About the time that the movie Annie was released I began to realize I was different. I
remember classmates and friends asking me dozens of silly questions about how it was to
live in an orphanage, and about whom my real mother was. I just couldn’t understand
why no one understood that adoption experiences are not like those depicted in the
movies; for me it was real, and it was natural.
Entering my preteen years, when everything normal suddenly isn’t, I began to feel
different. Everyone that I knew had a family that they were related to by blood. My
friends all looked like their parents, brothers and sisters; however, I did not. I didn’t look
like my mother, I didn’t look like my father, and I didn’t look like my adopted brother.
Sometimes people would comment on the differences between my adoptive mother and
me, and other times people would comment on the similarities. After my mother
explained that I was adopted, I always felt embarrassed, not because I was ashamed, but
because I dreaded the silly questions and comments that would always seem to follow.
As I grew older, the fact that I was adopted embarrassed me less, and piqued my curiosity
more. I was told that I was adopted ever since I can remember. I was also made aware
that when I turned eitghteen, I would be able to meet my birth mother. My eighteenth
birthday was a day that I looked forward to more and more each year.
I grew up as a part of a wonderful family. My adoptive mother and father were both
teachers, and my younger adoptive brother is an outgoing, thoughtful child who helped to
bring me out of my extreme shy phase. My parents gave me a wonderful education, and
provided the chance to try many sports and activities in which I was interested. I could
talk to my mother about anything, and she would listen and advise. Throughout my
teenage years we had many rocky times, but nothing unlike any family goes through in
those awkward years. My birth mother gave me the most wonderful, unselfish gift, a
On my eighteenth birthday, I sent a letter to the government asking for information on
my birth mother. Every day I checked my mailbox for a reply, but it was weeks before I
finally got a reply. The information in the letter I received from the Government was not
at all what I expected. The letter stated that I was now on a waiting list to have the
search done for my birth mother, and the wait to begin the search was ten years away. It
further stated that while I was waiting for my search to be done, I would be provided
with a copy of my family history; however, it would contain no identifying information.
It took two years before I received my family history. The report contained six full pages
describing a family I may never meet.
In 1993, nine years after my adoptive mother’s first bout with cancer, she passed away.
The death of my adoptive mother put a stop to my search for my birth mother, as I felt
like I was trying to replace the mother who raised me. It was not until a few years later
that I remembered how my adoptive mother had encouraged me to search, and would be
helping me today if she were still alive.
My best friend Janet was reunited with her birth mother in 1997, and that came as a huge
shock to me. Janet’s intent in searching was to know her medical records, not to meet her
birthmother, nor to establish a personal relationship. When Janet first told me about her
wonderful news, I couldn’t believe it. Janet, who wasn’t overly interested in finding her
birth mother, was going to be reunited; I was still waiting to be found! On the other hand
I was very excited for Janet. I could live vicariously through her, and she could fulfill my
dreams of meeting my birth mother for me.
I was born on September 12, 1973, named Adrienne Denise V. I am now 24 years old.
The government is still 2-3 years away from conducting a search for my birth mother,
and my personal six years’ search has been put on hold. In 1997 I started a free adoption
registry on the Internet called “FindMe” (http://www.findme.org) in hopes of making me,
and others like me easy to find. This project has been very meaningful to me, and helps
me get through the lonely times. Reuniting other adoptees with their birth mothers is a
very touching, joyful experience. It makes me feel like I am making a difference. Since
my search for my birth mother has been put on hold for now, I have done a lot of thinking
about why I am searching in the first place and have come to many conclusions.
I do not think many people have one single reason for why they want to search, as I know
that I have many. The most obvious reason is curiosity. I have a need to look at
someone who looks like me, talk to someone who talks like me, and read something
from someone who writes like me. I need to know from where I came, and from whom I
came. Unlike a lot of adoptees, I do not need to know why I was given up, or under what
circumstances; I just need to know who the woman was that gave birth to me. The
second reason why I am searching is because I no longer have a mother to whom I can
talk as an adult. I have never been given the chance to have an adult conversation with
my mother, share things with her, have her attend my special moments. I haven’t been
able to have the close mother-daughter relationship which often blossoms in the adult
years. My third reason is what I call my selfish reason; I want what everyone else has. I
want to know my mother, even if we don’t get along. I want to be able to say the
expression "my mom" and mean it. I want to have what all children raised by their
natural parents takes for granted, their mother.