It’s taken me days to process that we finally found my birthmother. After nearly two years of trying to find her, we did it. I know her name, I’ve been in contact with her, and she is no longer a stranger to me. She wants to get to know me, and I want to get to know her. It’s all gone so well that it almost feels like a perfectly written storyline. It’s our storyline.
I’ve talked about my story in multiple posts, and how I opened my file and didn’t find too much information. Then we did Ancestry DNA and started finding second cousins. Finally, a first cousin showed up in the results–over a year after my DNA results initially were submitted. There was something about this first cousin’s name that just felt right to me, and it kind of scared me.
I messaged him on Ancestry, and he responded quickly with his phone number and email. It took me two months to work up the courage to reach out to him.
My gut feeling was right. That “first cousin” wasn’t a first cousin; he is my biological uncle.
Reaching Out to my “First Cousin”
On Saturday, January 5th of this year, I felt this strong feeling that it was the day I needed to reach out to this final name. I told myself it was a new year and time to be brave. My house was quiet, and I was in a good mental place. I sent him a quick email. I told him who I was and who I was looking for. I hit “send” and moved on with my day, thinking it could be another unanswered email from a biological cousin.
Eight hours later, I received a response.
“I found out your Mom is not one of my aunts actually: it’s my big sister…”
I was floored. In fact, I was shocked. I let out a yelp, and immediately yelling for Adam to come upstairs. Tears filled my eyes, as I experienced at least five recognizable emotions all at once: excitement, joy, relief, shock, anxiousness.
After scaring Adam, who couldn’t tell if I was happy or if someone had died, my next reaction was to call my mom and dad. Through all of my looking, they have always encouraged me and listened. They have wanted to hug and say “thank you” to my birthmother for twenty-eight years. Luckily, they were both walking to the car after seeing Dear Evan Hansen, and we were able to all talk on speakerphone as they drove home. Joy and shock lingered in all of our voices.
While I was speaking to my parents, I was simultaneously messaging my friend, Terra Cooper, who has helped me learn how to check California birth records in case we ever narrowed down our name list. She found my birthmother’s last name quickly, and we confirmed that a woman with the same name gave birth to a baby girl on December 20, 1990, in Los Angeles County. It was her. We found my real birthmother. There was no mistaking it.
Reaching Out & Talking to Her
I decided that I would text message her the next day after church. Little did I know, that before I worked up the nerve and texted her, she reached out to me on Instagram and messaged me. She responded immediately to my text, and I felt overcome (again) with so many different emotions. Throughout the entire afternoon, I found myself texting her and looking through her social media accounts. Grasping at any details that I could, as I got to know my birthmother. Every detail felt like a blessing.
Our designated call time came at 6 PM. I sat on my bed, said a prayer, and dialed her number. She picked up almost immediately. I heard her voice for the first time in my adult life, and it sounded comforting and familiar. Instant connection.
We talked for an a hour and a half after that. She let me ask her all the questions that I wanted. I felt nothing but joy, peace, and excitement during the conversation. Some things made me feel emotional and overwhelmed, but to be honest, adoption is a highly emotional thing.
It all happened so quickly. Less than twenty-four hours after emailing someone whom I thought was my cousin, I found myself talking to my birthmother–someone whom I had dreamed of speaking to my entire life.
I widened my definition of family on Sunday. While none of these new family members replace existing ones, I feel like I gained a small army of people to love and include in this life. While not every adoption reunion goes as well as mine, I can affirm that it is generally true and that people are not kidding when they say, “Adoption is about love.”
We have plans to meet within the next couple of months, but I know that when we do, I’ll be met with love, joy, and peace. I am so grateful.
Pictures taken by Devan Parkinson of @devanloves.