My name is Bethany and I was adopted in Columbus, Ohio but raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I have always been told about my adoption. As a child, we celebrated my birthday and also the day my adoption was finalized. I was told around 12 years of age that I had siblings.
I had a closed adoption, but one of the people who worked for the agency I was adopted from knew my biological family very well. They went to the same church. My mom (Linda) always brought me back to visit her and I would learn little pieces of information about my family. Because the adoption was closed, legally she couldn't tell me much, but she was my connection to where I came from.
The adoption agency I was adopted from had a Black Adoption Fair every year. This one particular year, when I was 5, we couldn't make it. The person who knew my family had put their Children's Church Choir on the program for the fair. Because we didn't come, they sent the program to my mother. She held on to it for years. When I turned 21, my mother gave me a packet that I would need to fill out in order to receive my original birth records. I wasn't ready. Right before my 22nd birthday, she gave me the program from the adoption fair that she had been holding on to all of those years, and told me to call the church to see what they knew about my family. I called. I told the church secretary my story. She knew exactly who my family was and said that she would have the pastor call me back. When he called back, I explained my story and he gave my information to my biological, maternal grandfather. He called me back the next day. In the day following, I talked to him, found my oldest sister, and spoke to my biological mother on the phone. We made arrangements to meet on my 22nd birthday. I went to Columbus with my mother and my grandmother to meet them in person.
"My adoption has affected my life in every aspect. As much as I have had loving parents who provided me with the best all of my life, there was still a piece of me that was missing. I needed to know where I came from, who I look like, why I do the things I do."
Finding my biological mother, all 9 of my maternal siblings, my grandfather, and my only uncle and his family, has given me the opportunity to understand myself. I love them with all of my heart, and it was not until I met them, that I was able to start the process of healing.
On January 20, 2016 it will be 9 years that I have met my biological family. My biological mother (Jennifer) passed away on June 27th of this year. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have had her in my life. She made a lot of mistakes, but through all of the ups and downs, she let me know every chance that she got how much she loved me. I will be forever grateful to her for my life. She could have aborted me, but she loved me enough to give me a chance with a family who would take care of me and love me, as she couldn't do at the time. The search for my biological father is still in process. Jennifer gave me clues of what she remembered about him to help me with that search. Her impact on me was life changing. Her death made me realize that God is always perfect in his plan. I am beyond blessed to have had 2 moms that love me unconditionally. The both of them make me whole. #IAMHEARTPICKED
Bethany's story originally appeared in Heart Picked and is reprinted with full permission.