Student: Bridget Connors
Mentor: Jessica Pollina (Heaney)
Domains: English & Learning and Helping Services
Faculty Grader: Heather D’Agostino
My adoption. I am going into detail about my story and interview others about how they have dealt with their feelings towards the experience of adoption. I will be discussing my emotional rollercoaster of trying to decide whether or not I should go on a quest to find and meet my birthmother. I have written a memoir that incorporates the theme of “Should I go in search of my birthmother?” through “My Story.” There was a use of many resources of people close to me and people I have become close with, to construct an emotional story that will bring you along the journey of what goes on in the mind of an adopted person.
My Journey into One Piece of Writing:
This image describes the final product of the effort put into research and motivation to describe my emotional roller coaster.
Key Components to the Process:
Official PowerPoint Presentation:
The Official “A Memoir of a Journey”:
A Memoir of a Journey
By: Bridget Connors
Should I go in search of my birthmother? This question has haunted me since I was old enough to understand that I was adopted. My name is Bridget Connors and I am a thankful adoptee who is on a search to find who I am. I am on a journey, with the help of my parents and various interviewees, to discover if I’m emotionally ready to meet my birthmother. This is a big decision. When I was young I dreamed about what it would be like to meet my birthmother. I would be sitting down with my back turned to my parents, they would tell me to turn. I would turn around and my birthparents would embrace me with the warmest hug. That’s just one of my desires out of many that mean a lot to me. My birthday wish every year is to have my birthmother show up at the front door of my house. But what if this experience is something that turns out bad? Before I was eighteen, I feared that I wouldn’t be able to meet her in my life. One of the biggest restrictions that I had was with my age, affecting my emotions. Am I emotionally ready for this step? I am an eighteen-year-old young lady in search of what I want out of my first years of adulthood.
My adoption story began when a man and a woman fell in love. For ten years, they wanted to have a child of their own and decided to adopt a child to add to their family. To start investigating the process of adoption, they bought a book on adoption, which was beyond helpful because it had the details that clarified the process of adoption. Next, they turned to a way to communicate with others, a newspaper ad. My mom and dad created advertisements to publish within the most popular newspapers to let people know that they were open to talking to a family who wanted to put their child up for adoption. They contacted the phone company to install an 800 number for the people who were putting their children up for adoption. They believed if they placed an ad for adoption, the process would be faster and there would be a higher chance of finding someone.
My mom and dad felt they had no time to waste. My mom contacted various organizations, friends, doctors, and relatives. One of the organizations, the Catholic charities, stated there was a five-year minimum wait for an infant. They felt time seemed to be going slowly, so they contacted an adoption lawyer, who explained that joining an adoption agency would help speed up the process by giving more structure and organization to this search. This support allowed them to relax more and eased the pressure on them. My mom and dad were assigned an amazing social worker within this agency which kept them positive during this long process.
One day, my mom received a call from the adoption agency and was told that there was a birthmother who was interested in meeting them. The birthmother liked their photo album and letter that my mom had written about the kind of people my mom and dad were, along with their own families. Within the photo album, there was a timeline of photos that showed what happened throughout my mom and dad’s life. The birthmother wanted to meet my mom and dad as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the first meeting was cancelled due to a bad snowstorm. After waiting for such a long time, having the first meeting cancelled seemed like a real tease to my mom and dad.
A few weeks passed, then they had a chance to meet. What was comical this time was that it snowed at this meeting as well, but my parents and my birthmother didn’t let anything stop them that time. During the meeting, my mom and dad found out from my birthmother that my name was Crystal and I was not even a year old yet. I had hazel eyes and some little strands of red hair but no teeth. Everyone was nervous but no one wanted to show it. During the meeting my mom assured my birthmother that she would be a stay-at-home- mom and always love me. When the meeting ended, my mom and dad found out that my birthmother had filled out the paper work to give me to my birthmother’s dream couple.
