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Many adoptive parents are faced with the dreaded request from their kiddos…they want to reunite with, or at least find out about, their biological families. Of my four adopted children, only one expressed an interest in doing so. The thought struck fear into my little, mom heart!

Angel came to live with us as a foster child at the age of three, still having weekly visits with his mom and four siblings. His parent’s rights were terminated shortly afterwards and his siblings were adopted by an aunt. We kept in touch with his aunt, and the siblings visited a few times. Within a year, however, the aunt relinquished custody because their bio mom kept interfering…meeting them at the bus stop, trying to take them, and so forth. (His bio mom was a mentally ill drug addict with HIV and she could be violent.) The four children were split up and placed in shelters or foster homes here and there, and our life carried on as usual. Angel accommodated well in our loving family, and we lost touch with his siblings.

One day when Angel was a teenager, he came to me and said he wondered where his brothers and sisters were. I did, too, as my heart had always ached for these children for whom a normal family life was not possible. It would have been easy to tell Angel that he was in our family now and his bio family no longer mattered, but that wasn’t true. As a young Hispanic man, who looked nothing like his Caucasian parents, he had a right to know more about his heritage. If I didn’t support him now, he would only look himself in a few years when he became an adult.

I contacted the social worker in the Department of Children Youth And Families adoption unit to have her look into Angel’s request. Within a few days, she called back. Because the siblings had aged out of the system, their information was no longer available. However, she DID have Angel’s aunt’s phone number, which I gladly took. Angel bravely called his aunt, and started to cry immediately when she started to cry when he told her who he was. She had continued to have a supportive relationship with his siblings, but she had always longed for the one who was adopted…Angel! They talked on the phone for hours as she filled him in on their history and he filled her in on his. But, most importantly, she gave him the telephone numbers of his siblings.

Angel savored the numbers at first, but, one by one, he called them. Each had led a difficult life; the boys having lived in shelters and group homes and the girls in and out of foster care and never adopted. But they were still tight as a family, proud of their Hispanic heritage. They had each other. And now Angel had them, too!

Angel and one sister, who still lived in our state, met for a long, glorious lunch! They found each other immediately at the restaurant because she looked like a female version of Angel. They ran to each other and screeched and hugged and cried. They found out they both have the same laugh (AND same dry sense of humor.) They have kept in touch since that lunch date, and talk on the phone regularly.

Angel’s other sister died from leukemia when she was twelve…a sad, lonely death with no family to call her own to support her.

His older brother, Fernando, lives in Florida. And looks just like an older version of Angel, judging from the pictures they exchanged on their phones. They talked and texted often. His brother had lived in group homes and then in a homeless shelter when he aged out of the system. Following a job lead to Florida, his brother obtained a job, found a wife, and had 2 children. He and his wife work 2 jobs to make ends meet, and “Grandma” lives with them to care for the children in their one bedroom apartment. They are incredibly HAPPY, especially his brother who now had a family to call his own!

Angel’s 18th birthday present was airfare to visit Fernando for a week. Alone. (Yes, I trusted him!) He is a mature young man with a good head on his shoulders. (Plus I did check his brother out to make sure he did not have a criminal record, unlike his oldest brother who is in prison for selling drugs. HE had chosen his mother’s lifestyle…) Getting off the plane in Florida, Angel was welcomed with open arms into Fernando’s family, everyone crying and gathering around him in joyous celebration. Angel still laughs about his two young nieces, grabbing him at the knees for hugs, almost toppling him to the ground. He visited for a week in their tiny apartment, sharing their meager food, (and becoming the hero uncle when he ordered take-out pizza and Chinese food!) He came home with a new sense of self and contentment. An adult who knows who he is. For his birthday every year, he will be asking for a plane ticket to visit Florida.

Of course, this is my story of what happened to him. I have asked Angel to write a few words, and he did as follows:

“It was an amazing feeling to finally have contact with my biological family. After years of waiting and wondering, my questions would finally have well over due answers. Ever since I was able to remember who they were, I had an empty feeling in my heart. When I was adopted the empty feeling was satisfied but not filled. when i was able to hear their voices, my heart started filling up with happiness and joy. When i finally saw my brother and sister, it was overwhelming and exciting! That doesn’t mean I don’t love my adoptive family. They have done a lot for me, but you really have to go though what each adoptive kids been through to truly understand it. It’s natural to wonder where you come from, especially when you don’t have the ability of asking the people that brought you into the world.”

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Comments on: "To Find or Not To Find, That is the Question" (45)

  1. Very touching. There’s always room for more family, more people to love,

  2. I love happy stories like these!

    People constantly tell me I’m crazy because my kiddo is from an open adoption. She sees her bio-mom regularly, and even spends the night sometimes. She has a little half-brother who she absolutely adores, and who is a carbon copy of her.

