Monday, November 7, 2011

My adoption story

(Since November is national adoption month, Brian is sharing part of his own adoption story of reuniting with his b1rthm0ther in the hopes that this will give you some perspective on one adoptee's experience of meeting his b10logical family).

Seven years ago, I found myself standing before an aisle full of Mother's Day cards at the local Hallmark store. This would be a Mother's day like no other. As a present for Mother's day, I had flown my Mom down to Miami for the weekend (where I was living at the time). My life was undergoing a major alteration and in the midst of this transition, I needed to her to know that her place in my life would remain unchanged. I hoped the weekend in Miami would help ease any anxiety she might be feeling.

Mom hadn't arrived yet and I was looking for the right card. But this card wasn't for her. I'd already purchased her card. This card was for someone else. Someone I had known about my entire life but had never met. This one was for my b1rthm0ther.

Several months earlier, after resisting years of gentle encouragement from my Mom (whom I was convinced was watching way too many positive adoption reunion stories on Oprah), I finally got my nerve up and contacted the archives unit of the Children's Home Society of Florida, my adoption agency.

Thirty seven years earlier, my a nineteen year old b1rthm0ther found herself with an unexpected pregnancy. At the insistence of her mother, she left her home in Connecticut and moved in with her cousins in Tarpon Springs, FL until I was born. She gave birth to me that summer on June 10th. Seventeen days later, on June 27th, I was adopted by a young couple in Clearwater, FL.
Betty, my adoption caseworker, conducted the search for my b1rthm0ther. I thought it would take months or even years to find her.

She located her in about two hours.

"She sounds really nice. You've got four siblings, five nieces and nephews, and one more on the way."

I hung up the phone in shock. Brothers.  Another sister. More nieces and nephews. It was almost too much to absorb. My mysterious past suddenly came into focus. My life-long questions began to have answers.

A few agonizing months later, in March of 2004, I received my first letter and photo from Alice, my b1rthm0ther. I learned about my "half" siblings: three brothers and a sister (who later insisted that we drop the "half"). That April, we spoke on the phone and heard each other's voice for the first time.

We met that summer on June 27th at the duck pond near her home in Connecticut. Ironically, it was the same day I was adopted into the Owen family thirty-seven years prior. Her husband Hank, (not my b1rthfather) was with her. He walked up to me, threw his arms around me, and with his thick New England accent, said, "Welcome to da family!" I gave Alice a big hug, not realizing that this was the first time she had ever held me. She feared not being able to go through with the adoption process had she held me as an infant.

Though there is much, much more I could share, suffice it to say that my reunion with Alice and her side of my b10logical family has been a postive one. Honestly, my reunion story is so positive that at times, it feels like I won the "adoption lottery."  Sadly, not every adoptee's reunion story is as positive as mine.  My adopted Mom has been a great support through it all and Mother's Day hasn't been the same since.

Seven years after our reunion, Alice (now Grandma Alice to my boys) and I still keep in touch and see each other from time to time.  I was honored to have her at my wedding four years ago where I received something I thought would never be possible.  A photo of my wife and I standing between my moms.  It still seems unbelievable at times.

Me and my Moms at my wedding in June of 2007 (Mom on left, Alice on right)


Kim said...

That's really cool, Brian. Question. Did you ever feel the desire to want to meet your birthfather?

Kim said...

I forgot to add in that it AMAZES me how much you look like your adoptive mother!

pam (m~i~l) said...

Big tears here! What a great story :)

Aunt Noni said...

We love you Brian

Misti said...

This is awesome!

The Busters said...

Thank you, Brian, for sharing your story! The picture at the end is so beautiful and has me holding back tears.

Tracy said...

Great post, honey! Thank you for sharing your story here. Even though I've heard it many times before, I still got teary-eyed reading it here. I'm so grateful that you've written it on our blog for our kids to read in the future.

What a blessed girl I am to have two wonderful mothers-in-law who are so good to me and whom I just adore! I'm so thankful for Alice's selfless decision to choose life for you and to place you for adoption. Because of her selfless love, I have the most wonderful husband in the world!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this story!
I've always believed that adopted children are covered with extra love: it takes true selfless love to give a child up for adoption (I cannot fathom Alice's pain in making this choice), and there is no doubt that you were a very much wanted child when you were adopted by your parents.
The welcome and love you have received from your birth mother and her family (husband Hank and your siblings) are blessing upon blessing.
What a beautiful story to pass on to your sons!

Ana said...

glad I can say I knew you when...I agree with Tracy this story never gets old! Have to admit, I've shared it with others a few times as well.

J at said...

This is a wonderful story, and brought happy tears to my eyes.

I met my father when I was 21, and the welcome I received from that side of my family was open arms and hearts. I'm so thankful. And yeah, my sisters aren't 'half' either. :)

lisa said...

Thanks for sharing both stories about adoption. They were really moving!

Anonymous said...

Brian Owen you are the man! I am reminded of how much we all grew by your willingness to invite us into your journey as you grew as a man and a ministry leader. Well said, brother!