By LSSNCA guest blogger, Maicie Jones
“If you’re searching to find your birth family, you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re searching to find yourself, it will be difficult, but it will be the most amazing journey of your life.” These were the words that Lizz Sinclair’s mentor spoke to her when she told him of her quest to find her biological parents.
As part of National Adoption Month, it is important to acknowledge how adoption agencies, like LSSNCA, have expanded their roles to thoughtfully help adoptees as the nature of adoption has changed. Adoption has evolved from a secretive process in which the identities of birth parents remained anonymous to one in which adoptees are given more information about their origins. This has taken place because adoptees, like Lizz, who originally knew nothing about their biological parents, began a journey to better understand their roots.
Lizz was adopted through LSSNCA in the 1960s and raised by her parents in Maine. “I grew up as part of a loving family and had a great childhood,” Lizz recounts. Lizz’s parents didn’t share with her that she was adopted because they didn’t want her to feel that she wasn’t their child, that they loved her any less. But as Lizz got older, she became aware that she looked different from other members of her family. “I’m biracial, and people would ask, ‘What are you?’ I felt like an outsider.”
It took a long, direct conversation with her mother for Lizz to learn the truth. “My mom felt that if she just loved me enough, my adoption shouldn’t matter.” Even though Lizz loved the family that raised her, she also wanted to know more about her origins. “If I didn’t know who I was, how could I share who I am with others?” Lizz explained. In her 50s, Lizz began a journey to find her birth parents.
“I would like to emphasize how wonderful the staff were at the Lutheran Social Services… I was terrified to start this process. When I first met with a social worker, I thought I would be asked to fill out a lot of forms or would be told there was nothing they could do because my records were closed. Whatever happened, I expected our meeting to be rushed. That’s not what it was like, though. Instead, Maureen slowed our conversation down and asked me how I was feeling about taking this step and what it was like for me to be adopted,” Lizz recalls. “She helped me think about how I would feel and react to different scenarios that could result from my search… I am grateful for the thoughtfulness that LSS brought to the process… I felt seen for the first time. It was empowering.”
“ I feel fortunate to have many guides to help me on this journey- the person at the desk who answered my first phone call; Maureen and Michelle, the social workers who first worked with me; the skilled staff who have worked with me since; my family, friends, mentors, colleagues, and others I have found along the way. This is my journey, but am definitely not alone.”
Because of her search, Lizz connected with her birth mom and found she has three half-sisters. “I actually feel more a part of my adoptive family since I’ve learned about my adoption and birth mother… Understanding my history and getting a sense of my roots, allowed me to feel comfortable with who I am. I came from somewhere”
LSSNCA continues to help adoptees and their families during every stage of the adoption process and throughout their journeys in life. Through LSSNCA’s adoption services, we are able to provide adoption case management, provide pre and post-adoption home studies, and assist in reunification through the Break the Seal program. If you’d like to inquire about our services, please fill out this form on our website.