Christina, adopted as an infant, spent her life wondering if her birth mother thought about her. She enjoyed a happy childhood with her adoptive parents, who adopted her in the late 60’s. Yet, throughout her life, she struggled with unanswered questions about her biological parents.
Christina found answers to her questions when she began her search to uncover family health history. At age 18, Christina contacted Catholic Charities, the organization that handled her adoption. Many agencies, including Catholic Charities, are no longer able to provide post adoption services and have contracts with other organizations such as Children’s Home Society and Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota to provide these needed services (CH/LSS).
Christina’s inquiry provided the opportunity for her birth mother to reach out to her. The two began to exchange mediated letters through CH/LSS post adoption services. Christina learned that her birth mother had yearned to contact her, hoping to find that she was happy and thriving.
At age 22, Christina finally met her birth mother in person and found the answer she had long sought: her birth mother never stopped thinking about her.
“Every year on my birthday, she silently celebrated,” Christina said. “When someone places a child for adoption, they don’t forget about them; that stays with them their whole lives.”
Decades later, at age 45, Christina connected with her biological father. They discovered many similarities, including a shared passion for supporting people with disabilities — a field in which Christina built a two-decade-long career. She learned that he established a group home for people with disabilities. She also learned they share a love for music and that her birth father was a talented artist — a skill he shares with
Christina’s father passed away in November 2018, just six years after she met him. Although their time together was short, she said they built a deep connection. The chance to spend time with him near the end of his life, Christina said, offered her closure.
“I’m glad that I got to be there for him, because if I had waited six more years, I wouldn’t have been able to get to know him,” she said.
Through reconnecting with her birth parents, Christina learned that she has more than a dozen siblings. She is the oldest of her birth mother’s 11 other children. Through the years, she has become close with each of them. She also met her birth father’s four other children; meeting Christina, his children told
her, was one of the best things to ever happen to their father.
Through her reunion experience, Christina said she gained a stronger appreciation of the opportunities she had growing up with her adoptive family: living in Japan for two years in high school, taking music lessons and attending a private college, where she even learned to play the bagpipes.
Christina said her adoptive parents were supportive of her connecting with her birth parents. Her mother even wrote a letter to Christina’s biological mother thanking her for the opportunity to be a parent.
“Finding my birth parents didn’t change my relationship with my adoptive parents because I never let it,” Christina said. “Growing up, I never got angry and said, ‘you’re not my real parents,’ and I think that’s because of how open my parents always were about adopting my brother and me.”
Building relationships with both of her birth parents and their children, Christina said, meant she gained both additional family members and a clearer insight into who she is.
“There are so many answers you just don’t have when you’re adopted,” Christina said. “I’m really glad I got the opportunity to meet my biological family, because it helped me to understand who I am as a person.”