dear mom + dad.

when I give Brooklyn my blessing to find her bio family when she is ready, like you gave us, I want to reassure her to never forget me. never forget our inside jokes, nicknames, favorite time of day to cuddle. I want her to know she can always lean on me if the road to her biological past gets bumpy, blurry or seems untouchable.

through my journey, I never want you two to feel like i’m forgetting you. that i am needing something more. nothing will ever be replaced. nothing will be lost. never forgotten.

I have never been more grateful for the life you have given me. the opportunities because of your endless love and huge hearts. the lessons I learned through trial and error and through your stories and experiences, will trickle down to my kids, biological or adopted.

mom, I want to be exactly like you. you were my best friend. I was scared as hell of you because you were so strong + independent + vocal. you were strict but loving. you were protective. you have been gone for almost 18 years, more than half my life, and I still can remember the softness of your hands and they way you wiped your mouth during meals.

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dad, I look up to you. your passion to live for other people above yourself is a quality that’s inspiring. you bend over backwards for people and never expect anything in return. you know how rare that is especially these days, right? you have taught me to never give up even when all the health and emotional obstacles hit me like a ton of bricks. you have been a huge advocate when I was struggling in school and my rock when i got my heart broken for the first time. being left to raise two teens girls on your own was no easy task but you always stood tall and loved so big. the love that you have shown Brooklyn is nothing short of natural and welcoming.

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no matter where this road leads me, to immediate blood or farther down the lineage, it’s because of you guys and the way you raised me that I can handle what’s ahead of me. you have taught me and prepared me for this part of my life. I will still need you; I will still want you, whether long distance over the phone or through my prayers to heaven.

you both are literally impossible to replace now and forever.

be brave.

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happy BIRTHday to me.

to be welcomed. to be encouraged. to be informed. to be supported. to be validated. those were what I dreamt of when looking for my biological family. although never something I expected, especially on or near my birthday. the past few weeks my mind as been consumed with the potential of a biological mother especially with Mother’s Day nearing as well as my mom’s anniversary of when she passed. the thought of finding or even connecting with my birth father side seemed impossible and a thought that quickly left my mind as it entered.

Ancestry was one of the stepping stones that began my journey. 2016 I bought a kit to find my ethnicity. never thought it would be the link to a part of my heritage that I thought was impossible to find and there it was. an entire family within arms reach of me. searching and looking for the connections between me and them. I had been in minimal contact with one of my highest matches off and on since Feb of this year. a man already offering me information that may be helpful yet I had no feedback to give since mine was so limited. Fast forward to last week.

April 17, 2018 my life changed forever. After being encouraged to log back onto my account after a few months away, I dove head first into the researching centimorgans, clicking back n forth between profiles, looking at maps, searching names on google. everything starting to fall into place. this man, the man behind my highest match is my biological uncle likely on my fathers side! can you believe it?! 6 days into knowing this and I still cannot. I bluntly contacted him and told him that I had a strong belief he was my uncle and his dad is my grandfather. his response, “call me!” if you know me, you know I am not one to just pick up the phone but I didn’t think twice! shaking with nerves within minutes of talking everything seemed so natural. he was very open to helping me connect the dots. we talked timelines, siblings, cities, dates.

this family owes me nothing. this family already has given me more than I could have ever asked. the time. the effort. the excitement. the welcome.

I got to meet this wonderful man, and his family. stunned by our resemblances. mesmerized by our comfort level. fascinated by the instant connection.

my newly found uncle and son sat in the middle of Starbucks yesterday and sang me ‘happy birthday’ with a wooden toy cake in front of me. never would have imagined this would unfold let alone on my birthday!

the story keeps unfolding. keeps evolving. more hearts invested. more stories connecting…

to be continued.

be brave.

dear birth mom.

I feel a ton of pressure on my chest right now. Trying to figure out what I want to say to, what I want to ask you, my birth mom. I only ever dreamed about being able to write you. In those dreams I knew exactly what I wanted to say. I knew exactly what I wanted to tell you and show you.

I was a little girl who wanted to know where my curls (which I hated at the time) came from and if your favorite toy to play with was a dolly like mine.

I was a struggling pre-teen who just lost her mom tragically and was curious if you had ever felt such heart break at a vulnerable age.

I was a young lady trying to get through school and wondering if you had the same testing anxiety that I was dealing with.

I was engaged curious what your dream proposal was and what your ideal wedding would entail.

I was pregnant with my first child and wondering how low or high you carried your first baby and your biggest pregnancy craving (mine was Wendy’s French fries with their pump ketchup and red vines… although not in one bite.)

I was beginning to grow our family through adoption and was eager to know how you chose life and adoption for me.

I was confident in where I stood, how I felt and lately I just feel more confused and more emotionally uncertain. How do I put 34 years of questions into ONE letter, THE letter. A letter I wrote multiple times to my future child’s mama’s but this one is hugely different. The end result being beyond comparable. Still a “yes” or a “no” to conclude the journey and I am fully aware that this may be my dead end.

