Every child’s dream is to have a loving mother and father, parents who will cherish and provide everything a child needs. Most importantly, children dream of parents who will be there for them through every struggle and every success in their lives.

I was adopted from Ica, Peru over seventeen years ago. My adoptive parents brought me to the United States for a better life. They are the best parents anyone could ever imagine. They treated me with the same love and compassion they showed my sister, Rachel. I was raised to show respect, to be well-mannered, and to think before I speak. Throughout my life, my parents would say, “Your mother gave you up for adoption because she loves you so much. She put your happiness before her own.” I never really thought about this until I turned fourteen and my parents first showed me a picture of my birthmother. Not only was I crying from happiness to finally see my mother, but I quickly noticed another person in the photograph.

Sitting on my mother’s lap was my older brother, Johan. My mind went crazy with questions and confusion. I never knew I had a brother, let alone an older brother. For some reason, seeing the photo brought on a secret, but heavy, depression. I kept both my adoption and my depression hidden, and I didn’t even talk to my adoptive parents about my feelings.

When my family moved during my freshman year of high school, it was a fresh start. Putting my troubles aside, I concentrated on making friends. I walked the hallways as Trouble-free and Happy Logan, which, for me, was tough. Keeping my feelings to myself was the hardest challenge I had ever faced. My questions always consumed my mind. What is my mother like now? Is my brother safe? Does he know he has a brother? Are they even alive? I wanted my answers and would have done anything for them. My heart was a jigsaw puzzle and it was missing the biggest piece.

Then I met someone who became one of my closest friends and my confidante. I began to confide in her. She knew I was adopted from Peru, but was unaware of my depression and questions. Then one day, I couldn’t fight my emotions anymore, so I told her literally everything on my mind. To tell someone something you have never confessed to anyone before is not only hard, but scary. When I was done explaining, I stopped to think. The relief was an amazing feeling. I remember her asking, “Logan, how can you walk around and act like nothing is wrong?” My only response was, “I don’t know, I just do.” The relief of having told someone how I was feeling seemed to take away the heaviness and the sorrow, but the urgent questions remained. To tell the truth, I was sure I would never discover the answers. I waited for what seemed like forever. By my junior year, my questions were finally answered.

My parents had been working with a man named Felipe for a year to locate my birthmother. Once he had found her, he contacted her, met with her, and took photos of their meeting. All of this transpired on a hot and long July fourth. I had been working, and my shift was full of anxious excitement to hurry and get home so I could send a message to the email address Felipe had provided us with. Once I was home, I sat down at my computer. My palms were sweaty, I shook from being so nervous, and I couldn’t believe that this was finally happening. I sat and waited, which again seemed like forever. Soon, a message appeared on the screen. This was it, my family. My heart was filled with the peace I thought I would never find.

The past sixteen years of confusion and unanswered questions were solved with a single email. “Hola hijo, mi amor. Te amo.” My mom said, “Hello son, my love. I love you.” It was such a simple email which said so much. I started to cry tears of joy and relief. The only thing I could say back was something I wanted to say for a long time, “Hello Mom, I love you too.” We have been in contact with each other for over a year now. I discovered my older brother Johan is nineteen and was at the top of his class. My mom also told me she had another son, my half-brother Eddu, who was only five years old. I couldn’t believe it, a little brother.

My feelings have changed so much in the past three years. For once I feel fulfilled and content knowing that my family is just an email away. The emptiness I once felt is gone and replaced with peace that my mother, Lucy, filled with a single message. I am looking forward to meeting my birth family in person. My family is planning to travel to Lima, Peru next summer. Meeting my birth family in person will just be the beginning of getting to know them and sharing our lives. Even though we haven’t met in person yet, that missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle of my heart has returned, and I feel whole.