The Search

I know a lot about my birth situation, which is surprising. I know the circumstances and the situation. I know that they weren’t married, and that my birth father really didn’t want me. I know that that was not the case for my mother. I know that she wanted to keep me. She just wasn’t able to.

Sometimes, I think that while growing up, even though this was my truth, I also saw it as a story. A fable about a poor woman who was forced to let her child fly away into the sky. I think I kept the strong emotions tucked away in the darkened half of my heart. But I always felt something was missing.

When I turned 30, I had a major life crisis. I suddenly felt like I didn’t know who I was, or what I was supposed to be doing. I adopted a kitten who made my life more miserable than it already was. I needed to figure out who I was. I began very seriously thinking about my Birth Mother search.

I struggled with the application. The letter to be written to her. Stuck on its first line; for years. Afraid. All of the possible outcomes rolling around within me. What if she doesn’t want to know me. What if she hasn’t been searching for me too. What if she is dead… I didn’t know if I was ready for the answer. I didn’t know if I’d ever be ready.

I don’t know if it was a woman I once worked with. She was extremely depressed and nobody could really get much out of her. I remember being in her room with her one day. I don’t usually talk about myself at work to my patients, but this time I somehow told her it was my birthday. People are always surprised when they realize I am working on my birthday. I can’t remember how, but I ended up telling her I was adopted, and telling her the whole story, and my fears about beginning the search for my birth mother. I remember that she then confided in me that when she was young, she had given up a child for adoption. And then she told me that she could guarantee that my birth mother wanted to find me.

I don’t know if it was the grey-haired Korean woman who hugged me on the day of her discharge, and told me how proud she was of me.

Or if it was the young, lost and confused Korean adoptee who wrote me a letter about how important I had been for her while she was in the hospital.

Or maybe it was all me.

But I finally finished the letter to my birth mother, and sent the application off to the adoption agency.

When I turned 35, I got a response.

They found my birth mother.

And she wants to have contact with me.

Found

I don’t even know if I can fully express how close to home this film hit. Especially right now. Granted, I was not adopted from China, under the cruel and intense circumstances that many children, young girls, were adopted under. These girls were adopted during the One-Child period in China.
Having surprisingly found each other through 23&Me, three adopted cousins made contact. They were all adopted to white families who loved and adored them. But, obviously these girls were raised around alot of ignorance and racism. A lot of the things that they quoted as having been told, might at one time make me laugh, because laughter is deflection. But the stuff said to them, while innocent at times, still reminded them of just how different they were, and always would be. And so a journey to find their birth families was begun.
The circumstances alone brought tears to my eyes. From one side, it is easy for an adopted child to think their birth parents didnt want them, or that something was wrong with them. In this film, we see parents who are absolutely crushed at remembering the child who was forcibly taken away from them, because it was against the law to have two children. And at the sheer difficulty of trying to locate their families when they had been left in boxes on the side of the street, wrapped in blankets and left on the steps of the government building. It opened my eyes more to the circumstances of my own Chinese cousins and their adoptions.
But the thing that resonated with me the most was the fear, because i also had that. The anticipation and the hope, but also the astounding fear. When asked if she wanted to see a picture of the people thought to be her birth family, one of the cousins sits for a while, and then just covers her face and starts crying.
This film ended up being so much more than a success story. It was a story of perspectives, and circumstances, and hopes and fears, and heartbreaks, and discovery, and growth…
This film found me at the exact moment I needed it.