So, remember how I vaguebooked two weeks ago about something really amazing happening that I wasn’t ready to talk about just yet? Well, I feel comfortable talking about it now. I (with the help of two awesome folks I’ll tell you about in a minute) found my birth mother.
I’ve known my whole life that I was adopted. There was never a big reveal moment, or a traumatic story. My parents always just told me that instead of just one mommy and daddy that loved me very much, I had two biological parents that loved me so much they decided my life would be better with two adoptive parents that loved me too. This did lead to some hilarious misunderstandings about how adoption worked, such as when I was told we were adopting another child and I requested a big brother as though children were menu items we could order, but wasn’t particularly difficult for me to grasp as a kid. Growing up, I had always been certain I wanted to find my biological parents (particularly my biological mother). I started working towards that end when I was 19 and have worked on and off for the last 11 years to find her.
Unfortunately for me, her name was Kimberly Smith, which might as well have been Jane Doe as far as basic record searching went. I registered with the Illinois Adoption Registry, I contacted the Illinois adoption intermediary service, I talked to private investigators, I did tons of googling, and no luck. But a few months ago, at a bridal shower for my sister, I met Arlene. Arlene is a passionate, dedicated, and really kind person who likes to help reunite adoptees and their biological families. A casual comment from her about her excitement to meet her biological sons family prompted me to mention that I was also adopted, and we were off to the races.
Over the last several months, Arlene and her friend Laurel worked so hard to find my biological mother. They’ve exchanged over 500 Facebook messages, searched countless databases, and done so much hard work for me that I cannot even describe to you. Sadly, as I had expected, Smith is a common last name, and they were really struggling to find her. I had to wait until I could get out to my parents house and go through all the old paperwork they had about my adoption. My mom and dad are meticulous record keepers, so I had stacks of paperwork to sort through, and in that search, I found my biological dads name (William Potter, Jr) which wasn’t a hell of a lot less common than Kimberly Smith. Nonetheless, I passed it along to Arlene and Laurel. They started working with the new information, but had a funny feeling about a lead they hadn’t followed up before about a woman named Denise Smith who was on Facebook, married to a man named Dion Smith. I went out to dinner with Aaron and wasn’t looking at my phone.
I came back a few hours later to dozens of messages between Arlene and Laurel, including a final one where Arlene asked me to call her. I did, and she said, “I told you I could find anyone! Denise Smith is Kimberly’s sister in law. We found her, and she gave us her phone number and said you could call her any time!” I was stunned, excited, and overwhelmed, and before I knew it, I was dialing Denises number. We talked for a while, and I found out some basic information about Kim, and Denise and I planned to maybe meet up for coffee or something, and friended each other on Facebook. I got to see a picture of Kim for the first time in my life, and we look a lot alike :). Schedules worked out that last weekend, she and I met up in Rockford for brunch, and we chatted like old friends. She’s a real hoot, and so easy to talk to. Still, I really wanted to talk to Kim, but I didn’t want to be pushy or anything, so I waited.
Last night, Kim texted me and said she’d love to talk. We set up a time for tonight around 8, and after a Xanax and a light dinner I barely tasted, I gave her a call. We just got off the phone a few minutes ago, and it was a wonderful conversation. We have plans to meet up for dinner on Sunday, and I can’t wait.
An important note: Kim is a wonderful human being, and I am ecstatic to get to know her (and her family) better. I haven’t found my biological dad yet, and that’s on the back burner for now. I have an amazing family who I love with all my heart, and nothing can ever change that. This is just a wonderful, unexpected, delightful addition to my life. It’ll be great to find out who I have to blame for the cowlicks in my hair, and we already found out that we are both really ugly criers (just from talking about it, we didn’t cry, because that’s just not something either of us does). Thank you to Arlene and Laurel for finding her and Denise. Thank you to my amazing friends for all their support. Thank you to my family, who can never be replaced or diminished by a new relationship with my biological mom and her family. I am so excited to see where this leads.