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.

My story.

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:Ā That one,Ā they would say, and count their bills over to the nice nurse with the silly hat. That isn’t the way it happened, apparently.

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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.

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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.

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45 thoughts on “How I found my birth family: Part One

  1. Wow, wow, wow. Thank you so much for writing this… I will be reading along with all the developments as you share.

  2. Looking forward to reading all of the story. Anyone ever tell you you’re a pretty good writer too? šŸ™‚

  3. I can’t wait for the next part – it’s fascinating, Alex! And more power to you for putting it down ‘on paper’ (so to speak!)

    1. Thanks, Marianne! Crazy how far this has come since you and I first “met”. šŸ™‚

  4. I’ve been sitting at the edge of my seat since you shared you had begun the journey of travelling back in time and piecing together this pre-and-parallel life of your biological family. I look forward to reading more as you weave your story into a tangible record of your history. xo

  5. “Their chosen daughter.” Love it. I can’t wait to read more, Alex, and I’m SO happy you are in a place where you feel good sharing this! <3

  6. You right goodly. šŸ™‚

    In my personal life, I don’t know a single adopted person who wanted to find their birth parents. Your story is very interesting to me & I look forward to reading more about, you gutsy kid you!

  7. I love the honesty, the vulnerability and the straight-forwardness of your writing, Alex – can’t wait to follow your journey! xo

  8. Thank for allowing us to share this journey of self-rediscovery with you, Alex. I hope this brings peace and happiness.

  9. Can’t wait to read more….thank you so much for sharing your story with us. šŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, D. I don’t think it’s brave, I just think it’s something others should hear, too. šŸ™‚

  10. Beautifully written. What a story. And it’s only the beginning. Can’t wait to read more! PS What a cute wee baby you were. šŸ™‚

  11. I don’t know what to say… how you must feel… wow, just wow. You’re brave for sharing your story with us – thank you.

  12. I look forward to reading more! It has been fascinating to follow it a bit on Twitter. My Aunt, I believe, has a very similar story to yours that she is also in the midst of discovering.

  13. When I was three, my mom had a baby girl that she gave up for adoption. I never knew about her until I was 35 and she didn’t know about me either. We met literally three weeks after we began emailing and we clicked. We are close to this day, 13 years later.

    Can’t wait to hear how YOUR story unfolds! :o)


    1. Oh wow, Monica, that’s a whopper of a revelation. How did you take that news? Why was she given up? Amazing that you’re close with her, what a gift.

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