Growing Up Adopted

I've always known I was adopted. I came home to my parents a few months after I was born, and I was a much beloved and long-awaited first child. A few years later, they adopted my brother. He and I live on opposite coasts now, but we're very close.

Since we weren't linked by blood, my mom always cherished the stories that connected us in other ways. When I was a baby, someone stopped her and said, "I have never seen a mommy and a little girl who looked more alike!" My mom must have told that story a million times. But aside from the stories, my mom and I are very alike. We're best friends and she's a wonderful grandma.

I was never very interested in searching for my birth mother until my brother found his and had a happy reunion experience. My mom, who'd always said she'd support us in finding our birth moms so she could thank them and tell them "how wonderful we are," fell apart when my brother shared his reunion story with her. So I never told my mom more than the bare bones of my own story.

I had gotten the non-identifying sheet from the agency a few years before I began my search, and armed with that, I began to look. I got some lucky breaks, great support and search hints from a triad support group that I attended each week. Within a few months, I had my birth mom's name, address and telephone number. Eerily, I was just a few days away from flying on business to the very town where she lived.

I waited a few months though, girding myself, before I called her. After making sure she was alone, I introduced myself and asked if we could talk or if I could write. She said she didn't think it would be a good idea, wished me luck and hung up. I was hurt, but I tried to empathize as best I could without knowing her reasons. A few months after that, I sent her a picture and a much rewritten, carefully-worded letter that thanked her for giving me to my family, telling her about us and promising never to contact her again.


That was about eight years ago. I'm 40 now and I have a beautiful toddler boy of my own. I've kept my promise not to contact my birth mom, but I hope she'll contact me someday. I'd like to know more about my biological roots.

My family is close and my life is wonderful as it is. It would be nice to meet my birth mom, to know her, and to see how we're alike and how we're different. But if I never do, I wish she could at least see a picture of my son. He looks just like me.

--By Annie Henstrand, Volunteer Community Leader, Adult Adoptees

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