My parents were surprised by how fast this was happening! As soon as my birthmother signed off on the papers, everything fell into place. My mom was supposed to bring a personal item to the first meeting, as a gift. Adoption agencies encourage this as a tangible memory token, since my birthmother was giving up her first child. My mom felt sad for my birthmother because she had to give up her daughter she loved. My mom felt that she could not give my birthmother a gift that would be as valuable as a beautiful, baby girl. My mom was told that she should send an item that she cherished. My mom chose a necklace that she wore for her parent’s twenty-fifth wedding anniversary celebration. This necklace had been her favorite ever since she was nineteen years old. The necklace was made up of fourteen-carat gold that was in a shape of a heart, not a perfect one though. The heart was a set of garnets, creating a unique design. Even though my mom gave my birthmother her favorite necklace, nothing could compare to what my birthmother gave my mom. There wasn’t anything else to do, but wait.
The papers were signed and I was brought to a boarding house because the papers needed to be finalized. I stayed with my boarding mother, father, and their large family. The children wouldn’t leave me alone, because all of the kids fell in love with me very quickly. Throughout this time, the adoption agency completed the paper work that had to be done. We were one step closer to becoming a complete Connors family.
That one step closer seemed like a big jump to the actual day when I would be with my new parents. The adoption agency called the Connors family and told them I was ready to be picked up, but the pick up date was postponed because my boarding parents thought that I was ill. The boarding parents and the people at the adoption agency told them that they had to wait until they made sure that I was healthy.
My mom and dad were speechless when they heard that they could pick me up, but there was one more problem. I didn’t have a room yet because the adoption agency told them not to make a room, just in case they didn’t receive me. My mom cancelled the cruise they had planned and my dad went to buy new things for me! My dad painted the room a simple color, and my mom picked out the furniture, such as a crib, a dresser and other typical accessories that were needed for an infant. In a week, they put together the safest little nursery for my mom and dad’s innocent little me.
It was finally time for me to be brought home to the Connors family. My mom and dad drove to Hauppauge where they waited an excruciatingly long in the lonesome waiting area. My mom and dad could hear me crying in the other area. They would never forget the day when they saw me in my boarding mother’s arms, looking so innocent and beautiful. That quickly changed when I looked at my mom and dad and my little face turned red and I started crying again! As my boarding mother handed me to the ecstatic couple, she whispered to them, “She needs a lot of attention.” My mom and dad looked at each other and realized that would never be a problem.
As we drove away, my mom sat in the back to spend time with me and to make sure I stayed safe. I slept the whole way home. Before heading home, my mom wanted to stop and get me a hat from Macy’s, because it was wintertime and I still had a bit of a cold. I awoke and began to stare right at my dad. This went on for a couple of minutes, but then I started crying hysterically again! My dad was frightened because he wasn’t sure what to do. My mom and dad both realized later on that I was crying because I was hungry. When we arrived home, my mom went straight to the phone to make a doctor’s appointment, while I lay with my new, soft hat on.
To my parent’s surprise, the doctor lived on our street. The doctor knew that my mom and dad did not have children and was surprised to see them with me; he was thrilled for my new parents and overjoyed to meet me. He treated me and gave my mom and dad instructions on how to take care of me. My loving parents kept me in the basinet right next to their bed until I recovered.
The next day, my dad’s side of the family came over to see me, the new addition to the Connors family! Every person wanted to spend as much time as they could with little me. When my dad’s brother, Pat, saw me for the first time, he told my dad that he had won the lottery. My mom and dad couldn’t have been more pleased and thankful to hear that. The following day, my mom’s parents and mutual friends came over to see me. They all reacted the same way as soon as they saw me with comments such as, “Wow, she’s beautiful.” My family’s immediate reaction was to hold me tight! My mom and dad never got a chance to hold me because I was being passed around to everyone. At this point, they finally felt as if nothing could go wrong.
Before I came along, my mom and dad experienced emptiness and sadness throughout the ten years they were married. Even though the whole process took about two years to finally receive a baby, they were thrilled with the results. Having me be official in the Connors family meant that there would be a type of love between all of us and it would be never be forgotten. My parents changed my name from Crystal to Bridget Catherine Connors, making me officially their child.
