I first have to say THANKS! Thank you to all of you who have taken time out of your busy lives to read my blog and support me in this process of finding my birth parents. I especially appreciate those of you who have gone out of your way to leave comments, email, text, call, or talk about this journey with me. It has been an amazing blessing to share this journey so far with family and friends and I have truly appreciated friends and family talking about this with me. I feel so blessed! Thank you!
Well, summer has gone by in a flash! I started my blog at the beginning of the summer and then took time to really soak everything all in. I took time to be with family and friends as well as some time to be alone with my thoughts and really make sure I was ready to do this. I had a number of great conversations this summer with my husband, parents, family, and friends– all of which I took time to really reflect on afterward.
And, I got “COLD FEET.”
Yes, Cold Feet! I don’t want to take this process of finding my birth parents lightly– I can’t just send in my paperwork and then take it back a few months later; once it’s in, it’s in.
First, I should explain the process a bit: I plan to send in a notice, with my ID and information, to Buckner Adoption Agency where I was adopted in 1987. My birth mother put me up for adoption sometime during my first weeks of life and she chose to have a closed adoption, meaning that there is no contact between her or anyone one else she is related to and me and whoever I was adopted by. This means that she could not call me, visit me, or contact me in any way and I could not find any information about her. But, once I turned 18, I legally was able to obtain information about her or my birth family and establish contact. I chose not to start the process of finding my birth family until now– and that I will explain more about.
So, to start the process, I will send in my notice to the “Buckner Registry” that I am open to contact. Once the single intern who works part-time (according to the Buckner website) processes my paperwork, which could be up to three months, there will be a flag on my paperwork that says I am open to contact. This is where the unknown really starts to play out. Contact can only be established once someone has put a request in for contact from both parties, meaning that if I put in for contact, no one from the agency will notify the other party that I have put in my request for contact; it is only until someone from both parties has put in a request for contact that the process can move forward. For example, if my birth mother or birth father put in their notice that they would like contact when I turned 18, then they have been waiting to hear if I have put in for contact since then. On the flip side, if I put in a notice that I am open for contact and no one on that side has yet, I could end up waiting to hear from the agency for years or even decades. Or, I could put in my notice for contact and find out that someone had put in their notice for contact awhile ago and the process could begin. The agency’s process includes each party speaking separately with a licensed counselor prior to meeting and discussing whether or not they are open for contact or not. If both parties are ready for contact, then the agency helps to facilitate the meeting of the two parties. From there, the amount of contact between my birth family and I is determined by us and what we are comfortable with.
There is the option to hire a private investigator and find my birth family on my own, but personally, that is not something that I would like to do, especially at this point in time. Each and every adoption is unique and my adoption is no different; because my birth mother chose a closed adoption and to have no contact with me, I want to respect her privacy. I assume and hope she was able to create a life for herself that she is happy living; when she put me up for adoption, she mentioned that she was interested in medicine and I hope that she was able to pursue any dream that she had. I want to respect her original decision in choosing not to have contact with me and in her decision to go in her own direction; therefore, if she never wants contact with me or to hear from me or to seek me out, I am content with that. In that same way, I don’t want to show up on her doorstep and ask what the plan is for Thanksgiving and disrupt the life that she has created for herself. However, if she is open for contact, I want to take advantage of that and be open to what that could bring to both of our lives. I also want to protect those in her life that she loves and may never have told that she had a baby at one point in her life and put that baby up for adoption; I realize that could be a huge bomb in her new life if she’s married and has kids of her own and I want to respect her privacy.
Now, earlier in describing this process, I said birth family– family, meaning other people in that party besides my birth parents. This is one of the reasons I got cold feet this summer. The reality is that anything could have happened in the last twenty-six years and one of those possibilities include possible siblings of mine. Anyone who knows about my existence from that party may put in a notice for contact– this could include siblings of mine. In fact, siblings of mine who may not know about me could put in a notice for contact if they had been adopted as well. I got cold feet when I came to realize that I could be opening myself up to not only my birth parents but siblings as well. And the reality is, there could very well be a sibling of mine that was later put up for adoption as well, there could be siblings that know about me that want contact, or there could be a random relative that is open for contact. A random relative is more unlikely, but yet still a possibility. With that thought, I began to feel like I should take a bit more time just to wrestle around with these possibilities. I asked myself, “would I be ok having a brother or sister contact me?” and, “what if this brother or sister wanted more than just some contact with me?” and, “am I ready for the possibility that there could be a younger sibling of mine that maybe didn’t have as good a childhood as I did, who now wants a relationship and is going to come into my life with some baggage?” and “what if we’re very different and it’s very awkward?”
