When I was 5 years old, my parents explained I was adopted. I was starting kindergarten in a small town in Northeast Pennsylvania and they feared I would be told by a peer.
My parents are and always will be my parents. The love and sacrifices they made to guarantee joy and happiness in my life was and is incomparable.
However, there was always a longing to know who I was, or more truly, if someone out there thought of me. Only after having three children of my own, did I realize that the experience of pregnancy is so unique for each child and full of such deep admiration and love.
‘Keep an open mind’
My adopted mother Nancy was the most amazing, generous and kind person. She always described my birth mother as “a very young girl, who made the ultimate sacrifice for us to be a family.” Before her death more than a decade ago, she told me “I know someday you will find your mom and I beg you to keep an open mind.”
In April for our tenth anniversary, my husband bought the ancestry.com DNA test. I had recently seen a story online about a father and son who were reunited. I found what ancestry deemed a first cousin relation, Kevin Marshall. Through corresponding with Kevin over a month or so, we determined him to be my uncle and I was related to his father. (Uncle) Kevin was then able to set in motion a series of events that manifested in the best possible outcome.
It was Saturday evening and through corresponding on Facebook, Kevin said he would try to connect me to my birth mother. I was absolutely terrified. It was one thing to send a non-descriptive message to a potential first cousin. It’s something entirely different to write a message to someone you have thought about your entire life. What do you say? How do you explain this driving force to know more about yourself? Questions raced through my head Saturday, I couldn’t have predicted what would have happened in the next 24 hours.
A bittersweet Mother’s Day
On Mother’s Day, after 30 years of waiting and wondering I got the opportunity to correspond with my birth mother. In a message I struggled to write, I asked if I could get to know her. I didn’t know what she would say, but I was hopeful.
After several days filled with tears, stories and heavy emotions, I’m blessed to say my birth mother wants to be a part of my life. The timing of this event couldn’t have been more bittersweet.
Over the first week of corresponding, we discovered we share so many likes and commonalities. We both are artistic, have the same type of dogs as pets and love doing our nails. There are so many more things than I could list. It has been as if I have known her forever.
After one week, I had the courage to call her. Hearing her voice was familiar and when she laughed, I couldn’t help but laugh myself. We laugh the same way. My birth mom has since introduced me to my half sister, Danielle and half brother, Carl. I have messaged both. My grandmother also introduced herself to me through Facebook. What I have learned in the past two weeks has changed me as a person.
‘I was lost and loved’
For so long, I was adopted and loved… but I found out I was lost and loved. Knowing that they loved me in my absence and thought about it. It strikes me deep at my core. I feel like I found the missing puzzle piece to my favorite puzzle, that I have been missing forever.
I know there will be long talks and emotions ahead but I am ready and I couldn’t be more grateful that we were reunited in the way we have.
Jennifer Williams has a Masters degree in communication studies and serves as an adjunct professor for multiple colleges and universities. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in writing from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Her blessings in life include her three beloved daughters, Nina, Zhenna and Fiona and her husband, Zach.