I was adopted at birth by a family who was very familiar with adoption. Everyone on my mother’s side was adopted, and my cousin on my father’s side was adopted as well. Even though my parents had two children that they birthed, they still had enough room for me.

It may sound strange when I say that all my years I’ve  known that I don’t belong. It’s not that I felt loved differently– it’s just that I have a different taste in things. It’s like there is some genetic blueprint ingrained into my brain of likes and behaviors that are different from the rest of my family.

My parents never kept my adoption secret; they sat me down and told me I was adopted when I was in 4th grade. I remember crying, not because I was sad, but because I was happy that everything finally clicked. I knew instinctively that I didn’t originally belong to this family, but that never changed the fact that I loved them as my family– because they are my family.

Then, when I was eleven, I was in a very bad situation, and I became pregnant. Of course, a twelve-year-old can’t raise a child, so I placed my daughter for adoption. I learned quickly how devastating it must have been for my birth mother to place me for adoption. I learned first-hand how much love a birth mother really has for her child. Trust me, it hurts. I was supposed to have an open adoption with my daughter, but her parents got scared and cut me off after two years. I understood, but I wished they knew how pictures of my daughter gave me relief and let me know that she was okay.

My mother had always encouraged me to find my birth mother, but I was too scared. What if she had remarried and had children? I couldn’t disrupt her life. Time went by, and I became pregnant with my second son. I really wanted to know more about my family history, so one of my friends went online and wrote a letter to my birth mother on my behalf. We got no response. Several months later, on my birthday, I received a large bouquet of flowers with a card signed, “love, Pauline, your birth mother.” On New Years Day, the phone rang and my husband answered it. He just looked at me and said, “I think you better take this.”

It was my birth mother.  She couldn’t stop crying. Finally I asked if I could go over to her place for a visit. As it turned out, she never left the home where she had me, she never married, and she never had more children. She always knew I would come back.  It was so exciting to meet someone who was really “like me.”  We look and act so much alike!

I decided then that I didn’t want my daughter to wait as long as I did, so I wrote her parents a letter, asking for permission to contact her. Later that week the phone rang again, and just like before, my husband answered and said, “I think you better take this.” It was my daughter, and the first words I heard were, “Hello, Mom.”

Within nine months, I found my birth mother and the child I placed. I really can’t have it any better! I have a great relationship with both of them. My birth mom lives across town, so we get together and talk all the time; my daughter lives just one hour away. The thing that is really great for me is that my boys are growing up knowing their biological grandmother and sister. We are all one big extended family.