FELLOW ADOPTEE TRACY TELLS YOU HER ADOPTION STORY. TRACY (WHO HAS CHOSEN TO ONLY DISPLAY HER FIRST NAME), WAS DOMESTICALLY ADOPTED AT 23 DAYS OLD. ALTHOUGH, LIKE SO MANY OF US, SHE IS NOT CERTAIN IF ANY OF THESE DETAILS ARE REALLY TRUE OR NOT.
“I was born in 1970, circumstances still unknown. It was a domestic adoption at 23 days (at least that is what my “I was selected, not expected” baby announcements say), but I have no idea if I was just in the hospital or foster care before being adopted. I was given/taken away to two people who were desperate to have a child of their own; which they never got because I didn’t belong to them or to anybody…never have, never will. I was taken away from a family with six siblings (who had already been placed in foster care years earlier and lost a brother shortly after his birth) where I would have been the youngest and placed into a family where I am now the oldest of two. I have one younger brother who was also adopted, from a different family. There is zero connection. We never bonded, not once and that breaks my heart. Even to this day, when I told him about my search, he never even responded.
I’ve been searching since I was a little kid. Eyes, faces, hands, anything that looks like mine. When I turned 18, I filled out the form and my parents gave me the money to pay the fee. What I got back was a piece of paper that basically told me everything and nothing at the same time. There was no identifying information whatsoever, just hair color, eye color, nationalities, jobs etc., which I will admit were a huge help. My situation was so rare that the one clue that turned out to be an absolute total fabrication on my mother’s part, is the one thing that helped me find everybody. With no help from the adoption agency, Catholic Charities, the Church, and definitely not from Family Services. Nobody would give me any answers. Then a couple years ago DNA testing was affordable finally, so I took the test and then I took another and another and another until I was fishing all the pools like I was told to get the best coverage. As it turns out, I only needed one test! I matched to my biological family within 3 days without realizing it. I kept looking at that match that had no family tree and wondered how the heck I was going to find out. So, I went further down the list into those matches and I found a third cousin who was also directly related to my closest match and contacted him. It turns out that person had already found my brother! Cousin Richard was instrumental in helping me figure this whole family tree-thing out and locating which side was which and who went where. He tried really hard to reunite me with my mother, but she has dementia and I go back and forth trying to decide if disrupting her life is worth it since the stories that I’ve been told by her own children, my half-siblings, are not the greatest. It turns out I WAS lucky. Apparently, extremely lucky but I don’t need people to tell me that, because on top of all of it they still stole my story. It took me almost 50 years to find it. Not that I’m not up for a challenge but it should never have been hidden in the first place.
I’m on the road to reunions. I’ve met one of my half-brothers David, and my cousin Richard and I’m in contact with a half-niece on my father’s side and a cousin on my father’s side. I still can’t quite figure out who he really was (he died in 2006 with no family around him) and why his nickname is Joe? I have an uncle with that nickname too and their names are very similar but not to “Joe”. It’s crazy. That detail is really throwing me off because it doesn’t even come close to his name. It kind of makes me laugh. My search is definitely a roller coaster ride. One minute, I’m so excited about what I find and the next minute I am so angry and full of rage and grief about what has been kept from me all of my life; but I push through it and I’m on to the next piece of evidence.
My adoptive parents have been very supportive. I’ve known since I was about 4 that I was adopted. They never wanted it to be a secret for me although I think they still know more than they’re telling me because when I told my mom about meeting my brother the other day, she filled me in on some details from my brother’s adoption that I had never heard before. So, I know there’s more to the story and maybe when we finally sit down again face-to-face soon, she’ll just let it spill out because there’s no reason to keep it anymore. Maybe Dad knows something different than Mom. Who knows?
I know my origin story is not all sunshine and roses but finding my adoption truth; I wouldn’t trade a minute of absolutely anything I have found, to be left in the dark again. We have to do more. We have got to change these stupid laws that prevent people from knowing their origins and ancestry. Bringing life into this world should never be a secret. It is sacred. You should never be ashamed. No matter the circumstance, this is never the child’s fault and to not have adoptees at the table to be part of the conversation is criminal. They locked up our past and expected us to be quiet, compliant, and meek. Well, guess what happens when you lock something in a box hidden from view? One day it gets uncovered and your whole world is shaken and I’m going to rattle every branch of MY tree.
I don’t know how anybody can live with themselves after the secrets they’ve kept for years, from children. Children who, through no fault of their own had to live completely different lives. I get that adoptions are sometimes necessary, but it shouldn’t be a profitable game. I am more than a business transaction.
A side note: did you know white babies cost more to adopt? A LOT more than any other child. That’s pure profit and greed! Everything I’ve learned about abuse and criminality from adoptees. This is human trafficking in its purest form because it’s done under the guise of “help.” Things have to change. All people deserve to know where they come from. No matter the story, no matter the circumstance, it may not be a happy ending, but the journey is OURS, not yours.”
Tracy, a domestic adoptee in the US, in reunion