    Yes, I do get scared that she’ll like “her other family” better than ours, especially when I have to be strict with her. I realized before she was even born that my insecurity does not trump her right to know her birth family, and I wouldn’t take that away from her for the world, no matter how much I might fret.

    Her birth family is absolutely wonderful, and if I were to pass away tomorrow (G-d forbid) I would have no problems with them having custody of her. Over the years, her bio-mom has turned out to be a very good friend, and for that I am extremely grateful.

    Every child, every bio-parent and every adoptive parent has their own story, and it plays out differently every time. We are truly fortunate that for us, all is working out well.

    • It sounds like a perfect relationship! Because I love my kiddos so much, I have a great deal of empathy for moms who lose custody of their kids. Don’t get me started on the dangers of drugs…(How a mom can choose drugs over keeping her child is unbelievable to me, and I have sympathy for someone who is so mentally ill.)

  3. What a wonderful story!

  4. I feel like crying now, so heartwarming, but so sad for some of the less fortunate siblings!

  5. This is such an amazing story! You’re such a good mom.

  6. So glad Angel found his biological relatives, and that you encouraged it. I am an older adoptee and do not have access to my biological family’s information due to closed records. I know I have a sister somewhere and would love to meet her. Angel is so fortunate to have so many who love him, especially you, his wonderful, supportive mom.

  7. I was 10 when we adopted my baby brother, from South Korea and the age of 6 months, and I was well into my teenage years when I learned that my brother thought his mother died giving birth, and honestly, we went with it. We think his dad was a GI, but his mom walked out of the hospital without taking my brother, so he went into the system immediately, and because they considered him to be handicapped, they didn’t keep good records.
    So, I’m glad that Angel had siblings he could contact and have a relationship with!

  8. What a journey you have! Thank you for sharing your family’s stories and life and love. The way you tell it, I feel like I am there with you.

    I think of the oldest brother and wonder if he was more exposed to his mother’s lifestyle. I wonder if he felt pressure to take care of his sick mom and all of those kids when he was just a kid himself. So sad…

    Now Angel can go be the beautiful story that comes out of all of it. Thanks to you.

    • His older brother was in group homes until he aged out. He hung out with the wrong crowd. One thing I’ve learned from having children of parents who are drug addicts and alcoholics is that there is a higher chance that they themselves will become addicted. My daughter, Dinora, learned she can’t drink alcohol without wanting to keep drinking. (Her mom was an alcoholic.) Dinora is an alcoholic who doesn’t drink because she knows she can’t handle it. In her case, it definitely is an inherited trait because our family are not big drinkers. So, I assume Angel’s brother inherited his mother’s trait for addiction and without having a loving family to support him, he just chose the wrong road.
      Angel has actually been in touch with his older brother through phone calls and a visit to him in jail.

  9. I’ve wondered how to handle this in the theoretical instance that our family one day adopts. What a happy story for your son! Thank you for sharing this experience.

  10. What a selfless gift you gave your son…such a blessing for all involved. I know such reunions don’t always result in such happy endings, so I’m glad his did.

  11. this brought tears to my eyes, so touching, so happy for Angel, sounds like he was the luckiest one to have you in his life!

  12. What a wonderful story. And how awesome that Angel has been able to reconnect with some of his bio family. He most definitely knows that you always have his heart, and from that security was able to reach out. And so beautiful of you to be loving and open enough to let him fly. I hope on day I will meet my daughter.

  13. What a heartwarming story! And more so because it is real! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Thanks for sharing your story. This is such a difficult topic. My daughter is a closed adoption. I didn’t know anything about open adoptions at the time, and it wasn’t requested. She saw her bio mom until she was 8. And says she wants to see her when she turns 18 – 2 years away. I am scared she will like her more and go to her because it is her “real mom” and I will lose her. I won’t stop her. I can’t – but even if I could – I wouldn’t. It is her right.

    • I have the same situation with my daughter, Marie, who is deaf. She was removed from her bio mother at the age of 7 after experiencing horrific abuse. Although her mother was convicted of participation, Marie absolved her, saying she didn’t know any better. Her mother has contacted her on Facebook, and they have chatted back and forth. Marie told me when she was 18 she would like “us” to visit her bio mom, just to see how she is doing. I can’t guarantee she won’t want to live with her bio mom, but I am confident that we have a strong bond that would transcend her curiosity. After all, she asked me to go with her to “visit”…

      • So hard isn’t it. My daughter says she never wants to see her birth dad because she blames him for everything. She can’t see that birth mom also played a part. But it is not my place to say anything. I like your thinking … about looking on the asking to go with her as a positive. I think we have a really strong bond as well … but who knows, eh?

  15. Very awesome story! We have 3 adopted kids who are not yet adults and allow each of them some contact with their bio families. In fact, the relatives are on my facebook and bio grandmom reads my blog posts. They are grateful for updated pics and to know how the kids are. We are grateful to have updates on the birth siblings. Its not a perfect world, but I have tried hard to have my kids know that their bio family loves them even if they can’t take care of them.

