adopted through Catholic Charities and knew she was Catholic. I started looking for Catholic schools and found one.
Then I went back to Facebook to look and see if the school had a Facebook page. It did. I searched her name on the page…
And there on the screen was a picture of my mother. Pictured in front of her old high school. I was pretty sure it was her, but then doubt crept in. What if it wasn’t her. The time frame fit, the name fit…but what if.
All of this took a couple of hours. On the day before New Year’s Eve 2018. My husband is a pretty good sleuth and I guess I’m not too bad at it myself.
Now, knowing her full name, I searched for her profile and sent her a message.
Two days went by with no response. Did she see it? Was she going to respond? Maybe she really didn’t want to know me. My husband got antsy and messaged another family member. I put a post on Facebook not mentioning why I was looking for her.
The next morning I woke up to a text message from her son (my brother) asking me to take down my post, that she needed some time to process and that she would be in touch.
Since contacting her, we have met and gotten to know each other and that is where it ended. She didn’t give me any information about my father and so the search continued.
The search continues…
The next logical step in the search for my birth father was to take a DNA test. Maybe he had already done one along with all the other people that were so interested in their heritage.
I ordered my 23&Me kit and waited for it to arrive. Once I received it, I spit in the tube and sent it back…and waited.
My gosh…do you now how long two weeks is when you really want something? It is forrrrever!
Finally, I got my results. I had so hoped to open the DNA matches screen to see father next to someone’s name, but that didn’t happen. And all the matches were so overwhelming! I have a friend that I went to school with that is a search angel, so I enlisted her help to figure out who was on which side of the family.
She narrowed it down to 2 first cousins and a second cousin that she was sure were on my father’s side of the family. I sent them all messages in the 23&Me messenger and waited some more. By this time it was August and I had been searching for my birth parents for over a year.
Finally the search for my birth parents is complete…
My second cousin finally responded and I told him what I was looking for and asked if he could help me. He told me to give him a week or so to do some digging and he would get back to me. He wanted to do it right. I totally understood, this was a big bombshell to drop on someone.
Nearly two weeks later he finally got back to me. With a name. He told he had never met him, but that he was on Facebook and I could try contacting him there.
My husband and I went back to Facebook and typed in his name. Deep breath…I sent him a friend request. He accepted it right away.
Then my pushy husband (I wouldn’t have gotten this far if he wasn’t pushy, I really love that man!) said to send him a message. That hadn’t worked out so great with my birth mother. Would this be different? At least he accepted my friend request. So I began to type.
Me: Hi, my cousin Jason gave me your name.
Him: Oh yeah?
Me: Yes, he is your sister Karen’s grandson.
Him: Well, I have five sisters so tell me which one you belong to.
At this point I figured he thought I was trying to scam him, so I just laid it all out. I was done being considerate of the shock I was giving people. It hadn’t served me well, maybe the straight forward approach would be better.
Me: Were you in Terre Haute, IN in 1967?
Him: Yes, I was.
Me: I’m looking for my birth father, if you were in Terre Haute in 1967, you might be him.
Then I held my breath and waited for him to respond.
Him: Well, if your mom is (and he typed her name). Then probably so, and I would be very interested.
I hadn’t told him her name. It was him, I was typing with my father.
My heart started racing as I typed back.
Me: Yes, she is.
Then I told him he could call me if he wanted to and he did. I knew he was my dad as soon as I heard his voice. The connection was instant. Is it possible to love someone you have never met? Never talked to? I can tell you it is possible, because I did.
Isn’t that just crazy?! After 52 years I finally had all the pieces to the puzzle. It took over a year, but it was so worth it. The relationship my dad and I have built in just a few short months is magical. It’s a dream come true, for me.
Searching for my birth parents has been frustrating, I hit dead ends, I was disappointed, but I kept searching for the truth. I am so glad I didn’t give up! Dad and I are catching up on 52 years and making memories that will last a lifetime. Find out what he thought when he first heard from me.
I can’t wait to share more of our story with you, so stay tuned!
Are you an adult adoptee with a reunion story to tell? Comment below, I would love to hear your story!!