When I found out I was pregnant with our son I began to wonder who he would be, what he would look like, who he would take after... and then it dawned on me. I had no idea where I came from. I knew I came from a loving family who did absolutely everything for me. Parents that would give anything in the world to make sure I was happy and always felt loved.
People often ask if I remembered the time my parents told me I was adopted. The answer is no. I've always known. From day one my mother was reading me books and poems about how I came from her heart and not her belly. They provided me a safe and loving home, a world full of opportunity, something I assumed my birth mother could not provide me which is why she had made the most difficult, selfless decision in life, to give me to a family who could.
Growing up I would wonder if I had passed her on the street, did she have blue eyes, did she go on to have other children, but more seriously, which diseases was I at risk for? Did I come from a line of heart disease, breast cancer? There were so many what ifs. Sometimes I did feel overwhelmed with not knowing anything. But I was always so grateful. So grateful to have fallen in the loving arms of my mom and dad. I just couldn't imagine life any other way. Which I think is why I never wanted to change that. My sense of security overrode my sense of wonder. I didn't want another family. I was perfectly content with the way things were.
While I had a tiny fetus growing inside of me I became even more thankful for the gift of life. My husband and I had just gone through the 1st trimester genetic screening when my curiosity piqued. What genes was I passing on to him? My mom said I was of Italian and Irish descent (something she heard from the lawyer) but we couldn't be sure. Adoptions in the 80s were closed. I started considering doing ancestry.com. As always, before I made any purchase, I had to read reviews. One testimonial was from a girl about my age. She said she was adopted and had gone through the ancestry process which gave her some ambiguous results. She was actively seeking her birth parents and had found them on an adoption website. All you had to do was put in your birth date and where you were born and a list of matches would appear. Wow. Of course that existed in this internet age. It was bizarre to me that I never considered searching before and terrifying to me what that search could uncover. With a few deep breaths and surprisingly not much hestitation I put in my information. ONE result. I read the information and everything lined up. Even the part about having to be released from the hospital one day later because of the courts being closed for the 4th of July holiday. This was her. The brave woman that gave me life. Her post originated in 2002, she had added some updates since then. She had 3 other children. One of her daughter's had the same name as me. I mean, surreal.
After some more internet searching I found some photos. I immediately felt like I had just filled a void I had been harboring my entire life. She did have my eyes. She actually looked a lot like my mom did when she was her age. Which makes sense since everyone always commented on the resemblance of me and my mother to which we would just say "thank you" and smile. What was most jaw dropping was the resemblance of me and the daughter with the same name. It was all very strange and fascinating. This is the point in the story where people ask "Wow, did you reach out to her? Did you meet her?" And I do feel a bit guilty saying no. She obviously put her information out there because she was curious too. But I was not looking to open communication lines. Maybe one day I will feel differently but at that moment that was as far as I could go.
Fast forward 6 months later I was in labor with my son, my mom and husband by my side. Because of the circumstances of the delivery I did not get to hold my son right away. The two of them were standing over him as the doctors were cleaning both of us up. My mom crying from the corner of the room, "He is beautiful, absolutely perfect" I couldn't wait to see him. And when they handed him to me I was overcome with emotion. He had my eyes, my mouth, my chin. He was my son. I was biologically connected to this amazing precious human in my arms and I had never felt more complete.
Not a day goes by where I don't look at him in awe and amazement and cherish the connection I have with him, a different type of connection than I have ever experienced. He takes after his mom in so many ways. Not just his features but his personality and demeanor. His dad often jokes, is there anything he got from me? And yes of course he got the best of his Dad too. It is so amazing to watch him grow.
I am forever indebted to the woman that didn't get to watch me grow up; the one carried me to term and cared enough to give me the life she thought I deserved. And to the man and woman who "chose" me, raised me, and made me the person I am today. I only hope that my son will feel as lucky.