  16. Thank you for sharing this, especially Angel’s perspective. The only way our adopted daughter would ever be able to find her Korean mother would be to run an ad in a paper there and then do DNA tests on the likely dozens of women that would claim to be her mother. 😦 I hate to be cynical, but from stories I have heard, that is most likely what would happen. I’m afraid it would mean great heartache for her. I know that theoretically it would fill a void for her to have some answers, and it is her choice to make if she ever decides to take that route, but I am very much afraid that only more pain would result. I’m so happy for Angel that he was able to have such a wonderful reunion. You are a wonderful mother!

    • Not all children who are adopted express an interest in this. My daughter, who is adopted from Guatemala and it would be very difficult to find her birth mother. But she is secure in who she is and does not have any questions. She and I have been back to Guatemala several times, and she even spent a summer assisting in the opening of a soup kitchen near where she was born. She has never asked about her bio mom. She has said that I am her “real” mom. Each child is different. For Angel, he had visited with his siblings up until the time he was 3, so he had a memory of them.

  17. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you for reading!

      • My husband and I had a brief time with a 17 yr old foster daughter that we contemplated adopting. It did not work out for a number of reasons, but I love her like my own daughter still today. As soon as our foster daughter turned 18, she also explored a relationship with her biological mother in another state that she had not seen since she was 4. It was an unhealthy situation, but she had to satisfy the unknown. It was sad, but she realized her bio mom will never be the person she wanted her to be. I also helped her reunite with her 2 bio sisters that were adopted by the same family It was a beautiful reunion. I understand the yearning in a child that needs to address their bio-relationships once they become adults and have a mature perspective and words to articulate. You are amazing for helping your son tie up those loose ends.

      • It sounds like you similarly assisted your daughter in meeting her sisters.
        My daughter, Marie, who is also adopted, has started talking to her bio sister on Facebook. Her sister went to live with bio mom as soon as she turned 18, and now she is pregnant. She invited Marie to her shower and Marie begged me to let her go….I haven’t decided yet….

      • Yes, lots of similarities. The 2 younger sisters that are adopted are in a new and healthy environment and have no desire to see their bio-mom. She also has an older sister that returned to bio-mom and is into drugs, etc. The “joy” of Facebook….. That’s exactly how the contact started on our end. CPS has a hard rule: zero contact with bio-parents that have lost parental rights. Our foster daughter did not have a choice but to wait until she was 18. I will pray for you and your difficult decision ahead.

  18. I really enjoyed reading this post. I’m glad he was able to find his bio family and develop a relationship with his siblings.

  19. wow, I had chills reading this. thanks for sharing your sons story, so happy he reconnected with his brother who is doing well!

  20. That’s a precious story. Congrats to you on letting Angel follow his heart.

  21. I wasn’t adopted but I understand the empty space Angel is talking about. My parents split when I was six. I had a good step-mom who did what she thought was right as far raising kids went but I wanted my mom. I still want my mom and she’s been gone since 2001. Thank you though. Some days I think it’s just me that understands what that emptiness feels like and it’s not. 🙂

  22. You are doing an amazing job with your children. Giving Angel the opportunity to reunite with his siblings is a most wonderful and selfless gift. Angel is truly blessed having you as his mom. I’d like to consider fostering an older child when I recover well enough to handle the responsibility. It’s something I will pray for later on down the road. Have a blessed day. Eva

  23. Lovely. A happy ending to a search for siblings.
    I am adopted. I was told that I was chosen. I like that expression. I had a happy upbringing.
    I have chosen not to search for my biological parents. The only thing that I really wonder about is about health and hereditary diseases. People give up children for adoption for various reasons and I in no way blame my biological parents for doing so. It is a difficult decision. Also I didn’t wish to hurt my adoptive parents if I searched for my biological parents. However I didn’t feel a great desire to search. A half-hearted search attempt could end up being detrimental if a reunion goes poorly. The search could also be blocked. It could feel as if I were ‘rejected’ twice. So I chose not to look.

  24. That’s an amazing story! I recently came across this blog when I was looking for blogs about disability, and I’d like to say that you are an excellent writer.
    I have a disability and I am writing a book that I’m putting up on a blog. If you have a chance, I would like it if you could read it and give me some feedback! Thanks so much.
    http://lookatmetalktome.blogspot.ca

  25. Amazing story. Thank you for sharing!

  26. Wonderful story! I have 4 adopted grandsons. One is from Haiti and his mother died giving him birth – his father shortly after he was adopted. He had older siblings but they are long “lost” to the system. Josh is a happy young man of 11, but he sometimes expresses a sense of guilt that he was adopted and has a happy family while he wonders if his siblings are even alive and if so, what kind of life are they living? We are sad that we can find no information to help answer his questions on what happened to his siblings.

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