Meeting the Parents

On March 16, 2012, I boarded a plane in Charleston, WV that was bound for Pensacola, FL where I was to meet my natural mom for the first time. We had been separated at my birth – a birth that was to be celebrated for the 37th year a short four days later. I had been talking with my natural mom since February 19 (the day after she celebrated her birthday), so the meeting was a pivotal moment in a relationship that had already begun to shape. I had barely slept the night before because I was so excited to meet her. I already knew I liked her (and, in fact, that I loved her too), but I was pumped to actually see her. We had discussed getting on Skype with each other prior to our first meeting, but I wanted the moment when I first looked into her eyes to be in person. After what seemed like an excruciatingly long morning (two flights – one delayed, which meant I was several hours late getting to Pensacola), I pulled my bag from the overhead bin, got off the plane, and walked straight into an embrace with my natural mom – who was so excited I could feel her rapid heartbeat during our hug. I can picture everything about that moment in my mind right now – what she was wearing (jeans, t-shirt and tennis shoes – cool points for the laid back wardrobe), the first time I saw her smile, and the loving eyes of a mom (MY mom) who had wanted to see her “baby” for almost 37 years. It was a pivotal moment – and a perfect one too – that was followed by more pivotal moments over the weekend as I met my grandmother, brothers, sister-in-law, niece, and an aunt and uncle.

Yesterday (Thursday, January 17, 2013), I had another pivotal moment in my adoption journey as I met my natural dad for the first time. As I stood in the foyer of a Ruby Tuesday yesterday morning waiting for him to arrive, I grew nervous. It was a feeling unfamiliar to me in this reunion process because I had really only felt excitement about meeting my natural mom, but I realized it was because we had talked on the phone almost every day for a month prior to our face-to-face meeting and my natural dad and I had communicated exclusively through email and Facebook messages. In fact, I had only heard him speak two times – Wednesday night and Thursday morning when we made plans to meet each other. The majority of my nervousness went away in the first moment we shared as he walked into the foyer, smiled, and asked if it would be okay to hug me (cool points for asking in that moment). We proceeded to a booth, ordered some drinks (sweet tea for me, coffee for him with cream only I believe), and chatted for the first time. I was immediately struck by the fact that I have his eyes (deep brown) and hair (especially if I let mine grow long), and a smile that is a unique combination of his and my natural mom’s. We shared about two hours together yesterday and agreed to share more in the future. We may even try our hand at Skype so we can see each other when we talk – turns out, the reason we didn’t talk on the phone before was because neither of us like to talk on the phone – go figure! My take-away is that he is a cool dude – from his musicianship all the way down to his jeans, t-shirt, and flannel shirt wardrobe.

And now that I’ve met my natural parents, I can confirm I am a unique combination of both of them – from looks to personality to thought patterns – but that’s a blog for another day.

Looking in Their Eyes

I was adopted through a closed adoption process. In short, that means no one met anyone else, nor was any identifying information about any of the parties given to the others. In fact, my natural mom never even saw ME – I was born and taken from her before she could even look at me, know my gender, or hold me.

Part of the challenge of a closed adoption process is it forever shuts a door on the adoptee looking into the eyes of his/her natural parents. I know to some that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it was for me. I always wanted to look into the eyes of my natural parents to see how much of me was reflected in them.

I was blessed to be born in the State of Tennessee, which passed an open records law. This allowed me to gather identifying information about my natural parents and start the process of finding them. In fact, the State ran the original search for my parents and was the way I reached my natural mom. I found my natural dad through Facebook (because the State couldn’t find him – go figure), but that’s another story for another day.

My reunion with my natural mom, grandmother, aunts, and brothers has allowed me to look into the eyes of my family and see me. In fact, in my first moments with them, I felt at ease and it’s because of everything we have in common – thanks to genetics.

I am traveling to Pensacola next week and hope to meet my natural father. I look forward to this opportunity because there are some things about me that didn’t get explained in meeting my natural mom and I suspect he is the key to those items.

Looking in their eyes is a big deal. For those who agree, I pray you will have that opportunity. And if you aren’t adopted, I hope you take the time you should to look into your parents eyes – don’t take it for granted. It’s an amazing opportunity.