The Day I Found Out I Was Adopted
It was the day of my fifth birthday.
After constantly being questioned by the kids at school about my heritage, I finally asked my Mum what our nationality was, because I kind of looked different from my parents, and from most of the kids at school.
She was totally honest, and told me I was their adopted son.
At that moment, I didn't think too much more about it -- as a five-year-old, all I cared about was my birthday cake, and playing with my friends on the brand new Atari 2600 that Mum and Dad gave me as a present.
But that day, she told me I was chosen, very much loved, and really special. The way she handled such a momentous conversation, especially for a child, was amazing, and I have no doubt her words had a massive impact on helping me accept who I was.
But there was always that part of me that wanted to know more about my heritage, and of course to avoid the wrath of the older kids at primary school who bullied me. But that's every kid's journey, isn't it?
While the challenges I faced growing up were varied, and most were not linked to being adopted, I did definitely always feel I had something to prove.
The number of times I was questioned over my nationality, and never really knowing myself, made me feel like a huge part of me was missing. And in the end, that's what drove me, at the age of 30, to find my biological mother.
It took me three decades to make the decision, but once I did, everything happened very quickly.
I contacted the Department of Human Services, which facilitated me meeting with 10 other adoptees. The experience was very emotional, particularly when I was faced with my original birth certificate.
Not many people can say they have two birth certificates, but I can. It was super confronting, considering I had grown up in a traditional Anglo-Saxon home -- and then to learn that my biological mother was Turkish. It was huge.
As the facilitated session wrapped up, we were advised to take it slowly in terms of reaching out to find out more. We were told to give it six months, to allow the new life-changing information to sink in.
I didn’t heed the advice.
Within 48 hours, I had located and found my biological mother, and set up a time for us to meet.
It was such a strange feeling. I'll never forget it as I was running towards her, and then all of a sudden we were in front of each other. And that's when she was all over me, kissing me, hugging me, saying how sorry she was.
It was super overwhelming, and difficult to process.
But then, I was knocked for a loop again, when I looked down at her stomach, and realized she was heavily pregnant, and was about to have her second child.
‘Oh my god,’ I thought. I was going to have a sibling, something I wanted my whole life.
When I asked my biological mother why she gave me up for adoption, she explained that she was very young when she fell pregnant. And she told me a shocking story, one that’s too sensitive to discuss here, but it changed my life forever.
Looking back, I think people who have been adopted will always feel like there is something "missing" from their identity. In my case, that perpetual feeling shaped me, helping me to form a really strong sense of self, and be super independent.
In a way, I look at it as a blessing and a curse -- sometimes a superpower that has guided me, but sometimes detrimental, especially as I formed relationships.
But I will forever have two families, and for that I’ll always be grateful. And today I know I am just like anyone else, more than worthy enough to have been given the gift of life, and love, that so many people often take for granted.