I now know the general outcome of how I got to where I am now, but that doesn’t decrease the personal struggles I faced when I found out that I was adopted. When I was four or five, and able to understand, my parents would occasionally bring up the word “adoption”. I had no idea what it meant, but they would describe it to me in small steps. At that age, all I could understand was that they were my parents. When I got to the age of seven, I started to understand what adoption was. We were living in the little town of East Quogue, and they sat me down in the living room and reminded me again of being adopted. It was not like the other times though. This time around I had a lot more questions to ask, and even today I still do because I’m still trying to figure out who I am. My reaction when I found out I was adopted was shock, confusion, and anger. Why would she give away her first daughter, the one that she said she “loved”? I wanted to find out who this lady was and how she was my REAL mom.
When I was in third grade, people found out I was adopted because I shared everything that my parents told me. I enjoyed the attention from everyone. At that age, my classmates and I shared all personal information, serious or not. One of the hardest obstacles that I dealt with was getting through the times when I was made fun of for it or got strange looks. I remember one time when I was sitting in the same room as the “popular” girls and they would turn around and smile. When I would look up, they would be whispering and laughing, while looking at me. Also, people asked questions that I couldn’t answer such as, “Do you want to meet her,” “Are you mad at her,” “Do you look like her?” Today as a senior in high school, I still get the shocked and surprised faces when people find out that I am adopted. I don’t know if those facial expressions are meant in a good way or bad way. When I was in third grade, it did not occur to me that it was a bad thing. It occurred to me that I was different, and I embraced that when I got to sixth grade because my friends liked me for who I was.
As I moved into middle school, stress started to develop because I was a member of the varsity tennis team and pressured by schoolwork. The pressures became overwhelming. When I became overwhelmed, I felt hurt for being adopted. My adoption is still difficult to accept because of the information that I lack.
For some people who deal with this, adoption can be a sensitive topic. Others are excited to talk about it and want to share every little detail that they went through. Finding information about birthparents is an exciting experience to have if there is information on where they live or who’s within their family now. However, I have felt very differently. I felt as if I had done something wrong when I was developing into a little young lady. What I realize now is that I did not do anything wrong. My adoption was the result of what my birthparents felt at the time.
It is upsetting when I am sick or I have to go to the doctor for something and the doctor or an assistant asks, “Is there history of anyone in the family that has this disease or this problem?” I was upstairs working in my dad’s office on my Senior Project during the weekend, and I went downstairs to ask my mom about some situations when I sick and had to go to the doctor. As I was walking up the stairs, she told me that my biological grandfather had heart disease. I became quickly scared. There is a lot my mom, my dad, and I don’t know about my biological family because mine was a closed adoption. In a closed adoption, no personal information can be given to the parents or children and there can be no contact until after the age of eighteen, if the birth parents accept. The other option is an open adoption, where the families can meet on a regular basis and the children can be exposed to their birth parents.
All I was allowed to know about my birthmother was her name. What I have found out about her from my parents is that she was a college student when she had me and that she loved me very much. I also have a picture of her, sitting with my adoptive parents. It’s very surprising to see how much I look like her! I do not know a lot of information about my birthfather because my adoptive parents did not get a lot of information about him. We know that he was blonde haired, blue eyed, and very athletic. Perhaps that’s where my streaks of blonde hair and my tennis ability came from. My parents reminded me often that my birthmother put me up for adoption so that I could have a better life with people who could provide for me. The most important role that the birthmother wanted from my adoptive mother was to be a stay-at-home mom so I could get the love and attention that I needed.
Today, as an eighteen year old girl, I have grown up to be a little lady that I never thought I would be when I was younger. I thought that I would just stay young forever and play with toys. Throughout these years of searching for the kind of person that I want to be, I realized that there is something missing from my life. I figured out that there has always been this wanting to meet my birthmother even though I do have fears and it could be a disappointing experience. There will always be a place in my heart for my birthmother no matter what. I have not met her or had any personal contact with her, but I do have a feeling of love and respect towards her. It is a different type of love than the love I am experiencing with the adoptive parents. I love my adoptive parents because they have sacrificed so much for me and provided me a beautiful home and safety. The love that I have for my birthmother is unlike any feeling for anyone else because she is my mother. I believe that I could ask those personal questions that I am too shy to ask my adoptive mother about. No one can understand the rollercoaster of emotions I have experienced about being adopted.
