I Spent Decades Searching for My Birth Mom and It Felt Like a Miracle When We Reconnected

When I found out about my adoption, I began to have dreams about my birth mom. After years of searching, I sent her a message that would change both of our lives forever.

Searching for My Birth Mother

It was 1984 and I was a helmet-less six year old, peddling my red bike into Mom’s forbidden territory—across the street. I was in wonder of the new faces, places and houses. Heck, even the weather was different. It was during those times that I knew my life would be about searching. For what, I didn’t know.

It was a few years later that I found out about my adoption. I didn’t quite understand. My parents, who loved and nurtured me, fed me breakfast, lunch and dinner, read me bedtime stories—they weren’t actually my parents? I questioned my friends: “Are your parents actually your real parents?” I would get funny looks, but they all said the same thing. Yes, their parents were their real parents. They were also loved and nurtured. This was unbelievable. I was different. Who was I? I went back to my schoolwork, thinking of those long-ago, forbidden bike rides.

I was a teenager when I came to terms with the secret I was keeping from most people. Was there a stigma attached to someone like me? Was it possible that in this vast universe, there were others like me? Taken in as a baby by two loving human beings who could not have a child of their own. Given up by a woman I had absolutely no clue about. Dreams began to occur about this woman who had the courage to carry me for nine months, only to let me go to complete strangers. She seemed like a ghost, floating around my peripheral vision. Knowing I didn’t look like either my adoptive mom or dad, I began searching the faces of the women I’d see on the street. Green or blue eyes. Red or brown hair. My short stature had me crossing taller women with those features off my list. I loved reading so I looked for women who had a book with them. I searched pews in churches. She was a believer, of that I had no doubt. I wrote poetry and wondered if she, too, was writing in her journal at the same time. Did she also see beauty in words? Were her thoughts and feelings put down on paper as well? Did she roam the aisles of used bookstores? Was she the worst in her math class, too? In my mind, she was just like me.

I hoped against hope. You’ve read or heard those adoption stories that end in horror—guilt trips and angry protests, doors slammed in faces because the hurt was too much.

I began to have a little luck. After submitting requests throughout the years, information from adoption agencies began filling my mailbox. The government was sending out all available information to adoptees as the rules had changed.

Years went by. I received pages of information on my birth mother: how many siblings she had, her medical history, but the one thing that eluded me was a name. How was I to start my search if I didn’t have a name?

Success At Last

In August 2020, I received another letter from the agency. This one was different. There was a name attached to it. I went online and played detective, deducing who was who, cross-referencing surnames and ages, towns and cities. I chose a few people who I thought might give me the greatest chance of finding my birth mother. I stated my name and intent, knowing full well a sensitive subject like this wouldn’t just change my life, but someone else’s, too. I sent the message into cyberspace. The following morning, I received a message. Someone knew my birth mother. The woman who gave me life wanted to connect. As humans, we steel against rejection. As an adopted person, the fear that we’ll be rejected once again, can be an insurmountable feeling.

It turns out, she knew this day was coming. My whole life wasn’t just a footnote in a used book. I was thought of on birthdays and Christmases. Even though other children called her “Mom,” I had a special place in her heart that was all mine. She prayed everyday that her first born would come back to her. Both of us cried tears of joy. Finally, a reunion.

Feeling a Connection

I found myself believing in miracles. Age- old questions were answered. Slowly but surely, a bond started to form. Each time we talked, there was always something new to learn. She preferred the library to the bookstore, where, just like me, she went every week. She read poetry, but didn’t quite understand what the poets tried to convey.

A journal for her thoughts was a constant companion. Her math skills were just as non-existent as mine, so we had both stayed away from numbers. Both of us, generous with our time, thinking of others first. My grey eyes were from her dad, my grandpa.

We had both known that we’d see each other again. It blew my mind that I had manifested all of this from thoughts and dreams as a teenager. Our connection felt familiar. As if we had known each other all along. It seemed that we had been living parallel lives and began seeing ourselves at a deeper level.

Truthfully, such commonalities are not unheard of. Science calls it quantum entanglement. Two different objects, no matter space or time, mirror the same trajectory. The religious would call this a God incident. Any way you explain it, the void in my soul I had felt for so long had been filled. It was amazing. I had been working on this unfinished puzzle my whole life—turns out, the missing pieces were right there the whole time, wondering where I was, too.

Next, read about how this mother-and-son tour of Haida Gwaii became the trip of a lifetime.

Originally Published in Our Canada