I have known that I was adopted ever since I can remember. My adopted parents never once tried to hide the fact that I was adopted. They were very forthcoming and up front about the adoption. Once I was old enough to understand the meaning they told me everything that they could about my biological parents from what they had learned from the adoption agency they used. They told me that my biological mother was a very petite girl and that she was very young and that she chose to give me up for adoption so that I could have a better life because she was unable to provide for me because of her young age. They also told me that she had named me Angelica Michelle and that she had given me a stuffed bunny rabbit on the day that I was born. They told me the only two things they knew about my biological father was that he was quite a bit older than my mother and that he was relatively tall.
Unlike a lot of adoptees I never felt out of place or like I didn’t belong to my family. I grew up an only child who only knew unconditional love and devotion from her parents. It never felt like I was missing anything or any type of connection because my adopted parents made sure that I always felt included and I was actually part of their family. No one on either side of my adopted parents family treated me any differently, I was part of the family in every way.
Two or three years ago I decided to send off for an Ancestry DNA test just to see if either one of my biological parents showed up matching me. I was curious. Once I did the test and sent it off, the results showed, No Close Matches. At that time in my life I decided not to pursue the search for my biological parents any further. I was busy being a mom to my one and only son, Joseph, and the financial burden that it would have placed on my family at the time.
One February day in 2020 a lady came into my place of employment and we began talking. She had been in the store numerous times and we had developed a friendly banter between each other. It was a coincidence that she was from the same county that I grew up in and she was also an adoptee. She began talking about the many ways and search engines that could be used today in order to find biological parents and siblings. I was very skeptical at first but the more we began talking and the more she told me the more interested I became.
She referred me to DNAngels because they had helped her in her search to locate one of her biological parents and she said they were miracle workers. I figured it was worth a shot, what could I lose especially since I had no idea who my biological parents were. I reached out to DNAngels and they began the screening process. I answered the questions and my journey began.
In a matter of a weeks’ time Laura had narrowed my biological father down to one specific man who had lived in Hopkinsville, KY at the time of my birth. She had to make numerous phone calls and emails and work many hours to narrow it down to Gary, my biological father. A funny tidbit for the story is that she contacted his brother, Randell and he was the one who got Gary in touch with Laura. His brother called him that night and asked him when he was going to get to meet his niece. Gary was in shock, he had no idea what his brother was talking about. Gary had no idea that he was my father, he had never been told about me.
March 15, 2020 Gary reached out to Laura and she explained that I had been looking for my biological parents and that the DNA search had led her to him. He was in shock, as I mentioned he never knew about me. I sent him an Ancestry DNA test and he took it. April 12, 2020, which was Easter Sunday, I received the results. Gary was my biological father. I sent him a text message saying “Happy Easter, It’s a Girl!”
We began to text and talk on the phone numerous times a day until the day that we both decided that it was time to meet, COVID or not. My son Joseph and I drove to Lexington, Kentucky to meet the man who was my biological father and his wife of twenty-seven years, Bertha. I am, for the most part, a very reserved person and the entire way there I was a basket case, my head was racing with thoughts, “What if he doesn’t like me?”, “What if he doesn’t approve of me?”, “What if?”, “What if?”, “What if?”. It wasn’t that way, both of them welcomed Joseph and I with open arms. I had made a small photo album containing pictures of me growing up for him and Joseph had bought a bouquet of flowers for Bertha. From the first nice to meet you hug to the last goodbye hug our first meeting was wonderful. I had never felt out of place with my adopted parents, but with Gary I felt an instant connection. In the back of my mind I just hoped he had felt it as well.
After the first initial meeting we agreed to meet and ride to Hopkinsville, Kentucky so I could meet some of his other family. They were all anxiously waiting to meet me, and I them. Early on a Saturday, I met him and we went to his hometown. There I met his brother Randell and his wife Karen, along with their son Josh and their grandson, Brady Keith. Such a wonderful and welcoming family. Karen sent me a message a few days after our meeting and said that since I had came into Gary’s life, he seemed like such a different, much happier person. I told her that I had to admit that with him in my life I had a much more positive outlook on life and I could not wait to meet more of my new found family.
