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