So. . . I was adopted as a baby. Obviously, right? That's why you're here. Because adoption is inherently fascinating, and how could you not click to find out a little more?
Well, yeah, I'm one of the extremely lucky kids out there who was born into a not-so-ideal situation but—thanks to the bravery of my birth mom and tenacity of my parents—quickly got scooped up and gifted an amazing life.
I got the most wonderful parents ever (hi, mom and dad!). They were sooo eager to have a child, and somehow the planets aligned to bring us together. Back in 1986 they flew to New York where I was born and brought me back to my new home in Oakland, California—as their daughter. I thank my lucky stars for that every day.
I grew up always knowing I was adopted, and I thought that was pretty cool. I talked about it often with friends and many times found myself daydreaming about what my birth parents might be like, or if I might have siblings somewhere out there in the world.
When social media became a thing, I jumped in, elated at the thought that my birth mother might one day find me through this fancy thing called the internet. (It wasn't until much later that I found out that she didn't even know my name and never would have been able to find me). But ever eager, I plastered myself on the internet. I put myself out there on all those family reunion sites, and shared my life openly online.
She never found me, but about 10 years ago, I found her. Yup, on Facebook.
I immediately pounded out a probably-too-emotional-but-still-very-respectful-and-sensitive message, talked to her on the phone the very next day, and flew across the country to meet her (for the first time since I was a wee little baby) the very next week. It was magical. I don't know how else to describe it. So, so, so unbelievably special.
As soon as I met my birth mom and saw just how much we had in common, a fire ignited in my heart to find the other half: my birth father.
This was something I never in a million years thought would be possible, since I had no name, no photograph, no location—no context whatsoever. My birth'ma didn't even know who he was. Annnnnd, of course, he never knew I existed. So that's that, right? That little hole in my heart that was aching to find it's missing connection would just have to make peace with remaining vacant. And honestly, it did. Life is awesome and I sure as heck wasn't going to waste it thinking too much about something I would never have.
Well, fast forward to now. The age of science, DNA testing, and massively exciting tools that enable us to find thousands of blood relatives we'd never otherwise know simply by spitting in a tube. Suddenly, the prospect of being able to find my birth father became real. And I didn't wait a beat to start my search.
I shipped my DNA off to 23andme and Ancestry DNA and crossed my fingers for relative matches that would enable me to find my birth father. It took a few years of DNA research, digging, messages to distant relatives, and hope, but just a couple months ago, a first cousin match popped up. Hours of deep internet stalking later, I found him.
Oh my god.
Oh my god.
Oh my god.
That moment was a rush of emotion like you wouldn't believe. There were tears. I messaged him. He responded. I talked to him. I swapped stories with him. He introduced me to my half-brother (wow, wow, wow—awesome). And my aunts. And my cousins. And my grandparents. And, well, you know the rest of the story because I even filmed a video with him! The video you just watched above. Needless to say, this has been every bit as wondrous as finding my birth mother was 10 years ago. I'm still pinching myself to make sure this is all real :)
I hope that—at the very least—this story brings a smile to your face because the world can be pretty awesome sometimes.
If you're a fellow adoptee hoping to one day connect with your birth family, I hope this inspires you to keep forging ahead on your search. I know it can be a long and difficult road and you'll surely hit a lot of roadblocks, but power through those feelings of hopelessness. You've got this. And when you do find them, reach out with the utmost sensitivity. If you need support or advice, I'm here for you.
And if you one day find out you have a child or sibling or niece or nephew or cousin or grandchild you never knew about (hey—it could very well happen to you), I hope this inspires you to embrace that beautiful gift with open arms and lots of love. Because it truly is a beautiful thing.
Aren't they cute? My parents adopted me as a baby, and I wouldn't have it any other way. My life was shaped and molded by these two—my mom and dad—and I'm soooo grateful for that. I am extremely glad I was put up for adoption enabling me and my parents to find each other. I love them to pieces and I'm beyond grateful for the life I've been able to lead because of them. Thanks, mom and dad! xo
My birth mom had me when she was just 23 and she was not at all ready to be a mom. She wanted to give another family who couldn't have children a chance to have a baby, so she put me up for adoption. More than 20 years later I found her through Facebook and booked a flight to meet her the very next week. It was a beautiful, magical reunion, and I cherish the bond that immediately formed beyond words.
After 31 years, I finally got to meet my b'pa (birth'pa) and give him a giant hug. That feeling is indescribable. He is an incredible human being, and I continue to be blown away by all our commonalities, even though I grew up without an ounce of his in-person influence. Genes are a powerful thing. And my heart is so happy to finally be whole. People keep saying I have his smile and his eyes, which is pretty cool‚ because I've never had someone's smile and eyes before :) I really hope I also have his heart, because it is huge. Love you, b'pa!
Growing up an only child, I always wondered if I had any half-siblings out there—but I never thought I’d actually find out. Well, I do and I did! Eeee! I have a half-brother, Austin, so of course I had to surprise him at his college graduation where we met for the first time. I'm excited beyond words that you exist, Austin, and I can’t wait to dish out all the sister torment you’ve missed out on all these years. Love you, little bro!
23andMe was the first DNA test I took, and in 6 weeks I was connected with over 1,000 blood relatives. I was able to send some of them messages, and it helped me connect dots that ultimately helped me find my birth father. Plus, you get fun information about your geographic ancestry composition, genetic health risks and carrier status, and beyond. I can't recommend them highly enough! This is my special referral link if you want to order a kit for yourself :)
I ordered an Ancestry DNA kit well after 23andme hoping that I may find different relative connections there—and I did! Ancestry DNA is where I eventually matched with my first cousin and great aunt, which made it possible for me to find my birth father. I will be forever grateful for Ancestry DNA kits for making that possible and changing my life. Who knows, maybe it can change yours too! This is my special referral link if you wanna order one for yourself!
I'll continue sharing occasional videos relating to adoption over on my YouTube channel, so if you'd like to stay tuned, head over there and subscribe! I also publish weekly videos about vegan living so you can get some wellness inspiration while you're at it! See you there :)
If you're interested in receiving e-mail updates from me about adoption and beyond (I also talk about healthy living, compassion and vegan recipes), I invite you to join the fun right here! I promise not to spam you or overwhelm your inbox (I only send very occasional messages) and you can unsubscribe any time. Cheers!