I was adopted through Buckner Adoption Agency (Buckner homepage) in Dallas, Texas. My birth mother is most likely 100% Laotian and at one point escaped from Laos (most people ask, “Laos? Where’s that?” Laos is a country between Vietnam and Thailand) by swimming across a river. Somehow, she ended up in Texas and put me up for adoption there when she was 19-years-old; I was born in September of 1986. She was short, had hopes of working in the medical field, and was a Christian. She also made special note that her mother had been very short as well, but had been obese and had diabetes. She didn’t disclose any information about my birth father. Her only request for me was that my parents be Christian and have a strong passion for education.
My adoption was a closed adoption, meaning that besides the initial information given by my birth mother, once she put me up for adoption, there was no other information given, no contact information shared between the my birth mother and myself or my parents, and no other type of contact. My parents and I have never known her name, what happened to her after putting me up for adoption, or where she might be; in the same way, she never had any sort of contact with me, knew my name or my parents’ names, or where I was or am today. For all we know, she could be dead, living in the same city as me, or still in Texas with a career and family.
After being put up for adoption, I was placed in a foster home for a short time of five-and-a-half months. The foster family consisted of a married couple and their two teenage daughters– I was their twentieth child that they had hosted and they apparently had a tradition of naming their children in alphabetical order, so I was named “Ty” by them. I’ve been told that I was held constantly as a baby by all four of the family members and that I was a sleeping pro [which is still true today-- I love a good nap]. My foster-mother was very detailed and even wrote a “manual” about me for my mom and dad– that’s right, I came with a manual that detailed my sleeping habits, feeding times, and favorite toys. My parents and I didn’t maintain contact with my foster family or anything like that, in fact, we only know that much about them.
Then on March 18, 1987, I met my mom and dad! I think they were exactly what my birth mother would have wanted for me– they are both Christian and my dad is a pastor and my mom is a teacher! I’ll get to this part later too, so stay tuned, because our family adoption story is a tear-jerker.
I never wrote down a list of things I wanted to ask my birth mother or birth father, but I’ve always had some random questions that would float in and out of my mind during random parts of my life. My husband had one of the funniest questions I’ve ever heard which was, “If your birth grandmother was living in Laos, which is a third-world country, how was she able to be obese? I mean, you don’t really see any morbidly obese people in like National Geographic when they take pictures of villagers living off of rice and fish in the middle of nowhere…”
My questions, on the other hand, have usually been more like, “what nationality am I really?” and “what do you do on my birthday?” and “why did you put me up for adoption?”
My parents have always been completely open to discussing my birth parents or anything related to my adoption; I asked questions and they did their best to provide age-appropriate responses. When I was four, my best friend’s mom was pregnant with his little brother. I asked my mom, “was I in your tummy, mommy?”
She replied, “No, sweetie, you were in someone else’s tummy– your birth mommy’s tummy.”
“Ewwwww…Gross!” I replied.
Now that I’m an adult, I don’t think it was gross that I was in my birth mother’s tummy like I did when I was four– I think I was blessed that I was in her tummy. I was blessed because even if she had to hide that she was pregnant with me, she kept me safe. I was blessed because even though she might have known at the time that she didn’t want me for herself or that she couldn’t keep me for herself, she protected me. I was blessed because even though it might have been the hardest thing she had ever gone through, she persevered through her pregnancy. I was blessed because even though she knew I wouldn’t be hers, she fed me, she looked after me, and she kept me, just long enough to be able to give me away.
That is why I am blessed, and that is what we know.