After talking about my story, I took the time to interview someone who was adopted through the Spence-Chapin organization. I contacted a girl named Ana, with whom I have a lot in common. I emailed her a series of questions to get an idea of who she is and how she feels about adoption. Communicating with Ana made me realize a lot of what it means to be adopted and how the whole concept is so powerful. Her answers were very helpful in writing this memoir. I enjoyed learning about someone else’s meaningful story.
What’s your story?
When I was 14 months old, my family adopted me from Moscow, Russia. I was in one of the first waves of orphans out of Russia once the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union collapsed. When asked why they adopted, my mom always answers “Barbara Walters,” because it was a 20/20 special on the Romanian orphanages that inspired her and my dad to look internationally to adopt. I’ve actually heard a lot of people cite that same 20/20 episode when talking about international adoption and impetuses. I have an older sister, who is the biological child of my adoptive parents. She’s 10 years older than me and the exact opposite of me in many ways—she’s short and blonde and I’m tall and brunette. Although I feel completely and totally loved by my family and 110% a part of the Anderson clan, what I think some people may not realize is that some adopted children struggle with identity, no matter how well adjusted they are. Something I’ve always been drawn to is my Russian heritage, which I’m thankful that my parents raised me always exposing me to Russian culture and history. Now I’m in college and double majoring in Political Science and Russian, and the opportunity to actually study the Russian language and culture has made me feel so fulfilled and happy.
Ana’s story had shown how quickly and precisely she became thankful for being adopted, which led to more specific questions about when she was younger.
When or at what age were you told that you were adopted?
I was told I was adopted at a very young age. I was probably about 3 and I was watching the episode on “Rugrats” when baby Dill was born. I asked my mom how it felt when my older (biological) brother was in her stomach. Then I asked what it was like when I was in my mom’s stomach. My mom told me the truth and explained that I was adopted. Although I didn’t fully understand what it meant to be adopted I knew from a very young age and my parents were very open about it with me.
Ana’s character is truly inspiring because she isn’t afraid to talk to people about her international adoption experience. I wasn’t an international adoption, so it was very interesting to hear from another perspective. Ana is confident and fluent with telling the truth about what has happened throughout her past.
Adoption can be a sensitive topic for people to talk about. Is talking about adoption a sensitive topic for you?
No, I wouldn’t say it’s a sensitive topic, just a very important topic. I’ve grown up my whole life with the awareness that I was adopted and in a dialogue with my family about it. I’ve always been open about adoption with my family and friends, and love to share that I was adopted and talk about what that means to me. In a way I guess you could say I love being a “spokesperson” for adoption.
I wondered if Ana was always confident throughout her life. I am still sensitive and apprehensive about adoption because of the outcomes that could occur, such as a person’s unusual facial expression or they will make fun of me. These outcomes have happened throughout my life. I have a lack of confidence when talking about myself in difficult circumstances. When my parents told me about my adoption at a young age, there were awkward points because I would think of things that would confuse me, such as “Do I still call them Mom and Dad?” Ana was able to get through the awkward points, which is motivating for me. Adoption consists of awkward points that have led to countless struggles throughout my life. I’d like to conquer those awkward moments.
Were you ever made fun of for being adopted or with how no one believed that your family was the adoptive one?
I don’t remember ever being teased specifically because I was adopted. I remember a lot of my friends asking questions more then anything. I remember being teased about other things in middle school, and I used to think the reason why I was teased was because I was adopted, but now I don’t believe that was the reason. I have also run into situations where people haven’t believed me when I told them I was adopted because I am from such an obscure country in Eastern Europe and I get told on a regular basis that my biological brother, Jordan, and I look so similar.
Ana and I are similar in various ways. When I was young, every time someone didn’t like me or teased me, I routinely thought “It’s because I’m adopted.” The thought of judgment was always brought to my attention. I realized what people think shouldn’t stop me from the benefits I received through my adoption. I was able to receive a loving family, along with a home, food, and safety. It’s nice to think about how fortunate adopted people are.
