Am I Adopted?

My birth mother...photo courtesy of my "cousin".
My birth mother...photo courtesy of my "cousin". | Source

Considerations in selecting adoption

  • Know the types of adoptions and placements allowed in your state
  • Assess the risks involved including cost
  • Adopt domestically or through an agency that deals with foreign countries
  • Use an attorney
  • Use adoption facilitators - make sure they are reputable and reliable
  • Timing of the adoption; your age, the child's age, etc.
  • Older child adoptions

Am I adopted?

Early in my life adoption became an issue. A mean spirited mother of one of my friends once told me I was “just adopted.” When I asked my mother what adopted meant (I was seven at the time) she got upset. She was not just upset, she actually turned white like they do in the movies. She asked who told me and then said not to think about it. Being a seven year old it actually went out of my head until I turned 18. The seed was planted and adoption was something I needed to know more about. Whenever I would see anything about adoption I would read it in efforts to learn more but only about the word, not "my adoption".

When I turned 18 year old, I wanted my birth certificate so I could legally go into bars (18 was the legal drinking age back then.) My parents wouldn't give me my birth certificate so I decided to take things into my own hands. One day when my parents weren't home, I snooped around in their papers file until I found my birth certificate. Not only did I find my birth certificate but I found a surprise as well. It was nothing like anyone else’s. It listed my birth and baptismal dates, it wasn't issued by the state. Strange for sure. But again I was not curious enough to investigate further. I wondered but had other things on my mind and it wasn't important. The word "adoption" was still in my head but not on my mind.

Passing over the next two years brings me to a visit with a friend of my aunt’s. By this time I had married, moved upstate, and had a baby. My aunt’s friend had unofficially appointed herself my guardian because my parents had not yet moved upstate and here I was alone. She became my friend and we spent a lot of time together. She was in her late 60's early 70's and a lot of fun to be around. One day during a conversation she said she was trying to figure out which of my aunt’s brothers was my father. She said one had lost his wife, remarried and adopted a little girl…confirmation. She became visibly upset when she saw the surprise on my face. I told her not to worry she had just confirmed what I had suspected for a very long time. She apologized and nearly cried but we ended our visit on a friendly, happy note. Now I had a lot to seriously think about. Adoptions happen every day but this was the day I was sure it was me. My suspicions were no longer just suspicions but I knew now they were true. At this point in my life there was no more putting it out of my head and forgetting about it. Now I decided I needed to know, not just about the adoption but about a mother I had never seen or knew about. What to do? How to find out without upsetting my parents? I had another aunt who might be able to help. I sat down and wrote her a nice long letter explaining all that had happened. This was during the time people still wrote letters to each other as a way of communicating. You know, before Email. I waited impatiently for a reply and within a week her long, handwritten letter arrived. She lovingly explained all the details that led up to my adoption outlining carefully the great love my parents had for each other and how they had met. It seems both of my parents had prior serious relationships. My mother's prior fiancé had been killed during the war and my father's first wife died of a heart ailment. I cannot put forth all the details for fear of hurting other family members so if I seem vague at times please understand.

Part of me was a little crushed to finally find out I was truly adopted. Part of me was relived to know the truth. My parents were my parents no matter what the circumstances. They were the ones who nursed me through the chicken pocks, they helped me recover from the croup. They were there when I needed someone to teach me how to pray and how to ride a bike. They were the ones who paid for my beautiful wedding. They were the ones who celebrated the birth of my child with me. I loved them and appreciated them no end, they were my parents. But, there was someone else. There was someone who had given birth to me. Who was she? What was she like? Why did she give me away?

As a Post Script to this section, I need to explain. Back in 1947 people did not tell their children they were adopted, it just wasn't done. Years later when I spoke to my parents about it they told me they never wanted me to feel different. From the moment they brought me home they thought of me as their child and that was that. I cannot fault them for that but only appreciate the great love that they showered me with all their lives!