So, I thought… and I thought… and I thought…
And then I thought, about how many blessings I have been showered with throughout my life– my parents, my grandparents, my extended family, my husband, and my friends– I have an amazing support system in my life and I am truly blessed. And I thought about my faith and I believe in Jesus– I believe He has opened the door to everyone, no matter what they have going on in their lives. So in looking at this like Jesus would, if there is a sibling or siblings, I welcome them into my life whole-heartedly with as much or as little contact as they are comfortable with. And if they have baggage, well, everyone has baggage and Jesus took me in with all of my baggage, and believe me, I over packed– so I should open this door to anyone on that side who wants to have contact, no matter how much baggage they might have, if they’re very different or similar to myself, or whatever the situation might be.
One question I have been asked a number of times recently in regard to finding my birth family is, “is your family okay with you doing this?”
The answer is yes. Both my husband and my parents are completely supportive in this process, they are more than okay with me starting this journey– it’s been an amazing blessing to know that I don’t ever have to do this alone. I’ve been so blessed because my husband, Chris, and my mom and dad have all chosen me and have chosen to love me for who I am– and that is a priceless gift. Words can’t even describe how much of a blessing the three of them have been in my life. Chris, my mom, and my dad, have all been supportive for as long as they have known me.
Chris and I have always been able to talk about anything, basically from our first date. He’s a great listener, patient, and wise with his words. When I first started to really think about opening up my adoption records and put in my notice for communication with the adoption agency about two years ago, he was right there to support me, listen to me, pray with me, and talk with me about everything that I was thinking about. He even reads everything in my blog before I post it and talks about things with me before I hit the “publish” button. Together we are open for what this could bring and we’re there for each other no matter what happens– we’re in this marriage for life no matter what.
My parents have been supportive from the very beginning, including all things related to my adoption. As a child, they read books to me about different families with adopted kids. As I got older and was able to understand more, they had more in-depth conversations with me about my adoption and that both they and my birth parents loved me, but my birth parents weren’t able to take care of me. There was never a question I couldn’t ask, there was never a thought I couldn’t share, and there wasn’t ever a time when I couldn’t talk about being adopted with them. I knew from very early on I could talk to them about things and they always responded in love. When I was eight years old, I started to go through my identity psycho-social phase and had more questions about where I was from and who I was. It was that summer that my parents took me to Dallas, Texas where I had born and adopted and we went to the adoption agency and to the hospital where I was born. My parents made arrangements for me to speak with someone from the agency so that I could ask questions and talk with them about being adopted and then we went to the hospital where we took a tour of the hospital to see where I was born. My parents and I were always open about talking about my adoption together and even with family and friends. My parents and I prayed for my birth mother too and continue to do so.
Years later (but not that many years later), after Chris and I had been married for over a year, I flew up to see my parents and talk with them about being adopted and that I was feeling like I was ready to search for my birth parents. They were completely supportive and content with me finding my birth parents. We know that we have a wonderful relationship together and that in no way am I looking to replace my parents. We know that we love each other and will continue to be a constant support to each another.
Now, another question I’ve been asked is, “why now?”
Well, when I turned 18, I was legally able to open my records and put in my notice for contact with the Buckner Registry. However, I was not ready at that time. On my 18th birthday, I had just started college and I was just trying to get settled in at Vanguard University– I was having fun! I was making friends, experiencing dorm life, active in the music department– oh yeah, and I was going to class and doing the whole college thing. It was my time to be on my own, learn how to manage my time with classes, work, and friends, and it was my time to be a college kid– and I had fun.
One of the reasons I chose to go to Vanguard, besides it being a perfect fit college for me and having great programs, was that it was very close to my grandparents (my dad’s parents). I adored my grandparents. They were two of the very best blessings in my life and I still miss them daily. I have fond memories of singing in the car with them, our silly dance parties to the Mills Brothers, Johnny Cash, Elvis, and other songs from the 40s. But one of my favorite things to do with them was to sit and talk for hours– and we could chat for hours on end. I used to love to ask them about their childhood, stories about my dad and his brother, and about all of their cruises they took once they were retired. But one of the things I could always talk to them about was being adopted and when I turned eighteen, we really took a lot of time to talk about being adopted. In fact, my grandfather had been adopted when he was a small child and being fellow adoptee, we had a special connection with that. After many conversations with them about adoption my grandfather said once, “Well, Jordy, I think that if you just pray about it and let God take control of the situation, He’ll give you a peace in your life about finding them and you’ll just know when it’s right. Just make sure that whenever you do it, you are in a good place in your life and have a good people in your life who will support you with your decision.”
I think my grandfather was spot on. And I have a peace in me now after taking some time to reflect once again on everything. And I have a super supportive husband who is there for me in this process. And I have amazing parents who have been supportive from the very beginning. And I have my aunts and uncles and cousins who I know are there for me. And I have some wonderful friends who are caring and supportive. And I feel confident in who I am and what I’m doing. So this is the time for me to do this. And I’m over my cold feet.
So, when am I sending in my notice to the registry and to open up my records?
My birthday! This year I will be twenty-six! Yeesh. But my birthday is September 28th and I’m going to send in the paperwork on my birthday. I think it’s symbolic for me and I think it will be the perfect time for me to send it in.