How else does adoption benefit children, besides a nice home to live in?
In many cases kids who are adopted, were adopted because they were either in poor areas or unsafe living circumstances. Adoption isn’t just about getting a “nice home” for these kids. These adoptions are saving lives. These kids including myself are given opportunities they would of never received if they stayed with their birth families. In my case not only did I receive proper nutrition, but I also received physical, speech, and occupational therapy when I came to the United States. I also received an education. I was placed in a special needs preschool so I could receive the services I needed including these therapies so I could catch up to the rest of the children my age and start kindergarten on-time. I also transferred school districts in 8th grade because I needed testing accommodations to help with my convergence disorder, which made it difficult for me to read and fill out answer sheets. I would have never received an education or one of such quality if my parents didn’t adopt me.
Love and compassion from Ana’s adoptive parents played an important role in her adoption. Ana became more familiar. Ana feels strongly about how adoption can change the child’s life by giving one the happiness they deserve. It shouldn’t matter wherever he or she came from. Since Ana was from Moldova, Russia, she’s learning about her Russian heritage each day. Ana and her parents were able to describe what she was able to find out about her heritage.
What do you want to find out more in your European heritage?
My parents have told me a lot about my heritage. We have gone to adoptive gatherings through the agency I was adopted through and learned a lot about Moldova. I actually have a New Years bell at home that reminds me of Moldova a lot. I know that Moldova is a very poor country and a lot of the heritage consists of disgusting food. They really don’t have much because they are so poor. I would love to go back just to see what the country looks like despite the poverty, because that would give me a better idea of what I came from.
Ana had curiosity about where she comes from, which motivated her to try and get more information. Sometimes the wonder becomes very overwhelming. Ana and I are able to reach satisfaction when our questions are answered. Ana portrays herself as a curious young lady who enjoys problem solving. Today, Ana is a strong woman who can adjust to situations when they are tough.
Why are you satisfied with just looking at pictures of the past?
I am satisfied with just looking at pictures from the past because that’s what my adoption is. It’s in the past. Although it is always going to be apart of me, my life now is the one my parents have given me. Looking at all the things I have accomplished is much more important to me then looking at what could have been, because I know I have a better life here in America. I also know that I need to be ready for any answer to come back if I start looking into the past. I may find nothing, or I may find something negative that I would of rather not found out. I can’t expect every answer about my past to be positive, so right now I am happy at looking at my past through pictures and stories my parents tell me.
Ana has satisfaction with looking at pictures from her past, which made me realize that she shows power and maturity. Some adoptees want to find their biological parents right away and know everything about them, instead of enjoying the endless stories about them. A common question that seems to be asked to adoptees is if we want to meet or know more about our biological family. The answers can vary, depending on the type of person and the biological family’s situation.
Do you want to meet your birth mother now? Why or why not? After trying to find her, would you like to keep going?
I have always said that I want to meet my birth mother. I think it would be a really interesting interaction to have. I also know that it isn’t as nice as movies portray it where there is always a happy ending. Although legally I am allowed to start searching I think I am going to wait a few years and make sure I am ready to handle whatever results may occur. There is very little information on my adoption because I was internationally adopted and the rules are very strict. There is a very good chance my birthmother could of died by now. I need to make sure I am ready to come to terms with whatever new I find out, whether it is good or bad.
Ana and I have not met our biological families. A law in New York State says that the child has to be eighteen years old to meet their biological family. I used to think this law was ridiculous and that any adoptee had a right to do what they pleased. I realized a few years ago that adoptees also have to be emotionally ready to hear the good or bad news. Mentally, strong people are the ones who can deal with tough outcomes and overcome them. When arguing with your adoptive parents, this can be difficult because thoughts such as, “you aren’t even my real Mom or Dad” can alter the relationship greatly. The emotions just rush out, not even meaning to. Am I truly ready for this? Ana talks about how she argued with her adoptive mother, and has learned that being more emotionally mature can help keep the relationship strong.
