Michael Reid didn't know he was adopted until he was 16 years old. As a result, he's glad his grandson already knows that he was adopted.
As a young man, I never had a strong desire to find my birth parents, or learn how I was adopted. That desire came later, at the persistent (but loving) insistence of my wife.
“Don’t you want to know where you come from?” she would ask. “Or what your heritage is? Or who your parents are? Or why you’re short?”
At first, the answer was “No.” Being an adoptee never bothered me. I didn’t even know I was adopted until I was 16. I don’t remember feeling angry or betrayed. I only remember feeling surprised, and wondering, “Why did they wait until now to tell me?” I feel a little disappointment that I didn’t know sooner. I believe children should know all long that they’re adopted.
My kids laugh at me because I tell them, “The day I found out I was adopted was the last day I ironed my underpants!” I also stopped ironing my bed sheets and socks. It was my adoption rebellion against my very British parents.
My love for my mom and dad never wavered when they told me my story. Our relationship didn’t change at all. Eventually, I became curious about my birth mother. In time, I hoped to meet her. When I was ready, a friend from social services helped get some answers. I also applied for information after my children were born.
Details on my birth father were sketchy. All I knew was that he was an American from the state of Michigan. I was given the name of my birth mother, the name she gave me, the town she was born in, what her family did for a living, and how many siblings she had. I know what her hobbies were, and I know how far she went in school. But I never got to know her. My birth mother did not want contact when I requested a reunion.
I was disappointed, but not really surprised that she did not wish to reunite. How would she explain me to her family? My only regret is not having medical information to pass on to my five children. I often wonder if I have biological siblings.
Both my adoptive parents are gone now, and my reunion request was declined. But the sibling question still remains. I’ve asked myself again and again over the years, was I an only child? What if I have siblings? I’m not close with my sister, and I often wonder if my relationship with my biological siblings, if I have any, would have been different.
Although I may never get answers to my questions, things have come full circle with my adoption. Two years ago, my son and daughter-in-law brought home their baby boy. My first grandson, Noah, joined our family through adoption.
I don’t focus so much on how he came home: he is simply loved by his grandpa, and our entire family. My grandson won’t remember not knowing his story. He’ll also grow up knowing my story, and what a gift his arrival was for me.