A very young me, with my parents.
A very young me, with my parents. | Source

Adoption History

  • The concept of adoption was not legally recognized in the United States until the 1850’s, with the inception of the first adoption statutes. While transfers of children to substitute parents had occurred informally since American colonial times, adoption statutes legitimized the informal adoptive arrangements which previously existed. During the early years of American society, no formal procedures existed for recording births or name (www.researchetcinc.com/historyofadoption.html)
  • Massachussets passed the first American Adoption Law in 1851
  • Following WWI the number of adoptions in the US grew rapidly

Information on My Adoption

Through family connections I was able to obtain information from the agency through which my adoption was finalized. I found out that my natural mother was a young lady from Czechoslovakia. (At this time it had not yet become the Czech Republic.) Further, she had come to this country to be a model and was staying with an aunt in New York City when she became pregnant. The father of the baby decided he didn’t want to be involved and disappeared. Communists were beginning to cause problems in Czechoslovakia so the aunt decided to return. Now this young woman was pregnant and alone in a foreign country at a time when unwed mothers were not acceptable. She needed to earn a living to support herself and decided the best thing for her child was adoption. She was very right. I had a wonderful life with loving parents and a wonderful, loving family from the day I was brought home.

She ceased all contact with the agency once I was officially adopted. She had come to visit daily prior to the adoption, but no one had heard from her since. We were both born in the month of December and I thought it would be a wonderful thing to let her know she did the right thing and I had a good life, I thought of her especially every December. I didn’t want to disrupt her life but I began to search. I used the guise of a family tree, never telling anyone the true reason I was searching. I seemed to come close a few times but always reached a dead end. I even contacted the consulate in Czechoslovakia but had no results. The Internet began to grow in popularity and I began to use it to search and try to find her but as anyone can imagine a single young lady can always get married or change her name. I stopped searching for many years.

About a year or so ago I saw a newspaper article about the agency that placed me and again began to wonder if I could find her. I decided to try Facebook. After all these years at the age of 61 I found someone who knew her. The sad part is she had passed away just two months before my contact. Again, I must leave out some details to avoid hurting any family members but through letters and lawyer contacts I was able to communicate with one of her family members and gain information about her.

She had never had any other children and had married late in life. She had continued her career and was very successful as was her husband. She owned a penthouse apartment in Manhattan. My concern was not her wealth, but her health and history. The relative I was in contact with graciously sent me pictures and filled me in on her health and her family’s health to the best of his ability. He also advised me that one of the letters I had written years ago provided me with his brother’s name but I had never thought to try to contact anyone outside of New York. Sadly no one knows exactly why she did what she did. I had not realized she actually had family in this country at the time. I knew she came here looking for a better life and I'm sure pregnancy was not in her plan. If only I could have spoken to her... What is meant to be will be. For whatever reason the Divine Plan was not for me to meet her. I know much more about her now and hope that she knows she did the right thing.

As a post script, adoption is not for everyone but for the life of me I can't figure out why. There are so many deserving children that want nothing more than a loving family! Adoption Laws vary from state to state although Federal Legislation sets the framework and affects the way many states handle adoption . The Legal Information Institute provides some basic Adoption Law information for all fifty states. There is also a National Center for Adoption Law and Policy Don't rule out adoption, it can make a world of difference in a child's life and yours too, I know, I speak from personal experience.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

I Wished for You: An Adoption Story (Marianne Richmond)
I Wished for You: An Adoption Story (Marianne Richmond)

I Wished For You: An Adoption Story (Mom's Choice Award Recipient, Book of the Year Award, Creative Child Magazine)

 
Handbook on Thriving as an Adoptive Family: Real-Life Solutions to Common Challenges
Handbook on Thriving as an Adoptive Family: Real-Life Solutions to Common Challenges

Handbook on Thriving As An Adoptive Family: Real-Life Solutions To Common Challenges

 

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Comments 45 comments

cyncags profile image

cyncags 5 years ago

Wow this is absolutely amazing! I haved desired to have children for as long as I can remember. But I married at 42 and so far have not had the priviledge to experience motherhood. I have also desired adoption but one of my concerns has been if the child will feel cheated. Although I know deep in my heart that if I ever adopted a child that he/she would be incredibly loved and have a home.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story!


