Unsealing My Adoption

This is a small taste of what it’s like to courageously seek out your birth parents as an adoptee….

(AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)



I contacted LSS/NCA nervous but excited about starting the search for my birth parents. Dozens of years had passed since my adoption through LSS/NCA.

LSS/NCA staff ensured that I was well prepared for the search: the emotions I would feel, the frustration of how long it may take, the potential heartache if my birth parents didn’t want to be found.  That first call to LSS/NCA took courage but waiting shook me to my very nerves. After a court order was secured and I felt comfortable to begin, LSS/NCA staff legally begin to investigate my adoption.

I have a happy healthy family and love my parents. I grew up in a great home and made memories that I was blessed to create. By seeking my birth parents, I was not trying to find a piece of me that was lost or fill an empty hole. I just wanted to know. I had questions and the answers seemed so easily attainable. I soon found out, the process is much more difficult than anticipated.

The search for a birth family is not easy. LSS/NCA’s adoption program began more than 60 years ago. While every adoption and foster care case has a record, there is no simple Google search or card catalog system to find birth families.  There are only drawers and drawers of paper files that must be explored by hand. Even when a file is found, there’d be no guarantee that my mother left her name, a father’s name, or contact information.

It was a bumpy ride and seemed like months before I heard anything. (Although, it had only been a few weeks.) Luckily, my record was located and it identified both of my birth parents. An internet search yielded current contact information, and letters were sent to both birth parents from LSS/NCA staff.  Within a week, LSS/NCA received a response from my birth mother. I was told that she was very excited, yet frightened about reconnecting with me. She shared with LSS/NCA that following the adoption she had married my birth father and had three additional children. She felt guilty but joyful about the possibility of meeting me–her first daughter. LSS/NCA prepared both me and my birth mother for our reunion.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel seeing her for the first time. Would I be angry or sad? Was it a mistake to meet her? Did she even care how I had turned out? I reunited with my birth family reunited at a local park in Virginia (with the support of my adoptive family). As it turns out, the day was much different than expected. I had come seeking answers but found so much more. Along with my birth parents, I met siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. It was an overwhelming but magical day.  I know every reunion is different and some never end up happening. Thus, I feel pleased and privileged to have had the opportunity.  There are still questions but I am proud that I was able to take that first step and grateful to LSS/NCA that they held my hand along the way.

~Mrs. H

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