I always wanted to know who my birth mom was. But I had little information about her & had little experience with even knowing how to find someone you don’t know. So as a teenager getting familiar with the internet I googled and looked at any adoption registry page that I could find. I don’t remember the names of these sites but I remember scrolling pages and pages of these listings of people searching. I couldn’t believe I was trying to find my info on this “people classifieds” sort of site. The listings would say something like
“Birth mom looking for child placed in this hospital on this day and this year.”
Other sites would allow you to enter your birth date and I’d set there & hope that a search for that date would pop up. Rarely but sometimes my birthday was listed and I would get so excited, then I’d immediately be super let down when the date pulled up and they were looking for a boy not a girl or the hospital was in the wrong state etc..etc..
This kind of searching was longggg, and the hope I would naturally build up each time I logged into the page was exhausting mentally and emotionally. I remember I used to buzz downstairs to my notebook after searching, to write down the PAGE # that I was last on so that the next time I pulled it up I’d remember. Because mind you… the amount of pages possible to search was in the later hundreds & continually adding.
Some months I’d search more than others and then sometimes I’d go months and months without looking more than once. Sometimes I just needed a break from the let downs ya know? It always felt like it was the always impossible search. The scrolling was long & searching in this way often led to me believing that I would most likely never find her. But still a part of me always felt like I’d know her eventually. Those two mindsets contradicting each other created a never ending torture to myself.
My brother and I had always been told that when we were OF AGE (19) then we could submit a letter to Vital Records & Statistics Department of our state & IF our birth mother CHOSE to leave her information with the Adoption agency at the time of placing us then we’d receive her identity, or a way to find her. If she did not leave her information then it was likely that she did not wish for us to reach out to her.
That info always felt like the last glimmer of hope in ever getting to find her someday. No matter how many times I searched online, I’d never get too down about it because I felt that by the time we were of age to send that info in, then that is when we’d finally get our answers. I was just impatient and wanted to luck into finding her.
Well a few months after I turned 19 I got engaged and began planning my wedding to my favorite person. I was the happiest I’d ever been & I was living in all the bliss that comes when you are engaged and planning a wedding. Searching at that time wasn’t a top priority but of course it was still on my mind and still something I yearned to eventually do.
A few years after we got married I remember really wanting to search. I couldn’t help but be super grateful for the awesome life I was experiencing and I wanted my birth mom to be a part of it, or see some of it & I always hoped that she would want to as well.
So I spoke with my parents & figured out what I was supposed to do to send the request. They had the information of the social worker & how to contact the agency. I made a few phone calls, got the directions to follow, I wrote the check & I sent in the letter. When they gave me the instructions of how to go about this that they said it could take 2-3 weeks.
During that time the build up was INSANE. Every desire and emotion that I had carried with me all of these years of wanting to find her was building and building. While waiting for that letter I was extremely anxious but also very excited. I always felt like the beating in my heart and the yearning desire to know her was only as strong as it was because it was a mutual feeling for her as well, so yeah I was fairly confident that I’d be receiving her info.
I’ll never forget opening that envelope, it was the one time in my life I didn’t totally destroy an envelope trying to open it. Envelope opening is not my thing. I unfolded it, and this is what it said…
Before I made it to the bottom of the page there were tears streaming down my face. I knew this was a possible reply but I never thought it would be.
I’d never felt such all consuming sadness like this ever in my life before. I could not shake it, I was encompassed. I shared it with my husband but when family would ask if I’d heard back yet I’d say no and continued on like that for weeks.
I could not breathe when I thought of it and I could not say the words out loud. Saying it out loud would solidify the absolute r e j e c t i o n I felt.
I’d always suffered the feeling of being rejected, it wasn’t new. But this…. this kind of rejection was worse. It was deeper and 10x more excruciating than I had ever felt up to this point.
As an adoptee, and growing up you start out with this feeling of rejection. But the thing about my closed adoption is that while I was growing with that feeling, I was also pushing out of it at the same time, because I had HOPE that one day, she could squash that feeling within me by telling me she did want me & never wanted to place me. I knew I’d never believe it until it came from her. So getting this “no” stomped on that hope of ever getting to find her, but even more than that it c r u s h e d me to think of the line I’d always been told. This one- If she did not leave her information then it was likely that she did not wish for us to reach out to her.
Doubts and questions took over. Did she really NOT want us to ever find her? Was she really that “over” us at the time of placing us that she’d rather not leave her info for us to have? Was the thought of us coming into her life really that bad? Ohhhhh the emotions.
I played it off when I was finally was able to speak about it, but inside I was truly wrecked by this. It hurt, it stung, I would bounce back and forth from being disappointed and hurt to down right pissed off about it. My brother felt like “She isn’t interested, why keep trying.” Somewhere along the way I adopted some of that feeling too. Then I tried my best to get over it & move on but the fire to find her never fully burned out within me. It took awhile to actually entertain the idea of attempting to find her again. How long you might wonder? Years.. 5 to be exact.
I got that letter in 2013…. I was continually trying to overcome the pain from that letter which included my anger for the words “good luck” that salt in the wound at the end of that letter. Then in 2017 I started hearing about the website Ancestry.com & how Adoptees were starting to find their biological families through it. I still wasn’t to the point where I believed it or thought I’d try it. Until adoptees that I actually knew started finding theirs through it. That’s when I couldn’t stop thinking about trying it myself. My thinking led to randomly talking about it a lot and then in 2018 my husband pulled that trigger for me and ordered the kit. I think he knew how much I wanted to, but he also knew that the previous hurt still lingered in my heart enough to know that I couldn’t push that order button myself.
Man am I grateful he had the balls that I didn’t have. Because ordering that DNA kit changed everything. 5 years after my world being rocked in a negative way it would finally be rocked in a positive way.
When I found my birth mom & told her about my experience receiving that letter I was quite surprised by her response…..
” That makes me feel sooooo bad! It sucks that you had to go through that and have to deal with all of the negativity that went along with that letter. I know that we have kind of talked about this before, but I promise…….it was NEVER a situation of me not leaving any contact info intentionally. I truly had no idea that it was something that I could or should have done. If I did then I would have every single time I moved or change aliases! J I was told or at least understood that if you ever wanted to find me then it would be up to you to reach out and I should do nothing. I assumed with everything that I had to fill out that they had everything that they needed in case you did contact them. It sucks ALL the way around that it was never communicated clearly. If we could only go back in time……..it is what it is though……..time to stop dwelling on the past. What matters is where we are at now….right?!?!?! Thank you sooo much for being persistent!
That brought out so many emotions when I heard that she never even knew that it was an option to give her info and sure I was mad at the system that didn’t give either sides clear information or got lost in translation along the way. But she was right, it is what it is.
What I learned is that YES throughout this adopted ride and especially the searching portion of it, there are going to be setbacks and disappointments and moments of true pain. But I sure am glad that I never let those times rule out my initial desire to know her. I don’t know exactly what made keep trying but in doing so it got us here, and here is a pretty neat place to be.
If you’re going to or want to search then do it until you can’t anymore. And if you feel like you can’t anymore then give it time, heal from the setback and then try again! You never know what the follow through could turn into.
p.s. More about my search that led me to finding & reuniting with my birth mom coming soon.