My Adoption Surprise

Six days ago I received an email from someone claiming to be my biological sister. As I detail in the video above from the day this all happened, this one random email led me to the discovery that I was adopted as a baby. I never knew I was not biologically related to my parents or my four brothers and sisters. This was a shock, as you can imagine, and I’ve been experiencing a lot of emotions. I decided to start chronicling my experience by keeping a video diary. I’ve made four entries, the first of which is above. If you want to see the rest, you can visit our You Tube Channel. They are quite raw, and I’m not sure how often I will update from here on out, but I guess I will check in when I have made some progress with my feelings and/or made some decisions about what or how much information I want to pursue from the biological family that has tried to get in touch with me.

When I shared these videos on our facebook page, I received an avalanche of support. I’ve read every one of the thousands of comments and emails you’ve sent me and they have been SO helpful. Please, keep sharing. I’m finding as I go through the process of coming to terms with this revelation that there are a million ways to feel and so many choices to make. For now, I’m letting the news settle in and not moving forward with finding out anymore information until I think I am ready to handle it. I always want to be sensitive to my family (I am not ready to start calling them my “adoptive” family, which my therapist did in our very first conversation – that freaked me out) and to this person, my biological sister, as I navigate these waters. If you know anyone who discovered late in life that they were adopted, I’d love to learn more about their stories – there doesn’t seem to be a lot of resources out there for this particular situation, or maybe I just haven’t found them yet.

Thank you all for your support, your thoughts mean so much to me, I don’t even have the words.

by

31 Comments

Ashley

Oh Jaime. What a shock! I am sure your parents love you so very much, are so very proud of you and so are desperately trying to figure out how to handle this as well. I’m sure they believed not telling you was in your best interest, whether is was the right or wrong idea….I am sure they thought they were doing what was best. Prayers for you during this confusing and emotional time.

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Annieg

I am SOOOO Sorry! When I read the title I thought you were announcing your adoption. I was not expecting this. It was common practice to not tell your children you were adopted. I don’t think anyone could foresee the technology and the ease at finding people in “the future”/ now. Of course we have learned that is not the route to go. As an adoptive momma, we talk about adoption regularly with my children and my biological daughter is the one who has a hard time that she was not adopted. Please know your adoptive family is your real family. They are the ones who were there for you. Who kissed your knees when they were scraped. Who you giggled with in the middle of the night. Some adoptees want to know that part of their life, their biological ties. Some don’t. Their is no right or wrong answer, every person is different. Your biological family is your “real” family too. They share your blood and can be a great resource for medical information. You will come to terms with it and find where you fit. But know, your adoptive family is very much there for you. You will have the same place there as you always have. This changes nothing for them. I love my children just as much as if they shared my DNA. My daughter has a closed adoption and my son has a very open adoption. We love having contact with his birthparents. They know we are his “real” parents. They respect that and it is just a mutual love and trust for each other. I wish my daughter would have that. But she will have to decide when she’s older, what path she’d like to take. Openness, or not. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions for an adoptive mom. Again, I am so sorry you are experiencing this. But you will work your way through it.

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Ann

I can only imagine the shock you are feeling over this. Find a different therapist if you need one, the one you visited obviously isn’t the right one for you. Take your time in deciding what to do. Only you can know what is right for you and you will one day just know.

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Melissa

Wow what a huge thing to process, especially as an adult. I hope this new journey is easy for you and with it, you gain even more love in your life. Of course, the beautiful thing about adoption is so many people hate their life and families, but your family chose you. You will be in my thoughts through all of this. Thank you for sharing so openly with us.

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julia

hi there- i just happened to find your blog through a link to one of your old sewing tutorials and then i saw this most recent post. i have no experience with this, but i thought i’d share this radio story by darryl mcdaniels (from run dmc) that i’ve listened to a number of times. it’s about how he found out as an adult that he was adopted incredibly moving and maybe it will mean something to you or be helpful. all the best in this journey.

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Carrie

Wow, that is a lot to process. We adopted our daughter, Lili, 3 years ago when she was an infant. We have always made a point to let her know that she is adopted to avoid the shock like you got. We have a picture of us with her birth mother in Lili’s room for her to see. We want our daughter to know that we love her and her birth mom does too, but she made the difficult choice to give Lili up so we could give Lili the life that she couldn’t give her. My thoughts are with you

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kate

There are a lot of great support groups out there depending on where you live. Many like AKA in Austin, Texas (http://adoptionknowledge.org/) bring adopted people, adoptive parents and birth parents together to share their stories and provide information (support group included). They focus on education about open adoptions, but do a great deal of education/support around closed adoptions (with similar experiences). They can point you at some great resources.

Their website does have great information even if you are located elsewhere.

I highly recommend looking to see what kind of groups are available in your area as you try to navigate this news.

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kate

I saw/heard your your video diaries, and I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you! Your website has been an amazing inspiration to me and I hope that in some small measure all of your “fans” can continue to uplift and encourage you.