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Dear Tills,

What a Beautiful story. I am sorry you were not able to meet your birth mother but maybe that is the way it was suppose to be. At least you connected the dots more than some. I have two adopted grown children and have always encouraged them to open that door but so far they have not. They are 24 and 22 so still young but they do have my blessing. You are sweet to think of family as to not hurting them. One day I pray it will all come together for you in a beautiful picture. I am sure you are your adopted parents gift from God.

Sunnie


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York Author

Thank you both. Adoption needs to be looked at as the wonderful blessing it is. I know how lucky I was and even though I never met my natural mother she holds a place in my heart but my real mother is the one who raised me and will always be my real mother.


gogetter4u profile image

gogetter4u 5 years ago from Texas

Wow, very informative.

Thanks.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

A fascinating story ~ beautifully told :)


ubanichijioke profile image

ubanichijioke 5 years ago from Lagos

A very touching and interesting story. The positive approach you embraced shows how charming and sweet you are. Be blessed


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York Author

Thank you for the blessing ubaniichijioke. I try to be and consider myself very lucky.


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

Aw Mary, what a coincidence! I wrote a silly love story abouth a Czech girl that had to go back with her parents. You had me in tears, and I can imagine your biological mom's ordeal. The main thing was the language mockering. Back in 1947, it was hard to succeed if you were foreign. Rita Hayworth was there, and the rest had to spend sleepless nights at Manhattan's run down hotels in order to see if some modeling agency would discover them. Sophia Loren came over already famous. Kim Novak, the Swedish Bombshell did her best. Even Charlize Theron was lucky enough to bump into a producer at a bank, near Hollywood boulevard. I can imagine your mom, a young blond sweet girl, from a Prague suburb, who fell for the guy she thought... would love her for life. No wonder I admire your writing and your kind spirit. Thanks for sharing this heartfelt story. Surprised I missed it! Have a nice one Mary!


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

Mary.. what an emotional tale. It must have a taken a lot to write this... You tell the story of your gradual realisation of being adopted in these pages and one can imagine the emotional journey and courage it has taken for you and your parents. As you say these were times when such details were not discussed within or without.. Your courage and love for your adoptive family and the care and understanding you show for your birth mother shows once more what many of us here already you- you are a warm, caring, loving soul with so much maturity and understanding. One can only imagine what it must have been for you when you heard snippets and suspicions. Its a big burden to carry as a child and as an adult. thank you so much for sharing this here.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thank you Lord....your words made me cry! I'm sure life here was not easy for her and she did what she knew she had to do.

Mohan, thank you too. You make me blush and want to be a better person.


remaniki profile image

remaniki 4 years ago from Chennai, India

Hi Mary,

I don't find words to describe my feelings after reading this hub of yours-so open, honest and above all very touching. I loved the way you have written your life story taking care not to tarnish your family's image in any way by revealing certain things. Great hub.

I'll remember this hub forever in my life because you have touched my heart through this narration. Cheers, Rema.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

What an emotional story. You have written this with sensitivity and honesty in a wonderful way. I applaud your courage and determination to find your biological mother. It is sad that the end of your long journey was too late to speak to her. It was hard for a single mother way back then and these things were not talked about. I have no doubts that she thought about you often and would wonder how you had grown. What she did was indeed best for you and you did have a good life.

I had a brother who was adopted at birth, I met him for the first time when I was 56. He was overwhelmed to find that he had brothers and sisters. It was an emotional time for all.

Thank you for sharing this part of your life.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thank you Remaniki...my family means the world to me and I am glad I was able to convey that. I truly appreciate your beautiful comment.

Rosemay, how exciting it must have been to meet your brother! God bless all of you!!!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Til....I am catching my breath. I have learned something brand new about a vital part of your life. You tell this story with such grace, I was enthralled by each small movement that ultimately led to your discovery.