How did you realize that arguing with your mom is not the best way to resolve things?
I have realized that arguing with my mom is not the answer. I know that she loves me more then anyone else in the world and she just means well whenever we disagree on something. Going to college especially has helped me realize this. I really needed to be away from my parents to see how much they have done for me and how much they care. Since going to college my mom and I have gotten along so much better. We learned how to communicate with each other and as I’ve grown older I have lost the animosity (unfriendly) I had toward her when I was younger. Now I couldn’t ask for a better mother to raise me then my mother. I hate that I had to realize this through years of fighting, but I’m glad I realized this now instead of when I’m in the position of needing to take care of her when she gets older.
I understood that these types of emotions take time to mature. I’d like for others to realize that they should appreciate the parents they have. For example, Ana realized that arguing with her mom didn’t make resolve the issues. Instead she put those differences aside and was fortunate to have someone on your side that will provide love and compassion. The best things in adoption will be carried on throughout the person’s life. Ana describes the glorious outcomes of being adopted.
What’s the best part of being adopted, in your opinion?
The best part about being adopted is that I have a story. It is something I share with a very small portion of people that is very special. I love knowing that the people I live with wanted to give me a better life and I know that I can always give back in the same way by adopting my own child. It has a special place in my heart knowing both sides of adoption. My parents have told me how hard it was to adopt me both because of the process and emotionally, but I also know what it is like being adopted and how grateful I am that I was. I know if I could help another child in a similar situation to my own I would like to before I start adding my own children into the already overpopulated world.
Ana and I both portray to our adoptive family, friends, and peers that we are strong people who are able to tell our stories with pride. Ana is more confident about being adopted, but I’m learning that it’s not my fault and that it’s okay. We embrace and say thanks to the biological family for giving us a better life. We will be some of the children who overcame obstacles and are holding their head held high.
I was very interested in learning about Annie’s adoption story after learning about Ana’s story. She had an experience that was different from Ana’s and mine. Annie was able to meet some of her biological family members. She was brave by taking the initiative of contacting her biological brothers as a first step. I was able to see and admire how Annie was emotionally ready.
What’s your story?
My older brother was born and my parents adopted him. Then our birthparents were going to be having me so the adoption agency contacted my parents to see if they would be interested in adopting another child and they said yes. When my birth mother had me, my birthparents had changed their minds and decided they were going to keep me. They took me home for about two weeks and then I was in foster care until my parents got me at two months. Then my birthparents also had my younger brother and once again the adoption agency contacted my parents to see if they would be interested in adopting him. This time my parents said only if they got to talk to my birthparents first and make sure that they would actually go through with this. When my birthparents changed their minds about me, they were devastated and didn’t want to have to go through that again.
While we were all growing up our parents always let us know that we were adopted, we didn’t have a sit down later on and were told that we were adopted. We just always knew. When I was around eleven or twelve I used to go into my moms file drawers and read the papers on my adoption over and over. I even would read my brothers too.
When I was about fifteen or sixteen I would go online and try and find my birthparents online. I found a bunch of addresses under both my birthparents names. I wrote letters, made copies and sent them out to all of the addresses without my parents knowing. A few weeks later I got an email from a girl who was my cousin saying that she was sorry but my birthfather had passed away, but if I had any questions I could ask. I emailed with her a lot. At first she was responding slower because my birth grandma wanted to be involved with the emails at first too, so they would write them together. My birth cousin was the one who had told me about my half-brothers and I had asked if I could email them or talk to them. She told me she would ask them. She was taking a while to get back to me on whether or not my half-brothers would talk to me or not. I decided to search for them through Facebook and I found both of them and sent them messages. About a month after I received a message from one of my half brothers and we started to talk. Then about six months after I sent the message from my other half-brother. With my half brother who responded after a month we also started texting. One weekend I was in Indiana for a wedding and I was texting with one of my half brothers who lives in Muncie, IN. It was really last minute and we arranged to meet. My mom went with me, but my dad had stayed with my younger brother who was not ready to meet anyone in our biological family yet. My older brother wasn’t there for the wedding, but he said he wouldn’t have been ready either.
