With this mindset, I’ve gone on to be the first in my family to graduate not only high school, but obtain a master’s degree, as well.
The self-actualization movement made popular by Abraham Maslow in the later 20th century made perfect sense to me.“Of course,” I’d think. “Why would anyone believe they couldn’t grow throughout their life to reach extraordinary heights?” To this day, I continue to thirst for new knowledge, a new experience, or a conversation that helps break apart even the most seemingly agreed-upon fundamentals of human existence.
At an early age, I learned that my birth mother was very young when she had me, so she put me up for adoption so older parents could take care of me. Even as a child, this made perfect sense. As a teenager, I remember sitting in 9th-grade math class knowing that this was the age my birth-mother had me. I looked around at my friends who were still children like me and thought, “Oh my goodness… imagine if one of these girls tried to raise a child!”
At 18, I received a letter. My adoption was a closed adoption, which means that no one had records of the birth parents. But a letter had been put in a safety-deposit box, to be opened when I was 18.
The letter was light blue like a robin’s egg and had big bubbly handwriting. It didn’t say much other than that she loved me and that she was 15 and that she knew this was for the best. Included was a poem (which I later found out to be the lyrics to the opening song of an 80’s soap opera!).
In sophomore year of college, the internet had finally grown to a more user-friendly platform, and so I wrote a quick blurb about my story on an adoption website in case my birth-mother would read it. I was happy to meet her if she wanted to, but wanted more-so to let her know that I was safe and life was good. I also wanted to thank her because she gave me life when she could have chosen to abort me.
A few hours later I walked with my friend Mike to the gym and my cell phone rang.
“Hello,” I answered.
A woman replied that she had read my post and that she thinks she found my birth-mother. My birth-mother had written a similar story on another website and this woman’s job in a non-profit was to help match adopted children up with birth-parents.
I stopped walking.
“Would you like for me to give her a call or would you like for me to call and check to make sure it’s your birth-mother?” she said.
“Um, yes, can you please call her?” I asked.
She called back five minutes later.
“It looks like it's a match,” she said.
“She’d love to speak with you. Can she call you? If so, what time would be good?” she asked.
My birth-mother and I spoke on the phone later that night. Her name is Susan. She was 35 at the time of that call, about the same age as I am now writing this story. We spoke on the phone for about two hours and agreed to meet later that summer. She had moved down to Charlotte from Buffalo, NY and lived there with her husband.
Later that summer, I drove down to meet her. After the initial awkwardness, we had a great meeting. I met her husband, Michael. He’s not my birth-father, but I was so happy to see Susan with such a loving husband.
We’ve been close ever since. Medical issues made it impossible for Susan to birth another child of her own, but fate would have it that our adoption story came full circle. She adopted a daughter, Lindsay, and I’m happy to say that I now have two sisters.
I do know my birth father's name, but don’t plan to reach out to him. It’s not that I wouldn’t meet him. It’s more of an intuitive feeling that it doesn’t really matter. He didn’t carry me for nine months, so I never really developed a relationship with the guy. With Susan, my first nine months were spent with her, so when we met again as adults, it was like meeting up with an old friend twenty years later.
As I grow older and my wife and I start to grow our family, I feel even more blessed to have been adopted. It’s been a gift in my life that’s allowed me to begin a self-development journey that would never have happened without it.
Being adopted helped me step into my superpower.
My hope is that in sharing my story, I can help other adoptees step into their own.