A month after her 40th birthday, Tracey Myers of Bellingham opened a letter that changed the course of her life. Her birth mother was looking for her. What has followed over the past two years has been a story of long-awaited reunions, unconditional love, and self-discovery. This month marks National Adoption Month, a fitting time for this mom of Jack, 14, Juliana, 10 and stepchildren Emma, 16, and Craig, 14, to share her journey.
1. Tell us about your early life.
I was adopted when I was a month old. My (adoptive) parents couldn’t have children of their own. I’ve always known I was adopted and I’ve always known I was their daughter. My mom stopped working as soon as she got the call that I was going to be theirs. She was always around and involved. My dad was a salesman. And I had a younger sister who was also adopted.
2. Growing up, what did you know about your birth parents and your adoption?
I remember as a teenager, my family and I were out at a restaurant and my mom used a napkin to draw out our nationalities (of our birth families). I never really asked a lot about my adoption. It was just who I was. I was adopted. I assumed my birth mother was probably young when she had me.
3. Did you ever think about finding your birth family?
I always wondered: If I saw (my biological) mother on the street or in a mall, would I recognize her? I never thought to intentionally look for her. I’ve heard that once adopted people become parents they often start to look for their biological parents so they can get a health history. I just told my kids’ pediatrician their Dad’s health history and that was OK with me.
4. Tell us what happened near your 40th birthday.
I got a letter from the adoption agency. The letter was well-written and sensitive, recognizing that it may be shocking to hear that my birth mother wants to reach me. They left the decision up to me. My husband, Mike, was the one who helped me. He asked me, “What if you get another letter tomorrow saying, ‘Sorry this was a mistake, we have the wrong person.’?” I would have been really disappointed.
5. What was your first face-to-face meeting like with your biological mom?
We hugged, sat down, looked at pictures. It was really comfortable. She told me a bit of my story. She was 13. She named me Ami Christine. She never forgot me and thought of me each year on my birthday. She lived on the Cape. For years, I was driving through her town and never knew.
6. How has this reunion changed you and your family?
Well, we’ve doubled in size. My (biological) mother helped me find my birth dad, too. I now have three half-siblings. After I met my (biological) dad, I felt my circle was complete. My (adoptive) parents have been amazing and supportive.
7.What has been the most unexpected part of this journey?
The letter is still the most shocking. Even when I read it to this day I remember how I felt. I tell my (biological family), “You guys got me, but I got all of you.” It can be overwhelming at times. I have learned a lot about myself as a person and the whole idea of nature vs. nurture is very real.
8.What would you say to other adoptive kids or biological parents who may want to find one another?
For me, my (biological) mom took all the risk away when she decided to look for me, which is fairly unique. I can’t tell everyone it’s going to be a rosy story. You may not want to find them. They may want to keep it in the past. But I’m discovering myself as a person. I feel I found a missing link that I didn’t realize was missing I until I found it.