Today I’m excited to have blogger Yvette Porter Moore share her insight about family history research from an adoptee’s standpoint.
Being adopted sometimes intensifies the age-old adage “Who am I?” and “Where do I come from?” Adopted genealogy adds an extra layer of bricks and mortar to break-through. Most adoption records are sealed and not open to the forever “child,” who is now an adult.
Having reunited with my birth family about twenty-three years ago, I can still remember the process, and the feelings I experienced. I found myself overwhelmed by the gnawing questions of wanting to know who I was, where I came from and if there was anyone that looked like me. Many more questions arose, and I had no idea if I would ever know the answers.
I was raised in a loving home. My parents were an established couple, together at least ten years before deciding to adopt. I was their second child as they adopted a boy a year earlier, and I completed our family.
I learned about my adoption at eight years old. I began my adoption search at eighteen, reunited with my birth mother at twenty-one and reunited with my birth father’s family at twenty-four.
Reuniting can come with different emotions and reactions. As the searcher, I prepared myself for the possibility of rejection. Those being searched out did not have the time to prepare for my arrival, so their response is what I had to be ready for. A rejection upfront from the birth-parent does not mean it is a forever rejection. However, it may take that person time to work through their emotions before they can accept any type of relationship or second meeting.
Genealogy after the Birth Family Reunion
Adopted Genealogy Research
My interest in genealogy became very important to me when my adopted mother asked me to research her maternal and paternal ancestry for her memoirs. As I began to research, her stories came alive. I began to search out descendants and after making connections with many cousins, I began to expand my family.
I embrace being connected to my family. The only issue that haunts me is that I have a difficult time telling family that I am adopted. I sometimes fear that I may not be accepted as “true” family because I don’t have the same DNA running through my genes. I, of course am legally and by love, very much a part of their Family Tree. I have never had any rejections.
Birth Genealogy Research
I find it harder to do genealogy research on my maternal and paternal birth family lines. When it comes to asking family members for stories and pictures, I sometimes feel as though I am imposing on them. I know it is my birth right to know. However, I have been absent from the lives of my birth family during my formative years, and I always feel like I am playing catch up. My family is so large it is sometimes difficult to remember everyone’s names, and the many faces of the children that are growing so quickly. The situation can be uncomfortable.
Birth and Adoption Family Connection Lessons
There are a few things I have to remind myself when researching both adoption and birth ancestries.
1. Be easy on yourself. It is okay to ask the questions necessary to develop and build the stories of your ancestors on your birth family and adopted family trees.
2. Being adopted does not void you from your birth ancestry tree, as it doesn’t exclude you from your adopted genealogy.
3. You have been blessed with the responsibility to research two more ancestral trees, and you should honor your ancestors with finding out as much as possible.
4. Always respect others’ feelings and issues they may be dealing with surrounding your adoption.
Yvette Porter Moore has coined herself as the “Root Digger.” She is a professional genealogist and a blogger of Root Digger Genealogy and The Ancestors Have Spoken. Yvette would love to connect with readers via Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.