In honor of National Adoption Month, GIFT is sharing the insights of adoptees. We invited them to share any thoughts which might assist families currently raising their children. Our first guest blogger is Parker Swift, pictured at left at 22 months. He is now 28.
I always knew that I was adopted. From as far back as I can remember that had been explained to me by my parents. Knowing this from such an early age made it just another fact of life. Acknowledged and accepted. I’m sure I spent time (in my young life,) wondering about my birth mom.
What did she look like? What kind of life did she have? Did she ever think about me? Who was this woman who gave me the gift of life? What were or even what we talked about her reasons for giving me up? Where was she now?
Such were some of the questions I pondered growing up—especially when I was on punishment or not getting my own way, fantasizing about life with my “real” mom had great appeal.
Needless to say, I was blessed to be adopted by wonderful parents who did their very best to raise me with love, discipline and responsibility. I can’t offer any complaints about the life they offered me—though I don’t think I was very cooperative in taking advantage of some of the opportunities. They were always supportive of me getting in contact with my birth mom and of the relationship I am building with her today. The first time I talked to my birth mom … she actually looked me up. She contacted the adoption agency who then put us in touch. We wrote a couple letters back and forth and finally one day I called her.
Hearing my mom’s voice for the first time was amazing. Instantly familiar, almost as if memories locked away since I was an infant were awakened. I don’t remember how long we talked that night or even what we talked about. But, I know that when we finally said good-bye that a hunger I never had acknowledged existed was finally satisfied. In the years since that first phone call, I have begun to build a great relationship with my birth mom. We talk every weekend. I know about her life, what she loves, her extended family and the answers to so many of my questions I had while growing up. It has been, and is, so wonderful to have her in my life.
If you had told me when I was younger how fulfilling it would be to know my birth mom, I’m not sure I would have understood that. It is hard to grasp on to such an idea if you are not adopted, but it is something I would not trade for the world.
I would encourage any adoptee out there to pursue contact with your birth family. No matter how close a relationship that may or may not, come from that contact, just having answers to unanswered questions will be life changing. It was for me.