I cannot claim to closely relate to the myriad of emotions I am sure you dealt with for a period of time, but I can say I am proud of your uncanny ability to understand, accept, and integrate this discovery to blend perfectly with the realities of your life to that point and look to all that matters and ever will matter.....LOVE. You are amazing, Til Peace my friend.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Hi Mary, Thank you for sharing your personal story with us. Life is full of surprises. You had your share. You are an awesome woman!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Effer. You know I never really thought of it any other way and when I met a gal in business school that hated her adoptive parents and was hell bent on finding her real mother I was shocked! I guess its all attributed to good upbringing ;)

I agree SS, we never know what tomorrow will bring. Thank you for the compliment.


Rolly A Chabot profile image

Rolly A Chabot 3 years ago from Alberta Canada

Hi Mary... what a beautiful, touching story you have. Thank you for sharing with us in such a lovely way... you are special and we have all adopted you as ours... thats final.

God bless and hugs from Canada


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Rolly, what more could I ask for? I glory in friens like you and am only to happy to call you family! Hugs gratefully accepted and love and hugs sent back your way?


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA

Although it's sad that you missed meeting your birth mother, I'm glad that you were able to discover some of your roots and that you are at peace with it. Your story is so beautifully written, thanks so much for sharing this very personal part of your life.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Stephanie. I was PO'd when I found out she had died just two months earlier, but then I realized it was meant to be for some reason. It was such a part of my life for so long and now its just the past.


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 3 years ago from North-East UK

Mary, an emotional read, an interesting read too. Not getting to contact your mother by only 2 months must have devastated you at the time, I can't even imagine how that must have felt but your heart truly is with your real parents, that shines off the page. Not knowing the full truth about your mother will always leave you wondering but you sound like you've already made a lot of sense of your situation. I hope others read this article for a 'real' experience of adoption and also of self-discovery.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Jools. I would be thrilled if this helped someone else. It is a difficult position to be in but if you have wonderful parents like mine were, its a no-brainer. I am thankful every day. Thanks for your lovely comment.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Mary, this is a beautiful story for the fact that you found such loving parents who treated you as their own child. I believe your mom had no choice given the times and circumstances she lived in but to give you up for adoption. That you were not destined to meet her is what was willed and great to see you took it in your stride. I'm glad to see the love you have for your parents who raised you. I admire you for this.

Voted up and beautiful.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thank you Rajan. I guess I was smart enough to realize how lucky I was and I truly loved my parents dearly.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Hi mary, what an amazing story! And well done for tracking down the family, I am so sorry that you didn't get to meet her, but the love your adopted family gave you is priceless, the photo of your 'real' mother, in italics because your adopted mother did all the motherly things and was your real mother, the photo is amazing, so pretty, beautiful hub mary, voted up and shared, nell


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Dear Mary, You've shared such a heart felt story here that will certainly touch the lives of those who discover they are adopted. It's interesting to find out that children ultimately want to make that connection with a birth parent, who for a variety of reasons, had to make that ultimate heart wrenching decision to give up a baby. Your story is engaging and written with such delicacy to avoid any hurt on the part of your true Mom and Dad, the folks who dedicated their lives to raising you as their own, and without bitterness toward the young girl who had to face this decision.

My Mom worked for fifteen years taking care of newborns at a facility where unwed mothers gave up their babies for adoption. I've often wondered if they wished they could see their offspring again later in life.

Voted up, awesome and beautiful. Hugs.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

You were such a super spy. There are times when we have a gut feeling about something and it keeps nagging at us until we solve the puzzle. I appreciate your story just as much reading it a second time. Thanks again for sharing.


jhamann profile image

jhamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

Very well written story of you search. I enjoy every word and was truly absorbed into the story from beginning to end. Thank you for a great read. Jamie


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing from your personal experience on adoption. Your story is so touching and I'm sure it will help others out there to make a good decision when faced with this question of adoption. Blessings, dear friend.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Nell, I was frustrated when I found out how close I had been but it wasn't in the stars for me to meet her. I adored my parents and was (and still am) thankful for them and their love.

