A moment of gratitude here for the Internet. I think people in my situation prior to the Internet that were trying to discover their truth, to connect with others walking the same path, and to learn had such limited opportunity as to make this staggeringly huge project virtually impossible or at least much too overwhelming to embark upon. If I had discovered my truth back in those times I wonder what I would have done?
Within minutes of discovery I was scouring the Internet for resources and information. I learned almost immediately about the Original Birth Certificate (commonly referred to as OBC) – this would have my birth mother’s and possibly my birth father’s name on it . I also learned that the laws vary from state to state as to whether or not an adoptee has the right to obtain this critical document, and there are ongoing legal battles to release them. Fortunately for me I am in a state that does, and so I contacted my public health department, downloaded the necessary form and sent it off. That was mailed on 10/7, so we’ll see how long it takes. I also downloaded forms for the Adoptee Registry and for sharing medical information. There is also a form to redact your information. I haven’t read the statute too closely but it seems that after the redacting party is deceased you can get the unredacted information.
I’ll have more to say about the OBC thing later, but I must say it compounded my sense of betrayal to think that not only were many family members and friends of the family conspiring to keep me ignorant of basic facts about myself, but so was the state! I understand about the times and the stigmas attached to the birth mothers and the bastard children, so I have not yet come to anything like a conclusion about the practice, but my knee jerk reaction was incredulity. You’re not supposed to falsify official documentation, period. Isn’t that a felony or something? Yeesh.
I joined a forum and a facebook group and got such warm supportive responses to my initial posts that it really helped steady and encourage me. One of them suggested I do the DNA test from Ancestry and another the mtDNA test, so I have ordered both. Ironically I have spent the past several years constructing a vast family tree. I have traced my adoptive father’s family back to the 900s, and found many interesting facts about members of the tree. I look at that work now and just feel numb. It’s still interesting, it’s still technically my family, but there’s a disconnect for me now. I wonder why that should be? I read somewhere that we are all related by a surprisingly small number of genetic steps, so perhaps someday I will embark on a discovery to link myself back to that tree somehow. Probably no time soon though.
I still feel like a stranger in a strange land, groping my way about and pretty sure that I don’t want to be here in the first place. But the natives have been very kind and I will try in turn to be kind to those that find themselves here after me.