Who Am I

No, this is not the Song of the Week post about the classic Casting Crowns song.

Today, Tam (or as we know her in Tweet-land, @inProgress) posted about being a little girl, and imagining her father was on every airplane that flew overhead. The post struck a chord with me.

I am a child of adoption. I was adopted when I was seven months old, and although my adoptive parents, my real parents, are tremendous, wonderful people, who did a fine job raising me, there is always some part of an adopted child who wonders "Who am I?"

I've read that most adopted people who seek out their birth parents do so in their forties. I'm not sure why this is. Maybe it's one of those change-of-life things. Buy a sportscar, get a facelift, find your birthparents. Maybe it's that when you hit forty, you start measuring your own mortality, start realizing the scales may be tipping, that there may be more days behind than ahead.

Whatever the reason, when I hit forty a year and a half ago, I started thinking more and more about this question. Not that I'm in any way unsatisfied with my life; it's more of just an identity issue. I think on some level, we all want to know "who am I; where do I come from."

My situation is complicated by the fact it was an international adoption of sorts. Although I was adopted through an agency in New York City, I was born in a very rural part of Canada. How and why I came from one of the least populated parts of the hemisphere to one of the most populous cities on earth is part of the mystery.

A while after my 40th birthday I went and tracked down the agency that handled my adoption. Apparently, they closed in 2002. A little more research dug up the name of the agency that had acquired their accounts. An email to them finally returned an answer that the adoption records from the sixties had been transferred to the City. Contact so-and-so at such-and-such an agency.

That email sat in my inbox for a couple of weeks. What do I do now? Finally I called. So-and-so was on vacation, but doesn't handle that anyway. I'll transfer you. The next persons said "yes, I have those records. Give my your name, date and place of birth. The records aren't catalogued. We may not have anything. I'll pull the file. Call back in ten days."

That was thirteen months ago. I never called back. I'm not sure why.

In 2003, Canada passed the Adoption Act. One of the provisions of this law is that anyone who was adopted prior to 2003 can requests the entire file - birth name, birth parents names, adoption order - everything. And unless there is a veto filed requesting this information not be released, it is given. It takes a year for the paperwork to clear. But it's out there. Fifty bucks Canadian and a stamp.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do. What would you do?


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