How I found my birth family: Part One
My story starts 38 years ago. I was born to a couple people who decided that for reasons known only to them, they were unable to care for me. Well, technically, I was only created by them, I wasn’t really born to them. I was immediately taken to the Children’s Aid Society as a ward available for adoption.
From birth I was placed in the care of a foster family (I have no details about that time) for approximately eight weeks, during which time a lovely young couple had all fingers and toes crossed, waiting for me. My parents. This is, I suppose, their story, too.
There were meetings and evaluations, interviews and inspections, and finally my parents met me. As a child I pictured my parents wandering through a brightly-lit nursery, gazing over bundled, squirming infants, pointing to me: That one, they would say, and count their bills over to the nice nurse with the silly hat. That isn’t the way it happened, apparently.
We never had the talk. I wasn’t a teenager staring slack-jawed, discovering I had been adopted and these people who raised me were, gasp, not my “real” parents. My parents have always been my parents, just as I’ve always known that I was born from another woman’s body.
A social worker painted the picture of my biological family so that one day, my parents could tell me about these mysterious people who brought me into the world. Over several meetings, the social worker created my story. They were practically children themselves: just young teens from Newfoundland (coincidentally where my mother was born, too). Her, a Protestant, and him a Jew. A sort of Romeo-and-Juliet-type of love, I suppose. So romantic! She was sent away to have The Baby, and so, here I was, a darling, fat-fisted ginger baby, waiting for a forever home.
There were no other details, really. No health concerns. Baby was quite small at birth. Born at full term. Rather prone to crying. Feeding cereal helps stop said crying.
For years, the details didn’t matter to me at all. I thought of my biological parents in abstract, unable to picture anyone else being related to me. Imagine a different set of parents? How absurd! Though whose eyes were these? Whose feet? What parts nature and which parts nurture? When kids picked on me, I’d sit back, smirking and say, I was chosen, you fools. Your parents just got stuck with you. I was chosen.
One day, when I was just married and expecting our first child, I thought I might like to have a history of where I began, so I contacted the Children’s Aid Society for something called my “Non-Identifying Information” file. This would include anything, well, non-identifying about my birth parents, as noted by social workers from the Society. It took more than 18 months for these files to make it from the micro-fiche in the basement of the CAS office to my home, and nothing could prepare me for what I read. As an adoptee from a closed adoption, it’s quite normal to not have any information about one’s biological history. Cases were closed and information was locked-down for decades, until recent legislation decreed that we adoptees deserve to know our genetic history, too. So we rely on the information kind case workers deem of interest to share.
I wasn’t the mistake of two young teenagers, but rather the product of a fairly long-term relationship by people in their mid-twenties. They were not from Newfoundland, but from Ontario. And I was not the first baby. Nor the second. I wasn’t even the third. There had been two boys given up before me (by other fathers) and a full sister also given up. As someone who had grown up an only child, this information was shocking, exciting, devastating, and motivating. This spawned an interest in me that I’d never expected and it started a journey that has absolutely changed my life.
I’d like to share my journey with you. I’d like to tell you how I came to discover my roots, and track down my birth family, and I’d also like you to know what that means for me as an adult adoptee. I apologize that it will take me awhile. My story started 38 years ago, but it’s far from over and every day is filled with new discoveries about myself, my motivations, my hopes and dreams.
Thank you for reading, and participating in my story.