When I first became interested in knowing who my birth mom was, my birth father was like a fart in the wind: gone. It appears, in my encounters with other adoptees, that this is often the case. Adoptees have an unseen bond with their birth moms, just like every mom and child. Nobody can see it, but everyone involved can feel it. Like magnets attracting one another, mother and child feel a pull when they see each other for the first time–whether that meeting is when a child is born, or when a child finds his or her biological mother.
When I was searching for my birth mom, I would type in my birth father’s first name into a search engine, and then write, “New Jersey Sailing.” My non identifying sheet of information stated he liked boating and sailing. It also stated he was Irish. So, I would look up sailors with Irish last names. I reached out to a handful and only heard back from two. One man was sweet in his response, wishing me luck in my endeavors. The other man wrote me back a one liner with two words, extremely vulgar. I thought maybe because he was an extremely wealthy boater maybe he was nervous I was after his fortune. I debated about responding to his email. I decided I would, and I just wrote that I couldn’t care less about his fame and fortune. I just wanted to know my biological father and find my roots. Of course, he never responded, and after that experience, I put my, “Who’s Your Daddy” question up on a shelf.
After I found my birth mom and befriended a couple women who worked (or drank) with her, one of them sent me a photo via email. It was a photo taken in the early 1970s at the bar where Joanie worked up until her death on February 11, 1999. She was standing in a group of 4. There was my birth mom, the owner of the bar, and two regular bar patrons, who are still together today. I loved looking at the photo. I would pull the photo up on my computer often.
One day a couple weeks later, I was admiring how everyone in the photo looked genuinely happy (except Joanie who looked uncomfortable with a fake smile), and the man in the photo had my smile–exactly. The same curvature around the mouth, the eyes, the same dimples, the same smile lines! I almost fell out of my chair. How could I have looked and looked at that photo and not even had that thought enter my mind? Oh wait, maybe because Joanie had told the adoption agency my birth father was a guy named Richard. The man in the photo was not named Richard, and I had no reason to think she would’ve made up that name.
Then, as I discovered Joan’s identity through her coworkers and learned that she was a chronic alcoholic and Richard was actually just a short fling right out of high school, I started to question everything. I am glad I question what I find out and what I am told because through questioning, I have started to unlock the doors to truth–or so I hope. I strongly believe that the man in the photo is my biological father. He is Peruvian. I have always thought I was another unknown ethnicity, not just Polish and Irish. I never thought I was Irish at all. I have researched Peruvian women, and I resemble some of them. My height, at 5 foot 2, could be explained by Peruvian genes, as could my facial features and dark hair.
I keep asking myself, “What if I find out this man is my biological father?” Will it change anything? I do not have answer. I keep telling myself I just want to know for health reasons, but through this journey of discovery, I have discovered that I am one who wants to know my biological roots for more than “health reasons.” I want to know because I want that hole filled that I still feel inside me, the hole made by the questions surrounding who and what are the branches of my biological tree. I am hopeful that time is a gift, and in time, I will get the answers I seek.
Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Not sure what to do next? First, know that you are not alone. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to speak to one of our Options Counselors to get compassionate, nonjudgmental support. We are here to assist you in any way we can.