Where do I start? My whole life is flashing before my eyes; my brain and my heart equally want to explode into a million pieces of thoughts, emotions, tears, smiles, memories, vacations, questions.

Dear birth mom, I was such a huge baby my parents had to switch me to soy milk because I drank so much milk and would rip the nipple of the bottle as they tried taking it away each feed. I was always playing dress up, mommy, school, and dancing to Disney musicals. I won a medal for archery when I was 6ish. I made the honor roll in middle school and in middle school I was also sent to detention for saying a not so nice word bc a kid smashed a cupcake all over my backpack and the principal happened to walk by when I said it. I played right forward on a competitive soccer team but failed to tryout in high school because we moved states and I was insecure. The first time I fell in love (I thought) was when I was 14 to a boy in a band. i grew up always knowing about my adoption. My mom and dad opened the gate of communication for the get-go. I graduated Summa Cum Laude at Arizona State. I love taking pictures-especially of the ones I love most. I have been a best friend for 22 years straight (I hope, ask her). I successfully completed 9 years of counseling after loosing my mother when I was 16 and dealing with codependency. I became an aunt to twins in 2008 and my sister was my best friend my entire childhood and longer.  I met my husband in a bar and married him three years later (don’t worry I played hard to get). I found my passion as a Certified Personal trainer after a dramatic weight loss and helped change lives. I am strong and gaining independence and confidence daily. I was one of those women who thought it would take me forever to get pregnant and got knocked up on our honeymoon just 8 months after being married. I gave birth to my son at 29 weeks due to a rare autoimmune. I became completely submerged in the adoption community as I strive to help and meet adoptive parents, learn from birth mothers, and advocate for adoptees. We wanted to grow our family but I knew adoption was our next route because of you. Your choice. Your courage. The life you gave me by placing me in the arms of my mom and dad. I wanted to pay it forward. Honor women in your position the only way I knew how.

I hope this letter finds you peace + love + light and rids any pain + guilt + sadness.

be brave.

do I even really exist?

it sounds dramatic, I know. but do I? after getting court order approved to unseal my file from archives I discovered my file is missing.

yup.

gone.

missing.

untraceable.

no where to be found.

the first question that comes to mind is how in the world can this happen? my second question was “is this common?” I have always labeled my life events as uncommon. not typical. not normal. from adoption to house burning down to witnessing and experiencing my mothers death to premature labor of my son to diagnosis of rare autoimmune to our failed match etc. (all while leaving out other large and small details). not sure why I was so surprised that this was yet another part of my journey that had an “uncommon hiccup”.

I have to be honest, this STUNG. it brought me to fear. it brought me to regret. it brought me to my knees. it brought me to tears. I have never felt like I didn’t belong until now. I have never felt empty until now. I had no idea this was a thing. Going into this I thought my “worse case scenario” was that I would get a basic file and no reunion. the reality is I could walk away from all of this with nothing. no information and no way of getting information.

all of this has left me so confused. mainly because from the beginning I haven’t been able to answer the common asked question, “why now? why are you searching now?” so currently I feel like “ya, why did I!?; why now?”

what I find most bizarre is most my childhood/adult life, I have always told people (including myself) that my adoption was so closed it was basically like my file did not exist… ironic huh? I wasn’t sure how to explain “closed adoption” especially with zero information regarding my adoption. since my adoption didn’t take place through an agency I thought my options were very more limited. I found this to be the best way (or potential excuse) to admit that I couldn’t (didn’t want) acquire information. I put those terms in parentheses because these are unexpected emotions that are coming up during this process that I am currently trying to work through even on paper.

A missing file doesn’t mean the journey is over. thankfully we have a plan b. I am so happy and relieved (still terrified and a tiny bit pessimistic) this isn’t the end. as much as I want to stop at times, I am not one to give up.

plus, its hard to give up when I have such an amazing support system rallying behind me. encouraging me to be encouraged. pushing me to keep moving forward aside from this bump in the road. reminding me that this is just one more piece of my puzzle. my tribe is validating that it is okay to be SAD; to be discouraged. we are recognizing that this is a unique journey. the unknown is scary. But turning around is not an option.

I do exist.

I do have history.

I am loved.

be brave.

“courage is the commitment to begin without the guarantee of success.”

“not a product of love.”

