When I first started this blog seven or so years ago, I wrote a post trying to implore more people to consider adopting from the foster care system and to consider adopting a child of another race. My point was that people should just get over their fears, swallow their biases and do the right thing. An acquaintance had the courage to confront me about the post. She detailed some of the struggle family faced in trying to incorporate a few boys of another race into their family. While I did not know her well at the time, I knew her well enough that I believed her story. Ultimately, I took the post down because it was obvious that I was wrong. I still think more people should adopt from the foster care system over all other options. Parents who have children in that system are aware of the precarious nature of their rights. That is not always the case with private adoptions. For example, women in Michigan who give up their children voluntarily to be adopted often have no idea that th
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The day after I found out my birth father had passed away, I found myself on a phone call with his brother (my UNCLE!) for the first time. He asked a perfectly reasonable question given the situation, one that I had been wrestling with in some form for 25 years; why did I wait so long to reach out? I don’t remember what I said that night, aside from explaining that I needed to get over the anger I had felt for so many years. But that answer was incomplete because the real answer takes to long to explain. Please understand, my anger was real. For almost the first 21 years of my life, I thought I knew who my father was and thankfully, I was told the truth. While I am forever grateful that I now know the truth, it was still jarring. I felt betrayed by almost everyone I was close to, including the family member who decided to break the news to me. Time and truth helped me heal, and I was able to start forgiving everyone, including the family member who took a stand to tell me.
As I am working to build relationships with some of my birth father’s family, I have come to realize there is no blueprint for how to do this. Some in the family are quite comfortable with me being in their lives, others still wonder why I came around in the first place. Each visit is emotionally draining. I have come to learn that I come across as a calm, collected person even when my thoughts are racing, making it vital for me to take time after each visit to process what I am learning. Aside from my first visit with my grandmother, there haven’t been a lot of tears shed when we are together. Instead, a lot of laughter has been shared, stories exchanged and a growing knowledge that our paths needed to cross for me to feel whole. Meeting after he passed away adds a layer of complexity to our conversations. They are all learning how to live in a world without their beloved son, husband, brother and uncle. The family secret that everyone knew but did not talk about is out in