I realized how hard it was for the biological parents to give up their children. It amazes me how my birthmother gave me up, Ana’s birthmother and now Annie’s birthmother gave up their children. Annie says how she tried to find out more information about her biological family. This step proved to me that she wasn’t afraid of finding out good or bad news. I haven’t had the courage to search for my biological family because I’m too scared about the information that I will or will not find. Recently, I have talked to my tennis coach and he said a great addition to my search is learning the genealogy of my biological family. Annie was able to experience great news when she became in contact with her biological family for the first time! One of her half-brothers contacted her. Annie expressed what her initial feelings were.
Were you impatient when your half-brothers took so long to respond? (Well one of them, then later the other one).
Yes I was so impatient. I was like why aren’t they responding? Maybe they don’t want to talk to me at all. They just do not really check their Facebook’s a lot. So they both gave me their cell phone numbers to communicate with them.
That must have been difficult to wait for so long. This shows maturity on Annie’s part to be able to wait for them to get back to her. I do have maturity but I don’t believe I am emotionally ready. As I’ve grown up, I have become more sensitive to experiences. Annie has been an inspiration to me. Annie’s feelings influenced me a lot because this is an answer to my biggest obstacle. I have to develop more emotionally.
What do you think made you so ready to meet your birth family?
I think I was ready to meet them because I had emailed with my one half-brother a lot and also one of my cousins from my birth family.
I considered becoming in contact with my biological family before meeting them. I would be better prepared of the types of people they are, but I’m not sure if I would be able to handle emailing. I wouldn’t want my biological family to decipher a message wrong. Annie saw this through emailing back and forth with one of her half-brothers. Annie and her half-brothers decided on a time that was suitable for both families. Eventually, Annie met with her biological family.
Was meeting your biological family awkward at first, awkward throughout the whole meeting or was it natural?
At first it was a little awkward because I didn’t know what to say. After a little bit though I just started asking questions like what do you like to do?, do you like sports, what was my birthfather like?. My nephew was probably the easiest to talk to. He’s seven now and I could just ask him questions like what’s your favorite color, favorite board game, favorite sport, favorite band, favorite TV show etc…
As Annie asked questions to her biological family, that eased the tension for them to be more comfortable with this situation. When most people are comfortable in a social setting, conversing becomes easier. Annie knew what to expect and embraced the information strongly.
What was it like to meet members of your biological family, and not your biological parents?
I wasn’t nervous at all when my mom and I were driving up to meet my birth family but as soon as we pulled in the driveway, I got really nervous. It was a little scary at first and my mom did most of the talking in the beginning. I didn’t meet my birth father because he passed away when I was eleven and my birth mother and him had split up when I was around six. I met members of my birth family through getting in contact with one of my half brothers on my father’s side.
I understand why Annie would become so nervous when she pulled into her biological family’s driveway. Ana and I could agree that we would be speechless when meeting our biological families. It’s an unforgettable feeling. Before this meeting, Annie came in contact with her birthmother by receiving her email from one of her half-brothers. A big disappointment about Annie’s first visit was the absence of her biological mother. I would be so devastated if my birthmother wasn’t there to meet me. However, Annie was in contact with her birthmother over email. Annie seemed very pleased with who she met and what was learned from one visit. I was curious to know how her birth family would act throughout another encounter.
What was it like to go back a second time to visit your biological family?
The second time I went back I only saw one of my half-brothers Dan, his wife Chrissi and my nephew Brady because a lot of other people were out of town and on trips because it was Columbus Day weekend. I met a lot of Chrissi’s family though, which was nice. It was kind of nice just to bond more with them though and not like a huge group of people.
It was nice that Annie was able to spend time with her biological family again. There weren’t as many people, making this meeting more enjoyable. I feel a smaller amount of people is better because it’s easier to connect at a personal level. Annie seemed to be more comfortable with herself and talking with her biological family. Since Annie said she was more comfortable at this point, I was curious about how she felt about the whole experience.
Do you regret meeting the people that make up your biological family?