Not a product of love was recently spoken to me. although this was likely due to a generational gap, it literally caught me off guard. you know that awkward chuckle like you can’t believe what you just heard but you know you heard it but did you hear it correctly?! this conversation was over the phone with a 96 year old lawyer.

here is the context:

as I decided to start the process I knew I didn’t have much to start with. my adoption is closed and was not through an agency. I did some digging/asking around and got the name of the law firm who potentially finalized my adoption. after days of back and forth, emails, messages and waiting, I finally got a call back. the conversation was rushed, unproductive. I asked him if/how I could go about finding information. not looking for a reunion but looking for any non-identifying information. he asked if “the lady” (eyeball #1) aka my bio mom had reached out in the last 33 years and of course I replied no. he then proceeds to tell me I should just “let it be” (eye roll #2) since she hasn’t set out to look for me. I decide to ask him for direction instead of information bc I was not wishing for this conversation to continue any further. that’s when eye roll #3 happens… without really giving me any answers, he proceeds to ramble that she likely doesn’t want to be found because “let’s face it you obviously weren’t a product of love.” my jaw literally hit the floor. I know for sure I shook my head back and forth too as if I just got hit with a 2×4. I did that awkward chuckle-stumble on my words- choked-coughed reaction… excuse me. say what? i quickly tried to give him the benefit of the doubt in my head but the shock overtook. I had to end the call right there. I simply thanked him for his time and he wished me “luck with my rare disease” (eye roll #4).

buh bye.

In the adoption world a lot of phrases and verbiage get thrown around. some that make us want to smack our palms to our faces. some that make you actually think about the other perspective. most terms/phrases unintentionally mind-nubbing, some intentionally hurtful and some just due to lack of education or experience. this one was just…… ignorant. in my opinion.

yes.

I was a product of love because my mom chose life.

she reached out for help.

she chose adoption.

she chose my mom and dad to raise me.

she had a choice.

she made a choice.

that IS a product of love.

I AM a product of love.

be brave.

a full circle: just beginning.

“I learned that courage was not the absences of fear but the triumph over it.”

when I started this blog and created the title, “A Full Circle,” going full circle from my adoption to adopting. the full circle continues to go around as recently I have decided to make a choice I never thought I’d make.

i’ve never felt empty. yearning to know. never felt neglected or helpless. i can say I only have less than a handful of times in my life that i really wanted to know my biological roots. simple, basic information, not real reunion. I don’t even know how much I weighed or the time of my birth; the details I have of Brooklyn’s. the time i remember the most was soon after my mom traumatically passed away in 2000. i was going through the processes of grief, reaching out for something/someone to fix my pain. cure the trauma. bring her back. I felt empty, mostly because she was my best friend. I was literally obsessed with my mom, my sis can validate that.

after some time, I honestly can’t give an accurate timeframe here, I was able to pin point that the thought of searching, reaching out, was a bandaid; to fix my mom’s death; to bring her back. I didn’t feel right about continuing the search at that point. so back to the furthest back burner it went.

recently I have been so submerged into the adoption world- working with adoption, my sister finding her biological family via ancestry, a best friend is reliving it again, I am discovering little details regarding Brooklyn’s biological family…

I’m learning that I am eager to know more about me and where I come from. I want to know these details just as much as I want to know Brooklyns; her heritage. her siblings. her family outside of ours. because her family exists outside of us.

this has been one of the hardest post for me to write because my mind is still trying to wrap around all of this. wrap around the idea that I am “ready” to take this next step. that the unknown may or may not be revealed. fear of rejection. fear of acceptance. hard truths. reality. I am so excited yet so fearful mainly because for 33 years I have been more than okay with not knowing yet here I am ready to find out. I keep reminding myself that it is okay that I am changing my mind and it is okay if I want to stop the search.

I can’t wait to write and share this journey of finding my biological family with whomever wants to follow. I think this may be a very important story to tell for any side of the triad- birth parents, adoptive parents and adult adoptees.

be brave.

the party prep.

As I am busy pinning ideas, jotting down my ‘to do’ list, hopping from store to store, I keep getting stopped in my own tracks. there is a haunting voice in my head. one that I cannot shake. one that I recognize so vividly.

“what if this doesn’t work out?”

I must have said that to myself a million times for 7 months.

buying baby clothes; “what if this doesn’t work out.”

picking out a new crib; “what if this doesn’t work out?”

deciding on a car seat; “what if this doesn’t work out?”

decorating the nursery; “what if this doesn’t work out?”

making travel plans; “what if this doesn’t work out?”

I am currently covered in party paraphernalia, trying to collect my thoughts to make this dream birthday a reality. it’s thoughts like this that keep me trying to truly grasp that we have our daughter. that we are about to celebrate being her parents for 365 days. I am trying to shake this voice, rid the negative context. to an extent this thought was right where it was supposed to be. what if it didn’t work out? a birth mom not chose our family or experience a failed adoption right before baby due, like we did. the world of adoption is so unknown. it was a realistic thought at the time , a rational fear at the time, a potential outcome at the time but it isn’t relevant in my life anymore.

this really is the strangest feeling. knowing + living with her right in front of me but being so used to shutting down my thoughts of excitement and planning for the future. It took us 7 months to find our baby and she’s been with us for 10 months (almost 11) and this all still feels so surreal. a dream.

a girl that has been prayed for, loved on is almost one.

be brave.