I was adopted during a time when adoption was not popular. There were no agencies, no protocols. My adopted father was an associate lawyer in a firm where the senior partner was handling my adoption as my birth mother was in labor with me. My adoption started out as a casual conversation in a hallway about my birth mother’s predicament and ended three days later with me coming home with the people I call my parents, where I resided in a tiny nursery haphazardly filled with whatever hand-me-downs from the neighbor’s children my parents had collected inside of 48 hours. I was unplanned for on all fronts – a surprise, but so very wanted.
My adoptive parents had struggled with infertility for the last decade before me. Unable to conceive and without any education on adoption or where to begin, they were completely blindsided when approached by my Dad’s boss. They’re desire to have me as their own was instantaneous and they jumped on the opportunity to adopt me because they had already felt as if I were theirs. I was never treated differently from the boy that they’d later conceive, another surprise, my brother. I was theirs. They were mine.
Around six years of age my mother sat me down for “the adoption talk”. She went through my story, asked me if I had any questions, and was taken aback when I whined that “it was all fine and good and could I please go outside and play now”. As far as I was concerned, these people were my family and biology had nothing to do with it.
As I got older, however, I did begin to get curious. The only fragments of my birth mother that I had were a few personal details hastily written on a cocktail napkin: green eyes, brown hair, used to work as a BellSouth operator. I also knew that I had an older brother who was also adopted and I wondered if there were more siblings I knew nothing about. What were they like? Did they think about me?
Time went on. I made friends, went to college, had a privileged life, but kept dwelling on this idea of another family out there somewhere, perhaps waiting on me. I took comfort in God, researched what little there was on the then-fledgling internet of how to search for biological family members, and waited.
Shortly before my 21st birthday I received a call from my parents. They’d been contacted by my biological brother who was looking for my birth mother and had stumbled across me instead. Soon I was talking on phone with this stranger–my brother–Chris. We had so much in common. We went to the same church growing up and know a lot of the same people, though we couldn’t remember each other from that time. We also had the same sense of humor and laughed similarly. We agreed to meet for lunch the following week at a restaurant close by.
When I arrived early I found a seat in the waiting area where a boy I recognized caught my eye and said hello. I recognized him and we made polite chit chat for several minutes about people we’d known while both staring down the front door. I’d asked if he was meeting someone, too, and after another round of talking about our mutual past it occurred to me: this was my brother. We both went to the same church growing up; we know the same people. He’s a year and a half older than me. His name is Chris.
How wonderful it is, the nature of God, to have graced me with the presence of my brother years before I knew we were related. How strange it is to have never known. Though we do not look alike, our personalities are exactly the same. My family and his family are now one. Just as God intended.