Dear Mom and Dad,

I love you more than words could ever say. I am thankful and grateful for the life you gave me. It must take a lot to raise another person’s child as your own. I never, not even for one second, felt as though I didn’t belong to you. You were, are, and always will be my mom and dad. While I was growing up, the subject of my biological parents came up more than once. I always told you that I didn’t have any interest in finding them. I was telling the absolute truth.

After Jordan was born, I was told over and over again how much he looked like his daddy. I heard it from family, from friends, from total strangers. I wanted so much for someone to look like me. Over the next few years I allowed myself to wonder where I had come from. As a mother, I worried about the health of my child. What if some chronic illness had come about in the family since I was born. Was there something I needed to be watching for, testing for? What if by some freak chance he needed a donor match from someone on my biological side? I would never forgive myself if something like that came up and I wasn’t prepared.

I thought about how many hours I have spent over the last eight years thinking about this. I decided it was time.

My thoughts ran wild about what might have become of my family. Certainly their lives had changed over the last 30 years. Would it be possible to find them and see pictures without making contact? I didn’t need to talk to them. Seeing would be enough. I guessed my sheer curiosity was not enough. Who was I to poke around and risk disrupting their lives?

A few years later, I found my sister’s biological family. At first she spoke to a sibling who looked just like her, and then later, her parents. While not entirely a positive experience, I saw her more at peace with who she was. I went on to have my second child, Leland. While still looking a great deal like his dad, he also looked like me. So who did I look like? I began to wonder quite often about my biological family. I knew I had a half sister who was four years older than me. Late one sleepless night I rummaged  through yearbooks online for girls who looked like me in her graduating class. I even went as far as to message one of them. To my surprise I was very disappointed when it turned out not to be her.

I reflected on a conversation I had with a friend about her reunion using Ancestry DNA. While there were some good aspects of her reunion, it was not a complete success. I asked her a single question that got stuck in my head.

“If you had it to do over again, knowing it would end this way, would you?” I asked.

She answered, “Absolutely, I don’t have to spend my time wondering anymore.”

I thought about how many hours I have spent over the last eight years thinking about this. I decided it was time.

I’m sorry there was no way to spare you from this. It was not done to you, but for me. Please don’t make me feel guilty. It is not a rejection or replacement, but an addition. Mom, I knew how you felt by the way you never said, but for the tension in the air when it was brought up that a reunion would break your heart. I am so sorry. I don’t know how it would feel to be in your shoes. It was not meant as a betrayal, although it probably feels that way. It doesn’t undo all of the years that we spent together. It doesn’t change the way I see you. Dad, I don’t know what you are thinking. You were always harder to read. I’m sure you brush it off like it’s not a big deal, but if it hurt you, I am sorry. I don’t expect you to understand. I just ask that you guys don’t hold it against me.

Forever Your Daughter,

Ashley