Meredith McCullough's Adoption Story

I've known I was adopted for as long as I can remember. Growing up in a house with an older sister who was adopted from another family and having a childhood friend who was adopted made it seem like a very “normal” thing to me. I actually found it to be a very special and unique part of me. My family and I celebrate my adoption day, as we call it my special day and that’s exactly how it always felt: special. Of course, growing up from time to time I would have those moments where I’d wonder about my roots but as far as I knew my birth mother loved me so much, she gave me a better life.

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Off and on throughout the years especially as I got older I would “search” but didn’t try very hard and would hit dead ends and give up. Then I’d revisit a few years later. It wasn’t until I got pregnant that I really began to push to search. I wanted answers not only for my soon to be baby but for myself. Unfortunately I didn’t feel comfortable talking about this with my parents so I moved forward with the support from others around me.   

Coming from a closed adoption in the 80's I was only allowed access to non-identifying information. I thought why not, let’s see if I get any new information. Low and behold after a lot of back and forth I found out there was a letter from my birth mother in my file which was written when I was just one week old. She said that she wanted to be contacted if I ever wanted to contact her. Some time went by but the social worker was able to find my birth mother, who oddly enough was married to my birth father.

Over the span of a few months we managed to start our contact through the social worker and after three letters we decided to exchange full information. Two months following I was headed to meet my birth family for the very first time. Turns out I not only had birth parents who were together still to this day, but I had a full blood brother and sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. There was an entire family waiting to welcome me.

Needless to say the first meeting was extremely overwhelming. I wish I had documented my feelings throughout the whole process. I remember sitting on the couch that first meeting and just answering question after question about my life to each new person who sat next to me.

It’s now five years into our reunion. It has come with many emotions – emotions that I didn’t even know I had. Navigating through new relationships and trying to manage old ones. I have to remind myself that no family is conventional anymore. My hope is that one day both of my families will meld together. This may never happen but I’m a believer in the fairy tale. I mean what person doesn’t want that?

Despite the emotions that come along with search and reunion I’m glad I did it. I would have always wanted answers and now I have another family who loves me. I had a great life because one woman loved me so much she was brave enough to let me go and another one loved me so much she never looked at me like I wasn’t her own. I will forever be thankful for the life I had. This is my new “normal” and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Sheena Stewart's Adoption Story

Hello, my name is Jae Sheena Mary Stewart. I am adopted. I was adopted at age 7. My life started off not so easy. My birth mother had some mental health issues and because of this I was born very small and had health issues. I was in the hospital for few months. Then was taken home by a nurse so she could help me. After I was better, a family took me in. I was bounced back and fourth to many foster homes till I found my forever home.

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My adopted mother, Jan, knew I was special I just needed extra love and care. She was told by many personal health people that I wouldn’t be able to live a normal healthy life as I got older, due to my many disabilities and labels from the abuse I went through. My mom never listened to them.

I had many people who helped me teach me life skills and copying skills. I am now a 32 year old women who is loved by an amazing family. I have a wonderful partner and few great friends. I have my BA in early education and work as a preschool teacher assistant. I was told by many due to the things I went through I wouldn’t be able to handle many things. I have proved them all wrong and still do!! Being adopted has its moments with my other family it’s hard at times. I get triggered at times from my past stuff, but I work around my issues and being in therapy helps. I believe we all get the lives we have for a reason. I would not change anything because if it did I wouldn’t have found my Mom, Jan and my forever home.