I was adopted at birth by two amazing parents who also adopted my younger sister. Whenever people have asked, “Are you interested in meeting your birth family?,” I’ve been consistent with my response: My adoptive family is my only family, and I have no interest in searching out my natural family.
I’m now a 34-year-old man with a young daughter and aging parents. Recently, I stumbled across a box of records in my parents’ attic that included the name of my birth mother. This was a particular shock since my parents have always maintained that I was adopted in a blind adoption. The records also revealed the name of the hospital where I was born, the city where my birth mother had lived, and the color of her hair and eyes.
The internet being what it is, half an hour later I had developed a comprehensive picture of my birth mother’s life, including a reasonable guess at my birth father and the understanding that I have at least two natural siblings. As far as social media could tell me, my birth mother is living a happy life in a stable family. She has the same eyes and chin as my daughter.
After I saw my birth mother’s name, my default response vanished. Having a daughter has given me an even keener appreciation for the pain my birth mother must have felt at surrendering her child, and I want desperately to reach out and tell her that I’ve had an extremely blessed life. I have a more pragmatic concern as well: I’m tired of writing “I don’t know—ADOPTED” every time I have to fill out a medical history, and I’m concerned about the genetic legacy I’m leaving my daughter.