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They're not strangers...they're friends

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Posted: 7/1/2009
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

I always wondered what my birth parents looked like. I was adopted when I was four months old and grew up as only child. I always knew my parents loved me and they were open about my adoption. They always told me that when I grew up, I could find my birth parents if I wanted to. I didn't think it was important and put it off until my early thirties. That's when I decided I deserved to have answers to my life-long questions, but I wasn't looking for a long-term relationship.

First, I went to the adoption agency, and I was told that my birth mother tried to contact me when I was seven years old. Unfortunately, she didn't leave any contact information. I did learn that her name was Alice Ferrell. My adoptive mother remembered that one of my siblings was a beauty queen, and had won the title of Miss Oakland a few years before I was born.

Next, I requested my non-identifying information, which stated that my birth mother was one of 8 siblings and was born in California. Prior to my birth she had four older children, one of whom had mental health issues, which run in the family. I also learned that I was conceived from an affair and that I am biracial, born to a white birth mother and a black birth father.

When I found all this information, I felt like I had more questions than answers. Was I given up for adoption because of my mixed race? Why did my birth mother decide to give me up, but chose to raise my siblings? At that point I knew I needed help. In September of 2008 I contacted Search Quest America. My researcher, Patty Lawrence, was wonderful. She kept me informed every step of the way and she didn't give up when she hit dead ends.

Finally, in May of 2009 I received the phone call I had been waiting for. Patricia had located my birth family. All of the information seemed to fit--my birth mother was one of 8 children, had been born in California, and raised four children, one of whom had mental health issues and another who had been Miss San Pablo. All the pieces fell perfectly into place. Unfortunately, my birth mother passed away in 2004 after a stroke. I was disappointed to learn that she was deceased, but I really had never expected to have a close relationship with her.

The first call I made after I hung up with Patty was to my mother. I told her that the case had been solved, and asked, "Now what do I do?" She warned me to proceed with caution. "Be careful," she said, "they're still strangers."

At first when I met them I had to agree. We finally connected in June of 2009 and even though they are my blood relatives, we were still raised differently and the age difference makes things interesting. I didn't have much in common with my sisters, but I really hit it off with my brother, who has an outgoing, fun-loving personality much like my own. For a first time in my life, I saw a picture of my birth mother. She seems like a sweet woman, and I have come to understand why she gave me up. When I was conceived she was in the middle of a divorce, was unemployed, and had no education or job skills. She was in no position to take care of a newborn and didn't have anyone to help. Later on in her life she also developed mental issues, and I have come to appreciate the sacrifice she made to give me a better life. I know she had other options, and I'm grateful she gave me life.After all is said and done, I am so grateful to have found them and grateful to Search Quest America for bringing my story full circle. Everyone I talked to was caring and understanding of my needs and my fears, and they made it possible for me to connect to my birth family. What greater gift could I receive? My search has turned out so much better than I expected! My siblings actually want to have a relationship with me. I have several cousins who are my age and I keep in constant contact with my brother. Now that we have finally connected, they aren't strangers anymore, they're friends.

(Written by Mica Burton on Andrea's behalf.)

Client ID#225808
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