As I sat across from the doctor and was asked for the umpteenth time what my medical history was and had no answer, I made the decision. It was time to find my birth mother. Bio Mom. I had no idea how long it would take or how one meeting would affect me so profoundly. After all, I was just doing this to find out my medical history.
My parents, who adopted me when I was three months old, are East Indian and yes, they fit the stereotype. Ma (a chemist) and Baba (a mathematician) have always been more than supportive in all that I do... even when I decided to drop out of university to pursue my dreams as a Broadway dancer. I'm sure that was a hard pill to swallow! But when I announced that I was going to search for my birth mother and Ma helped make it happen, well, I guess I just didn't expect it. Being a mom now, I realize how hard that must have been for her.
I've always known I was adopted. My parents never hid it from me and were very open with any questions I had as I got older. We talked about it with each other and to others because it was something we were proud of. The day I was adopted was declared my "Special Day" and we celebrate it every year like a birthday. As far as I'm concerned, my parents did everything right.
The months leading up to meeting Bio Mom, I was on tour and got word that she had been located and wanted to meet. Since I wasn't in town, the counseling sessions had to be done over the phone. I wondered why I needed counseling, but brushed it off.
The Day I Met My 'Mother'
With my best friend in tow, we pulled up to a rundown apartment building across town from where my parents lived. As we entered the building, a woman and man were walking toward us. She stopped. "Oh my God! You're beautiful!" Record scratch.
I rode up the elevator in silence as Bio Mom chattered on about my car, my outfit and how proud she was of me. I searched her face for any signs of myself, but found nothing.
Once in the apartment, the bizarre moments kept coming and left me open mouthed.
"So, are you disappointed?"
"You can call me mom."
"I love you!"
I was on emotional overload and I forgot why I was there! My best friend could sense the tension and started asking questions for me. We learned that I have a half brother and that Bio Mom wasn't even sure who my father was until she saw me (I'm mixed-race). Wow! We even took a trip down to the McDonald's where my half bio brother was working so we could meet. He jumped over the counter and let everyone know I was his sister, "That's my sister! I love you, Man!"
My head was about to explode!
As the visit was winding down and we got up to leave, Bio Mom was crying. I felt terrible that I felt nothing for her. She wanted to keep in touch, but I wasn't sure that was something I could do. So many "what ifs" were swirling through my head. What if she had kept me? What if I end up like her? What if I'm not able to love her? Does that make me a horrible person? I just wanted to go home.
It's been 12 years since that meeting, but that day changed the course of my life and all my relationships. Here are a few things I learned:
1. Manage Your Expectations
I never had any interest in meeting my birth parents until my medical history became an issue. Obviously, when I got word that the meeting was happening, I created some sort of fantasy of who my mother would be and how I would fit into her life. Unfortunately, for Bio Mom, and me there was no way she was going to live up to my expectations.
That day was completely overwhelming and brought up a lot of unresolved issues I didn't know existed. I found myself so angry with Bio Mom. I know now that I wasn't angry with her, I was really angry with myself. Angry for not loving her. Angry for not wanting a relationship with her. Angry for being scared of ending up like her. This wasn't a black and white situation. It was very gray. I had to stop making judgments and forgive her and myself in order to move forward. Now that I'm a mom, I understand her deep connection to me, but I've forgiven myself for not having a relationship with her.
3. Life Is A Miracle
Once I got over being angry, I was able to open my eyes to all the miracles I had been privileged to. Bio Mom gave me the miracle of a life and I am so grateful she put me up for adoption so that Ma and Baba were able to give me the miracle of my life.
4. You Create Your Family
After meeting Bio Mom, all I wanted to do was go home and hug my parents. I'm sure I've inherited a few things from Bio Mom (guess I'll never really know), but my parents have passed on precious gifts to me that have helped me become the successful human being that I am today! No, I'm not good at math or chemistry, but I'm stubborn and fight for what I believe is right, just like Baba and maybe cry a little too easily at sappy movies like Ma. The old adage, "blood is thicker than water" never really made sense to me because I believe you create your family just like my parents did.
To learn about her new children's book for multiracial children & families, visit www.ImAwesomeBecause.com