Searching to understand
Although I didn’t feel the urgent need I’d had when I was a teenager, I still wanted to find my birth parents. I was curious – I thought it would help me understand why they had given me away.
My mum was helping me in my search. I’d moved in with her after my divorce and one day, in April 2012, she found a legal document with my birth mother’s name on it. It was a power of attorney document giving my birth mother’s sister the right to give me up for adoption.
I read it over and over, then I realised why it had been so difficult to trace my birth mother. We only knew her maiden name and had been searching with that, but she had married and changed her name.
Her sister had signed the document as a witness, and there was an address for her on it. I stared, stunned. The address was only five minutes’ drive away from where we lived.
I went straight there and didn’t think about anything until I was walking up to the door. My nerves jangled as I rang the bell. I didn’t know who was going to answer or what reaction I would get.
A woman opened the door. I peered at her, wondering if she was my birth mother. She had the same skin colour as me and her face looked quite similar to mine.
“Hi, I’m Amy,’’ I said, the words tumbling out. “I’m looking for my birth mother.’’ The woman looked shocked – then grinned. “No way!’’ she cried. It turned out she was my aunt, my birth mother’s step-sister.
“Come in,’’ she said, hugging me and bustling me through the door.
I had so many questions and they all came out in a rush. “Can you tell me anything about my family?’’ I asked. “Where’s my birth mother? Why did she give me away?”
My aunt smiled. “I’m not close with your birth mother now, but I can give you her number,’’ she said.
“When you were born it was a difficult time – your mum couldn’t keep you,’’ my aunt continued. “You look just like your half-sister.’’
I was overwhelmed to meet somebody from my family. I suddenly realised I was very close to meeting up with all the members of my family, and hearing that I looked like my halfsister made me want to see her even more. I wanted the first conversation between my mother and me to be private, so I walked away with her telephone number and decided to make the call outside on the road. My hands trembled as I dialled her number.
“Hello?’’ came a voice at the end of the line.
“Hi, this is Amy. I was given your number by your sister,” I said. I’m the daughter you gave away 23 years ago.’’
There was silence on the end of the phone.
“Amy? I don’t believe it,’’ she said. I asked her how she was, where she lived, who my father was... “I’ll tell you everything in person,’’ she said, sounding happy. We arranged to meet the next day.
I went home in a daze. It was surreal. I had been searching for so long, and now I was about to meet my birth mother.
Mum was worried. “Are you OK to meet her?’’ she asked, concerned.
I nodded. “I’ve come this far, I want to see her,’’ I said.
I was looking forward to meeting her and also finding out about my dad. I wanted to ask her why she gave me away.
The next day I was nervous but excited ahead of the meeting, but coming face to face with her was amazing.
She was with my three older brothers and one younger sister, so I met them all. “This is crazy,’’ I said as I hugged each one of them.
Zak, the brother a year older than me, still looks like my twin. They lived less than an hour away from me – I couldn’t believe that we were so close yet so far apart.
My half-siblings were pretty shocked to meet me – they hadn’t known about my existence as nobody had told them about me – but once they got over the surprise, they were very welcoming. We were all talking and hugging, then I sat down to talk to my birth mother.
I thought there would be a bond there, some natural connection, but it was weird. She was a stranger, and it wasn’t as emotional as I had expected. For some reason, we didn’t click and it
Growing up, Amy was lavished with love by her adoptive parents