No I don’t regret meeting my biological family. I think it was a good experience because I got to find out a lot of the background of my biological family. I also got to see if I looked or sounded like anyone. I even went back a second time to see them again.
It was overall a non-regrettable visit. This made me feel confident in myself about meeting my biological family. Emotions can sometimes get the better of someone when dealing with their own adoption. Annie dealt with various emotions when she found out that her birthfather passed away.
How did you feel when you found out your birthfather passed away?
I was a little upset because it meant I would never get to meet him, but I wasn’t sad about his death really because I never knew him.
It’s very inspiring to see how Annie accepted what happened to her birthfather. Annie was realistic about the death of her birthfather. She never really knew him, so there were no personal feelings that could be hurt. I hope I can accept possible sad situations that have happened in my biological family. Since Annie was never able to meet her birthfather, I think Annie being in contact with her birthmother was a great idea. Unfortunately, her birthmother showed traits that were unexpected.
You’ve indicated that your birthmother was overbearing and pushy, would you still want to meet her if she stayed mysterious?
Yea I think I would have preferred to have met her if I hadn’t talked to her so much and had known she was so pushy.
I assumed that these exchanges would be something to look forward to. There’s always that fear about the relationship between my birthmother and I. Would it be like Annie’s? Would it be good or bad? What would happen? Would this meeting even occur? I am now in adulthood, so these fears become overwhelming. Is it a good decision to make that extra step that Annie did, to reach out? If I had the relationship like Annie and her birthmother, I would not want to continue on with the relationship. I would feel she didn’t like me. I still struggle with believing that I haven’t done anything wrong. I believe it would be difficult to accept not having common interests with my biological family. Annie and I are different in these ways, but that’s what makes her response more interesting.
Was it disappointing to realize you didn’t have common interests?
I wasn’t really disappointed. I’m sort of like my nephew and one of my half-brothers. It’s just they are very into baseball and I like tennis and horseback riding. I actually really like watching baseball and I started going to games when I was like three, but when I was in middle school and tried softball, I was awful so then I quit. When I was younger though I loved playing in the backyard with my dad.
It was great that Annie had common interests with family members, but it seems it would be difficult to find that information without meeting in person. It was nice to see how having a lack of common interests didn’t bother Annie. She kept trying to make the experience memorable for herself and biological family. Annie looked at the positives that came from these visits and how thankful she must feel about contacting biological family members. I hope that I can become as confident as Annie when it comes to contacting people about my adoption. She proved that anything is possible. Having the privilege to learn about Annie’s story made me even more curious about mine. If I could have any experience with my adoption discovery, I hope I will have a special experience like how Annie did. Will it be life changing for me as well?
Should I go in search of my birthmother? I’ve done my part of researching, interviewing, writing, and editing and that’s the only question left to answer. My parents were a great help to find out the basics of my adoption. This has helped me realize that my situation could be a lot worse. Adoption gives a child an opportunity to develop into a responsible human being, who is privileged with a life of a loving family. Learning about Ana and Annie’s stories brought me to be more comfortable and accepting of my adoption. I have made the decision to begin the process of searching for my birthmother.
Even though I do have fears, I know that I wouldn’t be able to live my life properly without trying to find her. However, what if she moved on? This whole process has been emotionally draining for me because I don’t want to be disappointed. Along this journey, there have been high points such as learning how to be more appreciative for what I have, but then there were also low points. At points, I felt there wasn’t a point to keep wanting something that might not even happen. Does she ever think about me on my birthday? I will do my best to see if I can find out who my birthmother is, and I hope these feelings and questions will go away, and I will have satisfaction. I’m ready to fill the emptiness I have had and start my adulthood with my birthmother. I love her from everything I know about her so far and the picture I have of her. The question is does she love me back?
Spence-Chapin Organization “Get to Know Us.” Spence-Chapin Adoption Services. Spence-Chapin Services to Families, n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.
- Through this organization I was able to become in contact with…
- Leslie Case
- Ashley Heckstall
- One of the story tellers, Ana
- I was able to become in contact with a previous Ross student…
- Annie Rubin