I stumbled across this website in my search for obtaining my birth certificate and looking for information on my soap-opera-esque past. I believe I was adopted, but I really have minimal information.
I guess there isn't a cliff notes version of my story. I was raised on the East Coast of the USA by some elderly relatives. I was always told that my biological mother had passed away when I was 4 and my father passed me off to relatives. I was raised with someone who they called my biological brother, but we look absolutely nothing alike and he has always been cold and abusive towards me, too. (we're about a year and a half apart)
My relatives would say my father was just a drug addict, so he couldn't handle raising two kids alone. For some reason, he raised my brother, but he and I never had much contact. He was very aloof, standoffish, cold, and abusive the times we had contact. I never got an explanation of any of this...why he raised my brother but not me, etc. had questions, they just were never acknowledged. My father would occasionally visit, but I mostly never knew him. I was born in 1988, and my family was just...old school.
I had serious health issues from a very young age, and I was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder when I was around 8 years old. I was in the hospital for months. My whole family was just cold to me all around, even the people who raised me, with some moments that I cling to that are happier. They all were heavily abusive.
I have never seen my birth certificate, and my father always told me it burned in a fire. My brother, as far as I know, never has had issues with documentation or receiving a driver's license, and he's carried a driver's license in my home state since he was around 18, as well as owned houses and cars, taken care of my grandfather and father's estates, etc. I still cannot even get a state issued ID. The confusing part about the fire lie, is that clearly my brother has his documentation, and my father had his documentation, so...where was mine? The fire my father blamed the loss of my documentation on didn't reach any part of his house besides the kitchen, and it was one he started while high to attempt to collect insurance money (without success). I personally went into the house to search for pictures of my mom or documentation (I was around 12), since he lived nearby. I couldn't find anything, and I could see that the damage wasn't that extensive and limited to one area. I was hoping to come across something, since my father had temporarily fled and the firefighters let me go inside to look for some things that were mine from when I was younger. There was nothing of the sort, just pictures of him and my mom, and none of me.
As time went on, I had more and more questions and still no answers. Family members began to pass away, and it was almost like anyone related to my mom would not talk to me. My brother and father had extensive contact with her side of the family. I was the black sheep of the family from a young age, and ostracized as well. I have lived on my own since around age 15 when I ran away from home to escape the abuse.
Once I was an adult and could look them up on Facebook, I tried to contact some of my mom's relatives that my brother had added on Facebook. He and I rarely had contact, but I could look him up on Facebook and most things were public. Every time I messaged someone on that side of the family, they wouldn't respond, but constantly posted on my brother's Facebook.
I paid for, and I contacted a woman who had my mother listed on her family tree. I sent an initial email where I explained who I was, and just wanted to find someone who knew my mom since no one every talked about her when I was growing up. She initially wrote back saying she was sort of a cousin, and her mother was my mom's father's (maternal grandfather) second wife. I asked her if she knew who his first wife was, since that would be my maternal grandmother. She had no idea and said she was going to call up her mom and her dad for information. I gave out my phone number, and I never heard back from her. I e-mailed a couple of times with no response.
I have also tried to contact my maternal grandfather's second wife on Facebook myself, since my brother is not good with privacy and posts everything publicly. I could see them talking on his Facebook wall, and she never responded to my Friend's request or Facebook messages.
As time went on, struggling without access to my birth certificate got harder as state ID laws got more stringent. I attempted to hunt down my father for information, access to documentation, something. I got his phone number a few times at funerals when family members passed on, but talking to him about anything in my past was like pulling teeth. He just wouldn't answer and either walk away if in person or hang up on the phone. I tried setting up meetings with him to talk and he wouldn't do it.
My father passed away this summer, and I only found out that he had through someone I grew up with messaging me the information on Facebook. I had to use Facebook to try to contact my brother, we had one phone call where he made sure I knew, and my attempts at gathering information were not successful. He just hung up in the same way. I tried calling him back many times, but he just sent me to voicemail. I still am not totally sure how he died. My father was 51 years old.
The people that raised me died between 2015-2017. My dad's side of the family that I've known (paternal grandmother and grandfather) have all passed away as well. My brother has a ton of pictures and memories from childhood that I've never even seen, and the only reason I could see them was if he was making memorial posts about my father on Facebook.
I have never seen a picture of me as an infant, but they exist of my brother. The pictures of me that I've seen seem to pop up when I was around 2 years old.
In attempting to get my birth certificate, that has been ridiculously difficult. I found out as an adult that I was born in a different state than I was raised in. My social security number, however, is tied to the state I was raised in, leading me to believe I was adopted from my birth state and brought back to where my family settled while waiting for the new birth certificate in a new name or something similar. The amount of secrecy my family kept and took to the grave has led me to believe more is going on.
Unfortunately, now I am legally physically disabled from a rare disease and other conditions that physician suspect might have been present from birth. I am 32 years old now. I rely on social security benefits and I cannot afford a private investigator under any circumstances. I have mounting medical bills and out of pocket costs that are taking most of my finances, and since I was apparently on survivor's benefits as a child and reapplied when I was an adult, my income is $800 monthly. It's been impossible to access any information from someone who can dig into this kind of thing.
I'm hoping to eventually be able to afford a 23 and me, but so far, I have so many more pertinent financial needs. I was wondering if anyone who struggles financially found a free private investigator or could share tips in how they gathered information from a past shrouded in secrecy.
I do know the city, state, and county in which I was born and the family who raised me names, etc. I don't have much else. Since many people have had similar stories on this site it seems, I figured someone might have a clue into where I can dig into. I don't mind researching, I am just lost. Since I haven't been able to get a copy of my birth certificate after my ID lapsed [obtained when laws were less stringent], my birth state will not release it to me. They've given me so many different reasons on why they wouldn't release it even when I had a valid ID. People told me I had to appear in person with valid ID, and I couldn't afford to travel, and other reasons every time I called.
I am working with a case worker now to see if she can help out, since she deals with obtaining documentation, but I wanted to see if any other avenues were available. Thanks!