Now, keep in mind during all of the new family introductions Laura was still busy working to find my biological mother. Her goal was to find her before Mother’s Day, which was May 10, 2020. Laura had recruited several other Angels as well: Ramona, Aimee, Ashley, Padgette, and my new found cousin Ann. They all pitched in to help find my mom as she was proving to be a mystery. That was until May 8, 2020, which was two days before the Mother’s Day deadline that Laura gave herself. The Angels had been working all day trying to find my mom, text messages were flying back and forth between them, it was all I could do to keep up with just reading them, let alone understand them.
Then I got a text message from Laura herself, not a group text and all it said was we found her. I was at work at the time and had no idea what to even think when she told me that she had found my biological mother, especially right before Mother’s Day. I was numb I believe, because honestly, I had no idea that they would be able to locate her, they did.
Mother’s Day has been a very sad day for me since my adopted mom passed away March 19, 2015. I was very close to my mom and she had been very sick with liver cancer for years before she passed away. Laura and DNAngels finding my biological mother for me before Mother’s Day has made it a day to celebrate again. This was a momentous occasion Laura and myself, a mother for Mother’s Day. How much better could it get. I know that my adopted mom is looking down from heaven smiling and being thankful that I have found her. Had she been alive today, she would have insisted on meeting her and thanking her for giving me life, which meant giving her the opportunity to be a parent.
Laura told me that her name was Julie and that she had gotten to talk to her on the phone to confirm that she was really my biological mom. She was. Julie and I group chatted with Laura for a few hours to break the ice and finally we were left alone to text and chat. Julie was so easy to talk to, just like Gary, it was like we instantly hit it off, like she filled a missing void that I didn’t know that I had.
Julie finally told me the story of my adoption, I could tell that it was very hard for her and that she also had a lot of regret and pain built up inside of her due to the adoption. She was just fifteen years old when she became pregnant with me. She told her mother one day that she was pregnant and the next day she was shipped off to Nashville, Tennessee to an unwed mother’s home to have the baby. She was told that she had to give the baby up and that there was no way that she was able to get me back. I asked her what she had named me and she told me that she had named me Angelica Michelle, for her little angel. I guess it is fitting that DNAngels are the people who found her for me.
We began to talk on the phone a little here and there until I believe we both were so excited to meet one another that the suspense was killing us. We met in Elizabethtown, Kentucky which was the halfway point between our homes. I was nervous once again because I didn’t want to let her down or for her to feel like I wasn’t good enough for her. The meeting was great, we talked and I told her of my childhood and how I had always been told that she gave me up out of love and that I never once had any hard or ill feelings towards her. She was my mother, why would I? I wasn’t raised that way. I was raised to love and give everyone a fair shake in life.
She told me that she had thought about me often and that now we would be able to start our own life and relationship together. I am so thankful that I found her and that we met. I have two half sisters that I never thought I would have. I was an only child growing up, until this point in my life. I am not really sure how to be a big sister, I guess it is something that I will have to study up on. Either way, the family on my biological mom’s side is very close and they seem to welcome me with open arms.
As I sit back now thinking about my journey, it is bittersweet. I have new found family members on both of my biological parents sides. I have still not told my adopted dad about finding my parents due to the fact that I believe that it would upset and hurt him, and he is such a great man that I never want to do anything to upset him in any way. He was the one who has been there for me through the good and the bad and I love him dearly. Because of this, I have decided not to tell him. Joseph on the other hand has known and helped me out through this entire journey and he supports me no matter what. I raised a pretty good kid and I am so very proud of him and the fine young man that he is becoming.
Julie (my mom) and I are developing a close relationship. We talk almost daily and we are planning more trips to see each other. I want to be a part of her life and get to know my half sisters in order to make up for the time that we have all missed out on.
My relationship with Gary (my dad) has hit some bumps in the road and is currently non-existent due to nothing on my part. I am not sure where his head is or what is going on with him but that is for him to figure out. The only thing that I know is that I text him weekly and tell him that I love him and hopefully he will come around and we will be able to begin our new found relationship.
I hope that this article will help anyone who is looking or who has already found your biological family in some way, even if it just gives you a little hope for the future. Do not give up, no matter how long you may have been looking and cherish each and every moment if you have found them and they are willing and able to have a relationship with you. You may only have one chance to get to know them and then if they decide to step back from the relationship or embrace you with open arms then that is their decision, not yours. Do not feel bad either way, you are only being true to yourself, at the end of the night you have to look yourself in the mirror and be happy with what you see.