Finding out you’re adopted is mind-blowing. Only a small part of the population will have that bomb dropped on them at some point, and only a small part of that small part will actually be able to locate their biological parents. Those that do are left with one question. Do I contact them?? I am fortunate enough to be in that small group of people and I have decided that yes, I am going to attempt contact. I’ve decided to write a letter.
I’ll start with a back story.
When I was a teenager, my mother told me I was half adopted. I know that sounds weird, I just don’t know how else to say it. Basically my mom is my real mom, but my father was not my real father. See? Half adopted.
Obviously mother and daughter. Photo cred: the amazingly talented duo at Dark Roux Photography.
I don’t remember how she told me or anything, I just know ever since I have been curious as hell.
My mother is also adopted. I’ve always felt that this made our bond even stronger, even though we don’t really talk about it that much. We’re like a really really small blood-related gang.
Now, I am going to go ahead and say this so that nothing in this post is read in the wrong context. My family is my entire world. I don’t think that biology is the only thing that determines family. Being a family is made up of life experiences, both good and bad, and the bond that forms as a result. I wouldn’t trade my people for the world.
Having said that, finding out that you are adopted is a big deal. It’s so hard to wrap your head around. I’ve known for over 10 years and there are still so many questions and thoughts. Some days, it is all I can think about. I just sit there and think things like “I wonder if he is curious about me”, “I wonder if we look alike”, “What if I reach out and he doesn’t want anything to do with me”. I mean, I know he knows I exist because he had to “sign me over” to my adoptive father. (I know that sounds bad, I just don’t know how else to say it), but he’s never tried to contact me.
I never really thought I would be able to find any answers, especially since my mom has never been able to locate her bio-parents.
About a year ago my mom sends me this shady text message. Something to the effect of “I have something I’m tempted to tell you, but I don’t know if I should”. I mean obviously I’m going to tell you to tell me, woman!
She tells me she found a picture of my bio-dad. A recent one. She sends it over. You know when you read a book and you make a picture in your head of what you think each character looks like? And then they make a movie and the person they cast looks NOTHING like what you imagined? Ok well this was that, but in real life.
So the picture, it turns out, is his head-shot from work. Naturally, I do a little Google searching (ok, a lot of Google searching and Facebook stalking) and find where he works and the address to his office. I save it in my phone to figure out what to do with it later. Which brings us to…
A lot has happened in the last year. Some of which I plan on sharing one day when I’m ready to be open about it. The possibility of writing a letter to my bio-dad has been sitting on the back burner, just kind of waiting around. Here recently it has kind of popped its head up and said “Hey, remember me?”.
so here goes nothing
I’m going to take the plunge. I’m going to write a letter, drop it in the box, and wait and see.
But what do I write? How do you write a letter to someone you don’t know?
Obviously, I am no pro on this subject. I don’t think anyone out there is. But I have thought about this letter for 10+ years and I have made some decisions about how I want it to go. Here are some questions I have asked myself in preparation.
1. should this be a long letter or short letter?
I’ve decided to go with short, sweet, and to the point. I want to include enough information that he can start to feel connected to me, but not so much that he is overwhelmed.
2. hand written or typed?
I’m going to be handwriting mine. Again, I just want him to feel connected. There is just something so much more personal about a handwritten letter. Plus, I feel like if I got a random letter in the mail, I’m going to be much more intrigued by some one’s handwriting than by Times New Roman 12pt.
3. what points do i want to get across?
I have a couple of key things I really want to come through when he reads this letter. The main one is that I don’t want him to feel like I think he owes me anything. He and my mom were so young and it was a decision they made together. I don’t think he “ran out on me” or that he is in anyway a bad person. I would also like him to know that I am completely aware that I am pretty much barging into his life unexpectedly and if he needs time to adjust, I totally get it. I mean it has only taken me forever to come around, I feel that he deserves the same. Lastly I want to be sure that he knows this is a big deal for me. I will have to figure out how to make that clear without scaring him away, but it’s really important to me that he knows this was hard for me to do. I want him to know that even though I will understand, if he decides he has no interest in getting to know me it will be pretty much devastating. (No pressure though! Ha.)
4. should I include a picture of myself?
I remember when I was about to go on a job interview, I read this article that said to dress similar to the dress code so that the person interviewing me could envision me working there. It was like a subconscious type thing. I feel like if I include a photo of myself it will have sort of the same effect. Seeing my face may make me more of a “real person”, and therefore it might make it harder to ignore my letter. Maybe? It makes sense to me.
5. How do I want him to contact me?
For me this is a no-brainier. I might as well include a business card with all of my info on it. Email, address, phone… Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest….. Ok maybe not all that. But I want him to have access to whatever form of contact he is comfortable with.
Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m your… daughter?
I realize the answers to my questions may be different for others who are going through the same thing I’m going through. Maybe you do think you are owed something, whether it be tangible or simply an explanation. Maybe you need to write a 10 page letter and include it with a photo album. Whatever you feel you need to do, do it. The sad truth is that we are not guaranteed a response. So just put it all out there and hope for the best. That way at the end of the day you can say you tried. Who knows! Maybe everything you put out you get back times 10. Or a hundred. We will never know until we try.
I would LOVE to connect with anyone who has been or is currently in a similar situation. Comment below or shoot me an email! firstname.lastname@example.org