Today marks the start of a new feature at the Zoo... My own story. I had originally posted this on my old blog, but now want to share it here. So come back every Wednesday to read the next installment--and come on the other days, too. ;-)
I don't ever remember being told that I was adopted—I've just always known. And I don't mean "I've known" like it was some sort of childhood suspicion that no one ever talked about. It was just a normal aspect of my life. It's a part of who I am, like having brown eyes or being left-handed. I'm adopted. The woman who gave birth to me knew that she couldn't provide the home and love that I needed, and she found a family for me who could. End of story.
In fact, it was so normal for me that I couldn't imagine life any other way. In elementary school kids used to ask me what it "feels like" to be adopted. I would ask them what it felt like to not be adopted. It was just life for me, nothing unusual. My parents brought me home from the hospital when I was 72 hours old—I'd always been theirs, and they had always been mine. My brothers, like it or not, were fully mine as well. :-) My adoption was a source of humor in my family—"You're such a dork! I'm glad I'm adopted!" or "Aren't you glad I inherited that from you, Mom?"—but never, not once, was it a sore spot or source of division. My family was my family.
Not that I wasn't curious. I had no idea who—or even where—my biological parents were, and sometimes I would see people on the street… at the fair… even on a bus when I was visiting my brother in Seattle… and wonder, "What if I'm related to that person?" Even people I knew—especially single relatives and family friends—were objects of my curiosity. It was a fascinating daydream for me, but not a sad one. I knew what a wonderful family I had, biological or not, and I have always been thankful to my birth mom for giving me what she knew she couldn't provide.
Along with being very upfront about my adoption, my parents always made it clear that once I was 18, I was free to explore as much (or as little) as I wanted into my biological family tree. They would provide as much information and help as they could, and they would support me as I did any additional digging on my own. I always knew that, and I always planned to do it starting on July 13, 1997 (my 18th birthday).
Little did I know what God had planned for me in 1997.