I am a curious person by nature and that is the underlying reason I wanted to search for my birth parents. I cannot stress enough that my journey to locate my birth parents had absolutely NOTHING to do with me being unhappy in the life I had with my parents. My parents are MY PARENTS…they are the ones who raised me, loved me, provided for me….the ones I love more than I can even express and the people I consider my “real” parents!!!! (If you are just tuning in you can read My Adoption Story HERE to get up to speed!)
Honestly though…I was just curious about who my birth parents were. I was adopted in the days of totally closed adoptions. I am also a big fan of closed adoptions for a lot of reasons…that can be discussed on a different day. I had wanted to know about my birth parents for a long time….not as a replacement…but just to see where I had come from genetically speaking.
When I got married and was expecting my first child I became even more consumed with locating my birth parents. I was pregnant…I had no medical history available to me. I was about to become a mother and honestly…the thought of giving my child away to someone else to raise….seemed like the absolute worst thing that could ever happen. I wanted to know what circumstance had caused my birth mother to give me up.
The Search for My Birth Parents Begins
Back in the days when the internet was brand new and we still used phone books, etc….I started the search for my birth mother. My first step was to obtain my original birth certificate. I was very thankful that I lived in Kansas. At that time it was one of only a few states where you could get your original birth certificate. (I have no idea how it is now)
Once I got the original birth certificate I was able to see my birth mother's name at the time I was born and her address at that time. I saw that she lived in Hays, Kansas when I was born. That was about 3 hours from where I currently lived. There was no birth father listed on the birth certificate.
I drove to Hays and went straight to the courthouse. I did some logical thinking….my birth mother was 16 when I was born. I figured it was fairly logical that in the 1970's she would have married fairly young. I asked to look at marriage licenses from the late 1970's…the courthouse employee took me to a storage room and showed me boxes of records and said I could look through whatever I wanted. I started looking at marriage licenses in the years just following when she should have graduated from high school.
I was really excited when I found her name on a marriage license within an hour or so. I wrote down the name of the man she married. I located a phone book…found his name in the phone book…but was disappointed to see that he was married to someone else now.
Back to the records room….located their divorce certificate….saw that there were children involved…child support requirements, etc. My birth mother's last address that I could locate was in Topeka, Kansas.
Was My Birth Father Right There in Hays?
I started stewing about the fact that my birth mother had married this man right out of high school….a little over a year after I was born. It seemed logical to me that perhaps he was my birth father.
I went home and decided to write him a letter. I explained who I was…who my birth mother was and that I knew he had been married to her previously. I told him that I thought perhaps he was my birth father. I was wrong….
He was a very nice man…he wrote me back and said that he was not my birth father. He knew where my birth mother lived because she was the mother of his 3 children. He gave me her current address.
I wrote a letter to the woman who carried me for 9 months and did not feel that she could keep me. I told her a little bit about who I was. I thanked her for the selfless act of giving me up…assured her that I had enjoyed a wonderful childhood and have wonderful parents. I told her that I would love to meet or talk. Then I waited for a response…..
I am going to continue the story in another post….but do want to say that my experience in locating my birth mother's location is probably not the norm. I had an exceptionally easy time finding out where she was and I don't think that is generally the case. I have read stories where people are never able to locate their birth families. I have seen a book that gets good reviews on how to locate birth parents and how the process may work that could be helpful for someone just starting out.
I would love to say that this story is going to continue to be smooth sailing….but life isn't always roses and fairy tales. You can read part three…Speaking to My Birth Mother for the First Time HERE.