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Michelle's Search for Answers

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Posted: 6/8/2011
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

Tahiti, Hawaii, and France: Michelle's Search for Answers

I'll never forget the day, time and place a family member blurted out to me that I was adopted. I was 8 years old. At that very moment, my adopted mother confirmed that neither she nor my father (her husband) are my real mother and father. They reassured me that they loved me very much. My adopted mother continued to tell me that her younger sister, Lalette, who I knew as Tatie (aunty), was my real mother and that she had not been able to care for me so the decision was made to have an in-family adoption. I asked about my real father and was always told that he was somewhere far away.

I loved my adopted parents and I knew they loved me, too. I would always think about and wonder who my birth father was. I still do. During my childhood, I would not mention or ask about my birth father, but that subject was always brought up by other family members with a lot of hushed sounds as if no one wanted me to overhear the questions or conversations. I maintained a very limited relationship with my birth mother, who eventually married someone and had two sons. I never had the courage to ask her about my birth father. My birth mother never shared the details with me either. When I graduated from high school and during my first year in college, with the permission of my adopted mother, I decided to ask my birth mother about my birth father face to face during a trip to their birth place of Tahiti, French Polynesia.

That inquiry turned into a nightmare. I returned to Hawaii with unanswered questions and a bigger hole in my life. My birth mother did not want to talk to me about it. When I returned to college, my adopted father wrote me a 6 page letter telling me everything that he knew and could remember about my birth father. Both my adopted father and adopted mother met my birth father. When my maternal grandmother passed away, my birth mother was only 13 years old. My adopted mother was the eldest of the siblings and was asked by the remaining aunts and uncles in Tahiti if my birth mother could live with her in Hawaii to get a better education and life than in Tahiti. Therefore, my birth mother lived in Hawaii with her sister and brother in law for the next 7 -8 years. My birth father was stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii in the U.S. Army. My birth parents met each other in Waikiki and soon after, my birth mother became pregnant with me.

My birth father was well liked by all until they found out from one of his friends that he was married and had a family in Oklahoma. I have heard many versions of the details surrounding this time period before I was born, but the end result was the decision made to relieve my birth father from any responsibility of his unborn child and to let my birth mother erase this pregnancy or time in her life and to give me up for adoption. My Dad continued to write how both he and my adopted mother were so happy to be able to adopt me since they could not have children of their own.

The desire to know who my birth father is has never left my mind. I got married in 1996 and had my first child, my daughter, Chloe in 2000, followed by my son, Reece in 2002. It was the moment my doctor handed my baby to me in the hospital that I thought about how my birth mother may have felt---holding me in her arms for the first time knowing that she would not be the one to raise me. I have chosen to open up my life to my birth mother and my half brothers. I want my children to know why their birth certificates say Caucasian and American Indian because my birth mother's nationality is Chinese, French and Tahitian. Since my birth mother has been really tight-lipped on my birth father's information, my adopted mother has accompanied me to the Hawaii Family Court systems in hopes to open my adoption records to reveal my birth father's information. We have had no luck.

My birth mother has always told me that she will not and cannot tell me anything about my birth father over the phone or in a letter. So, in 2005, I traveled to France with my husband and two young children to ask my birth mother in person, who my birth father is. Especially now, since I have a young family and would very much like finally know details and information about him. I would love to meet my birth father to see what he looks like and finally agree with my family members that I do look like him. I would love to know about him and who he is, what he's like. I have no ill feelings. If anything, I would like for my birth father to know that after all these years, I have been great. I was raised and loved by the best parents anyone could ever want. When I got married, I decided to hyphenate my maiden name and married name in hopes that my birth father would try to locate me. I would also love to have my birth father meet my husband and my children.

My trip to France revealed very little information about my birth father. I was surprised that my birth mother could even remember my birth father's last known address in Oklahoma. I googled the address, but it came up as unknown or had been re-numbered. My birth mother has little information on my birth father or did not want to give me all the information. I only have a first and last name and that he may be around 60 years old by now.

I used to watch the shows on TV and daydream about how lucky I would be if I were that girl being reunited with her birth father and finally finding peace. Now, thanks to Julie and SQA, I finally have the answers I was looking for. I just called him Monday for the first time, with my two children and husband by my side. We spoke for about 5 hours. It felt so comfortable, as if we just spoken to each other the day before. He is definitely my dad as he was able to fill in the gaps of the stories I was told about him and surrounding my birth and adoption from my adopted parents and birth mother. He has led an amazing life in the military and hearing about my family is equally amazing. I have 3 adult siblings, an older brother and two younger sisters and lots of aunts, uncles and cousins.

We've exchanged email and other information and I'm waiting to receive a picture of him soon. He does want to meet me (and so do I), but we have to discuss further details. When we do meet, I'll be sure to email pictures of that reunion. I'll always be grateful for all the help Julie and Search Quest America have provided me from the start. You are truly awesome!! Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!

With Aloha,
Michelle

(Client ID#279001)
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