Growing up was as typical as I could imagine it being for anyone else. I had a loving mother and father, a great pair of younger siblings (even though we thought we couldn’t stand each other in our early years), and I lived in a very quiet neighborhood just outside the main city boundaries. I went to public schools, made close friends who I loved to be around, and enjoyed the bliss of being young. I was just like everyone else–except for the fact that I was not biologically related to my family.
This was never a secret; for as long as I can remember, my parents were very tender and loving whenever they explained that I was adopted. And having been adopted only 7 days after my birth, it never really bothered me. In fact, I later understood that my birth and the birth of my siblings (also adopted) were miracles in the lives of my parents, who for one reason or another were unable to have children of their own.
Still, I found myself at times wondering about my family–who they were, WHERE they were, if I had siblings, how they were doing, and if I would ever meet them.
I had no clues, leads or hints of any kind. I had nothing to work from in any sort of attempt to locate my family; and being in high school with so many responsibilities and preparing for adulthood, I had no time to conduct any searches for my family either.
My doubts about ever finding the answers completely vanished the moment Troy Dunn called me. I can still remember his question as if it were still that very evening: “How would you feel about meeting your biological family?” I was stunned. I had been thinking again about my adoption just days prior to his phone call. At first I felt very nervous, but ultimately I agreed to his offer. I felt like this was the solution to my problem. I considered it one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been offered–someone who had gone through the difficult process of locating my biological family and offering me the opportunity to meet them. I could not reject his offer.
Some hesitancies came in the days immediately following my first conversation with him. I imagine this is normal when such an opportunity presents itself. Still, I found myself asking even more unanswerable questions as I traveled to meet the family I had never known. ‘What are they like? What could they be expecting of me? Will I get along with them? What happens if I don’t?’ Of course, these questions couldn’t be answered in any way besides meeting them face to face. I tried to keep positive and optimistic all throughout my traveling. And surely it paid off.
The first time I laid eyes on my biological mother felt like a dream. I could see the resemblance instantly. There was no question that this was the woman who had brought me into the world. In that moment, gratitude overwhelmed me for this woman’s sacrifice–the sacrifice of carrying my life in its first development and then letting me go. A lengthy conversation with her revealed that the circumstances surrounding my birth would not have led to a good life. My gratitude has increased and become much more personal now that I have a name and a face to thank.
My biological family can never replace my “real” (adoptive) family, but I love them for their goodness and look forward to what’s still in store for us all.