I never had a burning desire to find my roots. I had never felt something was missing in my life. I wasn’t bitter about being put up for adoption or wanted answers to why. My adoptive parents had brought me up to never judge, presume or resent. I am one of those awful people that in a middle of a crisis, points out all the positives of the situation, sees both sides of the story and is in general positively annoying.
There were two factors that did change my mind and start me on my hunt to find my birth parents. One of them was medical history. I didn’t know anything about my medical history. Did my mother have her menopause early, was there anything I might be allergic too or any family illnesses I could be lined up for.
The other factor was if I left it till later I may have children of my own. If there was a reunion and it was positive how would I explain new ‘grandparents’ to my children? Would I have enough strength to go through it all and to help my children through it too?
I decided to test the waters. If my birth parents proved hard to find then it wasn’t meant to be.
In 1975 there was a change in the adoption law which enabled all adopted adults the right to apply got a copy of their original birth certificate and information about which agencies might have involved in their adoption. I was adopted before 1975 so I also had to apply to the Registrar General for birth record counseling.
They talked me through the process and talked about different scenarios I may have to face. They contacted the adoption agency that held my adoption files as the adoption agency that handled my adoption had since closed. In the files were the addresses that my birth parents had lived at when I was born. They weren’t married or lived together and both still lived at home with their respective parents. The lady who was assigned to me from the counseling checked the two addresses on the electoral role. Amazingly my grandparents were still living there, neither of them had moved house.
The counseling lady composed letters and made the first contact with me. Within a few weeks, I was in correspondence with both my birth mother and birth father.
If you would like to read more on adoption there is the What’s it like to grow up knowing your adopted article