A day after my birthday I was talking to a friend on the phone. She said something that has been stuck with me for a while.
"I bet your birth mother thought of you."
Most parents go though a vigorous process to have a baby. Nine months of labor the mother goes through hellish mood swings, hemorrhoids, bizarre eating habits, and what I imagine to be a painful delivery. My parents had to go through a screening process, then wait until the day they got a phone call from the adoption agency telling them they have a baby to come pick up.
I don't remember how old I was when I my folks informed me of the fact I'm adopted, but I was very young and didn't give it much thought. I was an infant when they brought me home for the first time so I only knew them as my parents. The extended family till this day always treated me as if I was blood so my life seemed like any other child's. It wasn't till I got older that it became an issue for me.
I was seventeen at the time and dating a girl for about a year. She finally asks me about being adopted and if I had questions about my birth family. I told her I didn't as it's a foreign concept to call anyone else 'family'. She then asked me if I ever thought about us possibly being family.
I went silent for a couple minutes. While the likelihood of us being related was slim, the fact that it could be a possibility was a horrifying thought.
Fast forward to over three years ago. I'm on a date with a girl who I've seen a couple times before. We were in my car and talking it up getting to know each other. I ask her about her family and after some time she states that she has a long lost brother that her mother gave up for adoption.
I quickly pull the car over.
"What's the matter," she said.
"You were born and raised in Portland," I say. "Right?"
"Yeah," she said seeming nervous at my strange behavior.
"I'm adopted," I said. "I was born and adopted out by an agency in Portland."
She stares at me with a horrifying look. I'm sure mine couldn't have been much better. You could tell the wheels in her head were spinning, but then she figured it out that he's a few years older than me.
We both breathed a sigh of relief. I get back onto the road and after a few moments of silence we laugh about the incident.
Now that I'm getting older I'd like to know my medical history. It's annoying seeing the doctor and filling out the forms and leaving blank any family history of heart trouble, cancer, etc. I really don't know what issues I'll face as I get older and that bothers me. If I ever find someone willing to have children with me I think I owe that information to them.
I don't fault my adopted family for this mind you as back then agencies weren't open about giving the birth families information, possibly by request.
I still think of what my friend told me and why it's stuck with me still. Does my birth mother think of me and the circumstances that brought her to place me up for adoption? What does she imagine my life to be? Is she even alive?
I never made an active search to locate my birth parents as I've accepted the fact that I may be the product of something bad. Whether it be a bad relationship or God forbid something worse I never wanted to contact her and reopen old wounds. I always felt it would be strange considering the people who share the same blood as 'family' for reasons I can't explain.
As I get older though the desire to know more about my physical history and to know if I have any sibilings groes stronger. For the sake of my own health I may have to track down my birth mother if she's even still alive. She may have died in childbirth for all I know, but I do need to figure out what issues I may face in my "golden years".
Regardless if my birth mother is alive or not or has no wish to even remember me at all I will remain forever grateful that she made a choice to give me a chance at this thing called life. I'm not a parent, but I can't imagine how difficult her decision must have been.
"I was an adopted child of my grandparents, and I don't know how I can ever express my gratitude for that, because my parents would have been a mess, you know." - James E. Jones