I first found out I was adopted at the age of 4 when my parents gave me a book to read about adoption. They both sat with me as I read it and gave answers to the questions they could. My life changed dramatically in 2012. Things had been going downhill for me, but in November of 2011, adoption records in Illinois had become available. Both of my adoptive parents have long since passed away, so as soon as I heard from a friend, I sent the fee and form to get my original birth certificate, which I received on Christmas Eve. It was a little rough for me to receive it on this of all days, as my girlfriend of 10 years had broken up with me earlier that month and I was going to be spending the holiday alone.
So I went to an adoption registry site and posted what I found out from my birth certificate. A couple friends and myself tried our best to search on the internet, but were unable to find anything. A few days later I received email from a Search Angel. She offered to help me find my parents free of charge, which completely surprised me. It's not often people do things like this out of the kindness of their own hearts. It only took her a week to track down my birth mother, but it took me awhile to get the courage to send her a letter. When I finally wrote her, the letter was very emotionless. I didn't want them to know that I desperately wanted to know her and have since I was 4.
Then on a day I found myself completely down and out, I was actually laying in bed crying when a phone call came in and I didn't answer; I just listened. It was my sister and they had just gotten my letter that day. That was June 15th, 2012. The next morning she called around 10am and we talked for over an hour. She told me I had two other sisters, and that they were all looking forward to meeting me. So I called her back on the number she left me a few days later. An older woman answered the phone and told me I had the wrong number, so I listened to the message and called again. Still an older woman who seemed agitated. Since I had been told that my mother had kept my birth a secret all this time, I thought that it might be her and that she decided she didn't want to meet me. Little did I know the phone number was off one digit.
I pretty much had given up on meeting them when in late July I ended up in the hospital and was very fortunate because I actually should have been dead since my circumflex artery was almost completely blocked. I received a stent at this time and was just happy to be so fortunate to not be dead. For those who don't know, cardiologists call this artery the "widow maker" because it is the most common blockage that causes fatal strokes and heart attacks.
Then it happened, a few days before my birthday, my sister called again. I told her I had tried to call, but by this time I had got a new phone that I could actually read the caller ID on. So now I had her number on my phone. We talked for about 30 minutes and she said she would call me back, which she did on August 16th. She made arrangements with me on that day for me to meet my mother and my sisters. The day after my 49th birthday I stood outside talking to a neighbor, trying to stay calm while I waiting when they pulled up in a van. Two of my sisters got out and walked toward me. I wanted to hug them immediately but refrained, as I didn't know how they felt. Thing was, I found out later, they wanted the same. We went to Chilis' for lunch and we ended up sitting and talking together for 4 hours.
Before I left I hugged one of my sisters, bent over to hug my mother and tell her that I had been waiting 45 years to meet her, at which point she grabbed me and kissed me. Once I got out of the van, both of my sisters gave me very loving hugs. Debbie commented that they were going to have to kidnap me and move me closer to them, as they are a very tight family. On September 1st, I was invited to a BBQ, and my ex-roommate of 20 years drove me out to see them.
It was not just a BBQ. It was a belated birthday party for both me and my sister. Everyone made me feel so welcome and wanted. It was the first time in my life where I ever felt like I was part of a family. Since then, starting on October 20th, I have spent a total of 24 days staying mostly with my sister and her family and Christmas Eve and Day with my other sister and her family. Not only do I get treated like a member of the family by my sisters and their children, but sister's in-laws treat me like I am family as well. I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it is. The last thing I have to say is thank you to my search angel. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have the wonderful family I am part of now!
Credits: Patrick Ward
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