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Cory

Hi – I just wanted to say something – it looks like you have lots of support, and a loving family, lots of great advice, and you have a level head, and clear mind. You are going to be fine, you understand that you are going to need time – great!! Something you may not realize, tho, is that you are grieving. You have lost something – yes, you have gained something, and true, your family is there, they love you, etc. But, in the midst of this is loss, too, your acceptance of your life, your trust in your parents, your stability in your faith – all of these things are going to be adjusted as you grow into this new knowledge. What I really want to say is this: there is no wrong way to grieve – it is a process, and takes time, and going thru the process, not running away from it, is where you will find your strength and come out the other side of it a different, but no less wonderful you. So, hurt, grieve, feel the pain, confront the stuff you need to – and know it’s all ok. Most of all, remember, all the people in your life are human, and while we want to think we would have handled certain things differently if we had to make the same choices, those who were there did what they did, most likely for the best of reasons. I have my own nightmare life, and can identify with the changes ahead of you – and trust me, it will be ok, you will survive, and you will get stronger – it’s what we do – grow. Blessings.

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heather

Please read the Book Undaunted by Christine Caine. Christine was also adopted and didn’t find out she was adopted until she was an adult. She talks about it in Her book.

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Carmen

Wow! My heart goes out to you. I have no experience with adoption but just wanted you to know I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now & you seem like a very “together” person and you will navigate through this. Blessings.

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Carla

Sending hugs. You are so brave to share your journey. I was adopted by my step father when I was twelve. The father who chose me means the world to me. Here’s hoping you find peace and even happiness at the end of this road.

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Natalie

My Husband has a child that he gave up all rights to when she was only a few months old. He did this because the mom wanted to get married to a new man and he wanted to adopt and take her in as his one. 11 years later her mom and dad got divorced and she found out the man that she had always called dad was not her real dad. Like any preteen she wanted to meet her real dad. Now we have a very good relationship with her and we see her at least once a month she still calls my husband by his first name but she has really adapted to having 4 other sisters and not being the oldest. She loves that she has older sisters to talk to and a larger network of support. I hope this information is helpful. Hang in there

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Tianna

I didn’t find out I was adopted until I was 17, found my “family” at 18, and didn’t gain the courage to actually meet my biological family until I was 24. I’ve definitely taken baby steps throughout the entire process and know how overwhelming it can be. I started with emails, phone calls, skype dates and then finally meetings with individuals/ or small groups. I still hesitate to call people “aunt” or “grandma,” or respond to “I love you.” It’s still hard to be around them as a group because as much as they look/sound/act like me, they’re not quite my family and I’m still a stranger in their eyes. It definitely takes time, and it’s a feeling not many will understand. Just know that there are people out there just as lost and confused as you are and with just as many reservations towards the situation. Hope this made you feel a little less alone! It gets easier, I promise! :]

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Where A Story Begins | All of Me…Now

[…] by Carla • 0 CommentsI’m sharing a very personal story today prompted by this post on Prudent Baby about learning you’re adopted later in life. This is a story I’ve shared with many and also one I haven’t shared so much. […]

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SMum

Thank-you for sharing. My dad gave a baby girl up for adoption when he was quite young, and our family only recently found out when she reached out to him. It is an emotional roller coaster with lots of questions, and one year later I am still trying to figure out how I feel. But the bottom line is, every decision was made out of love.

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Penny Rohleder

Hi,
Im just wondering, a year on, how you are going with everything?

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Jaime

Thank you for asking Penny! i can’t be specific about any of it but i can tell you that it has just gotten harder, not easier. I wish I had a better story to tell.

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Nicole

Wow I’ve just finished watching your you tube diary.
I too found out at 47 yrs that my dad was not my dad (who passed away in. Dec. 2014) was not my biological dad. I can relate to every emotion. I too started an ancestry.com search, I think for a sense of belonging and ownership of the situation.
I am curious to know why you stopped the diary. I was really relating to it and I felt it was helping me come to terms with my feelings and thoughts.
I have reached out to the other siblings as my biological father passed away some 6 years ago. Even though they came looking for me 10 years ago they don’t seem to want to connect now (which is ok everyone has their own emotions and reasons).
It’s difficult to make sense of how long this was hidden.
I certainly am grateful for my life and family but would say to others that there is an importance in knowing where you came from at an earlier age rather than later in life.
Knowing who my biological father was and finding out a little about him has answered some of my lifelong queries.

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Jaime

Wow, that sounds very difficult. but i related to so much of it. I stopped the diary because my family didn’t like it, pretty much. they didn’t want to talk to me if they thought i would make a video about what they said and share it with a million people. i can’t blame them. so for now, it’s just my secret story that no one can hear. and thats the worst part. best of luck to you.

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Maria

I am in the same shoes so I can speak from a heartfelt knowing. I notice you talk about your sister and brother as your sister and brother and that is b/c they are. you have one chance to grow up with a family and don’t lose sight of your family for the family you never had. Yes, it is a “biological” shock to your system, of course it is. This too shall pass. But never let that stand between you and the family you have that loves you less you miss the whole point of life.

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Lynn Assimacopoulos

My new book called “Separated Lives” is a true story about the adoption of a baby boy and years later a friend taking him on a fascinating but uncertain journey to search for his birth parents. It is available from Dorrance Publishing (in Pittsburgh, PA) http://www.DorranceBookstore.com, Barnes & Noble barnesandnoble.com and Amazon.com.
Author: Lynn Assimacopoulos

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