Peg, it is a blood thing that pulls on you I guess, you just need to know. It is not an easy decision to make and I would think most young girls do not make it lightly (giving up a baby). I know I was one of the lucky ones. Wanting to see their children later in life has a lot to do with emotion and circumstance. Some feel it is better for everyone if they don't. Thanks for the votes but especially for the hugs!

Sunshine (Linda) that would be me, always finding the Christmas presents ahead of time, always looking for answers. Thank YOU for coming back a second time.

Jhamann thank you for stopping by and reading about my journey.

Teaches I'm sure every adoptee has their own story, whether real or imagined. I hope my story does help others. I was actually asked once to speak to a young girl who was adopted and rebellious because of it. I return blessings to you dear friend.


sallybea profile image

sallybea 2 years ago from Norfolk

tillsontitan

I can only imagine how difficult it was for you to write this article. I am sorry that you were never able to connect with your blood mother.

Your adopted parents nevertheless must be so proud of you. Thank you for sharing your journey.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Sallybea, it was a bit of a let down but then, it wasn't meant to be. Thank you for reading about my journey.


techygran profile image

techygran 2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

Hi tillsontitan, Thank you for posting this honest and intimate account of your adoption journey. I have had the privilege of being part of an adoption search (as a friend's encourager when she was looking for a child she placed) and know something of the range of emotions that come from a reunion, and the challenges of re-building a relationship that was ruptured at a significant time in the life of both the child and the biological parent(s). I am happy that you enjoyed-- and appreciate-- a loving relationship with the parents who raised you. That is frequently not the case, even for children raised with biological parents.


WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 2 years ago

Awesome. I was also adopted and felt like you did when you found out-- a little unnerved, and also relieved. And my family is my family no matter what. Thanks for sharing your story.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Techygran you must certainly have experienced a range of emotions too. Helping your friend through her journey cannot always have been easy. My parents were truly wonderful people and I was so blessed, but I know what you mean, not everyone appreciates the wonder that is their parents.

WiccanSage, thanks for sharing. You truly understand this hub! Did you ever find your birth mother?


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 years ago from South Africa

Dear Mary, I accidentally stumbled upon this heart-touching hub of yours. Adoption is surely one of the most sensitive issues, affecting so many people in different ways. How wonderful would it have been if you could have only had one open discussion with your beautiful biological mother, but as you've said, it was not part of the divine plan for your life. I think everybody knows by now that adoption should be transparent. An adopted child should not feel rejected, but very special because decisions that were made was (99%) in their favour - which is not always the case in the lives of biological parents and their children.

Thank you for sharing your story. Your perspective on it will surely inspire others in your shoes to accept what was/is with gratitude.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Martie. I totally agree, in most cases an adopted child is especially chosen and a special gift to couples who can't have children of their own. I hope I do inspire at least one someone to accept the way it is.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 15 months ago

Wow! Mary, you parents must be proud of the woman you became. Thank God for people like your parents, and your birth mother must have loved you more than life to do what was best for you.

I do hope you did the family tree.

Blessings and Hugs dear Mary.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 15 months ago from New York Author

Thank you Shyron. I am truly blessed to have had such wonderful parents. I still wonder what made my birth mother tick, but that's something I'll never know.

Which family tree ;)

Hugs.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 15 months ago from sunny Florida

It must be a calming feeling, if that is even the write term, to have your questions answered. And you obviously were quite blessed to have found 'parents' (or you found each other, I should say) who loved you and cared for you and made you feel you are truly family...and that, my dear, is the best way for this to turn out..

Angels are on the way to you this morning ....

'


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 15 months ago from New York Author

Patricia it certainly turned out very well for me. I couldn't ask for more. I hope the angels are following you everywhere you go!


sujaya venkatesh profile image

sujaya venkatesh 15 months ago

as long as love hovers its worth being any child


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 15 months ago from New York Author

Beautifully said Sujaya!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 14 months ago from America

So sad you never got to meet your birth mother. I think everyone needs to know where they came from good or bad. Thank God for your wonderful parents.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 14 months ago from New York Author

Yes Moonlake, I was one of the lucky ones. My parents were wonderful.

I came so close to my mother, but it wasn't meant to be.

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