In search of identity and self, mirrored in our family

Understanding how our adopted family and birth family contributed to what we now consider our nurture and nature is at the core of that which motivates most adoptees to seek out answers to questions remaining.

Those adoptees stepping out of the fog are not always sure why they want to find their birth family. It usually stems from something that has been like a thorn in their mind and has yet to really take form into an actual need.

In the beginning of a search there is a fascination revolving around the two surreal figures most of us have carried with us since we knew about our adoption. While it is understandable that these days adoptions are now normally open, this was certainly not the case back when a great many of us were relinquished into the system; between the nineteen forties and late nineteen sixties.

There was a moment where looking into our adoptee past further, just seemed unrealistic. It did not come to me as some overwhelming, deeply troubling, need. Consider it like a flash of light outside your peripheral vision that requires you to turn about to discover the source. My head was jumbled with the idea that I could look more, but also stuck in the loop taught to me long ago by society that automatically kicks in when one entertains doing something outside of the expectations of others.

Unlike those times before, my life now had reached a point where stability surrounded me on all sides, and there was no genuine justification that would excuse me from entertaining these thoughts. Instead I began to amuse the notion of devoting a little more effort on the subject. What I did not expect was how easily I started to feel beguiled as layers began to peal and fall away from the mystery of my search for biological family.

What started as a mild interest, slowly crept to the surface of my awareness and blossomed into a full necessity to accomplish this, need to know, exclusive of anything else. I went from a state of knowing nothing about search, and seldom spending my time reading non-fiction books, to becoming a dedicated practitioner of genetic genealogy, traditional search methodologies, and copious consumer of any subject based on the adoption triad. While I kept up with my day job, at night I became an avid devotee of this new hobby.

Along my journey I met dozens of other searchers, cousins, genealogists, geneticists, authors, and helpers willing to lend a hand. Although, at the heart of this was my own need to stay motivated and prepared for what laid in front of me, dozens and dozens of awkward phone calls, walls of silence, ambivalence of those who treated my search as ridiculous, and other adoptees and birth family just as wanton for answers as I became.

There were copious notes taken and at least a dozen family trees I built for myself based on any genetically linked cousins that would share their family tree with me. When I finally reached the end I could hardly muster the energy to actually meet those I sought out. Once the reunion began everything turned a page I never knew existed for people like me. There I entered a new realm, where ghost like images became crystal clear, and my very nature became thoroughly explored.

Finding your birth family does not suddenly change you, but it does plant one firmly into soil and a past never thought possible, takes hold. As I spun about making my family tree over the past year in genealogy I was so focused on the end results I never had time to quietly appreciate all the people that were discovered. Not even once was there a time that I fully embraced cousins, as I likely should have; as they too were family. Had I been unsuccessful than perhaps I would have turned about to appreciate them more.

Perhaps that is what I am trying to express into todays blog post, that you take time to appreciate the family we do find, as there could be months or years to go before your journey concludes. Momentum is certainly part of the motivation keeping us on track, making progress on our search and facing the uphill battles that we will sometimes encounter along the way. But I discourage you from not at least making contact with these people in some genuine way, once they have shared their information with us. Sometimes one can catch a bit of your nature within them, and know that it is not insincere, but your actual flesh and blood family.