Thirty-four years ago, as an infant, I was taken home from the hospital by a family that was not my own. I was adopted by a couple who were unable to conceive children. I was raised in a loving environment with two sisters who were also adopted. I have known that I was adopted for as long as I can remember. Our parents had always told us that we were their chosen babies. I had a great childhood. Our mom stayed home to take care of us. I loved school. I was in Girl Scouts, and we participated in all of our church’s activities. My life always felt complete.
Sometimes, though, I would let my mind wander about my biological family. I had unanswered questions.
After I had children of my own, the need to know about my past grew. The only information I had been given was a vague physical description of my biological parents and what they did for a living. The adoption papers listed an older half sister from a previous marriage. I was pretty certain that searching with what little info I had would be hopeless.
I put my personal information on every adoption registry website I could find, just in case someone was looking for me. I just wanted to see pictures of them and find out how their lives had turned out. I worried that any searching I did would be an intrusion. I didn’t want to disrupt anyone’s life just to satisfy my curiosity. I pushed searching out of my mind, and the years passed by.
One day a coworker told me her reunion story. It started with an Ancestry DNA test, and ended with the parties choosing to end communication. I found myself asking her lots of questions about the process. I mistakenly thought that an immediate family member would have to have tested in order to get a match. That is not the case. She explained that you can get distant family matches, and then you build your family tree based on public records. She has no regrets and says the experience was worth it not to have to wonder anymore. Through speaking to her family, she even found a diagnosis for a minor medical condition she has.
A few months later, I ordered my Ancestry DNA kit. I joined a couple of Facebook pages dedicated to DNA and genealogy so I could learn how it all worked while I waited for my results to come in.
Five weeks later I got the email I had been waiting for. The results showed 310 matches with a relationship of a 3rd cousin or closer. I had read enough to know that the results were good, but I felt a little overwhelmed. I didn’t quite know where to start. I reached out on one of the DNA Facebook pages, and to my surprise a search angel sent me a message offering her skills. Within 24 hours, we had found my biological family. We found my birth mom, two full sisters, and two half sisters. Sadly, my birth father had died just three days earlier. I often think about what type of relationship I would have had with him. I wish he had gotten to meet my boys, his only grandsons.
Don’t wait. Life is too short. Tomorrow is not promised. If you are adopted and you want to know where you came from, you have that right. It took me years to realize that. You absolutely have the right to search. While there are some biological families that do not wish to communicate, there are many others that do. You have nothing to lose. Knowledge gives you the power to stop spending all that time wondering about your history. Set yourself free. It is your identity. Go get it. DNA testing is not the miracle answer for all adoptees, but it is an invaluable tool. At the very least, it will provide a breakdown of your ethnicity. Stop dragging your feet and making excuses. A few days could make all the difference.