Like most adoptees, when Ryan visited a doctor and had to answer questions about whether he had medical issues in his family, he was at a loss. That was easy to brush off when it was just about him, but having kids changed that.
Then last year, his wife gave him a 23andMe kit for Christmas. He saw it as a chance to learn about his ancestry and health, and maybe find more about his biological family. The family stuff came later. Ryan took a long time working on the wording of his message.
He was afraid that he might say something that would turn this newly found relative away. He wants to help. When in the past it had taken years, decades even, to find the smallest of details, Ryan found himself on the edge of learning the whole truth in just hours. Two days after that exchange with his uncle, while he and Debby sat and watched a performance of Hamilton on Broadway, Ryan got a text that changed his life forever:.
His biological father, Ed, had been in North Carolina helping his dad open a new restaurant while on summer break from college when he met his biological mother, Karen, who was also in college but working a summer job. I apologized, she relaxed a bit and we spoke briefly. We noted that our voices were similar.
I'm 40 and I want to find out about my biological father
She told me she never had any other children. Later, we exchanged a letter with a photo. There was a resemblance but not much of one.
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A friend noted, however, that her scrawl was as jagged and ugly as mine. After the letter exchange, we had no further communication. The tepid contact with my biological mother dampened my curiosity about my birth parents, but it never entirely left me. Later, when I had time on my hands, I trawled an adoption Web site.
With very little effort, I discovered throngs of people willing to help me track down my biological father, which proved to be a bit more of a challenge than finding my birth mother had been. She would not speak about him.
Birth Certificates and Adoptees
After a letter went astray and was later received, he made contact. Biodad was quite pleased to hear from me and arranged a slapdash family reunion. He picked me up in his windowless Jeep, and we drove to a mobile-home park in central California , where I met my biological uncle and grandmother. During the two-hour car ride back, my biological father talked mostly about his motorcycle, his boat and working out. That so rarely happens in life, or in families.
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As much as you can, be gentle and patient with yourself, and with as many people involved as you can. My adoption was closed, like yours. Have your experiences shaped how you think about open versus closed adoptions? If someone were to ask you now which way to adopt, what would you say to them? Of course, a huge number of the adoptions in the U.
Are they really thinking about these issues of race and identity and prejudice and how they will discuss it with their child? It also means you have to have really tough conversations. It will matter to other people.
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What would it be like to be a child of color in your social circle, in your community? People need to go into it realistically and with their eyes open. We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters theatlantic.