Monday, September 14, 2009


My mum and dad adopted me when I was about 10 days old. It was a time when adoptions in New Zealand were closed, and therefore you were not able to know who the birth parent/s and family were.

My parents were absolutely over the moon to have me, as they could not have children of their own. They felt blessed to have me, and my homecoming was a huge deal for them and their friends. I once asked my dad if he regretted not having a biological daughter of his own to which he responded “you are my daughter”.

From an early age, my parents were very open with me about my adoption and the circumstances surrounding it. I was adopted out as a result of sexual abuse and my birth mother made the hard decision to give me up. I grew up as an only child and would always ask my parents if they would adopt another child, or even adopt one of the countless “permanent placement” kids who appeared in our local paper.

During my early teens, my mum and I would have the odd fight were I would bring out the “you are not my real mother” argument out. It was not until I got older that I truly realised just how incredibly hurtful that this was.

When I turned 14 (and I remember this clearly as we were having renovations done at home) I was going through a pretty rough time, and also I guess a bit of an identity crisis. I did know a lot about my birth mother and father, but sometimes paper is just not sufficient. I came home from school and my mum sat me down and told me that she had something to tell me, and that she did not want me to hate her. Over the next few hours my mum explained that when she took a trip (when she was studying archaeology at University) in 1982 to Africa she was afraid that if anything happened to her that she would not be able to help me find my birth family. So she approached a contact, and managed to actually get my birth mother’s real name. Obviously, nothing happened to her on the trip and she kept that knowledge to herself for nearly 8 years, as she did not believe that she could legally tell me.

Mum then proceeded to say that with my permission she was going to drive up north (the following day) and see if she could meet my birth mum. I was stunned, but never angry. I adore my mum and dad and they have always been incredibly supportive and loving. I could not wish for a more amazing set of parents. I consider my mum a brave person and what she did for me next was one of the most truly beautiful, selfless things that a person could do for another.

My mum travelled up north the following day (a Friday) and went to my birth mother’s home. As she did not know if the family knew about the adoption, she just had to pretend that she was a friend of my birth mother’s. It did not really work as we found out later that her husband knew exactly who she was. My twin sisters were home with the measles! My birth mother was not home, so my mum stayed for an hour or so and then disappointedly decided to leave.

As she drove through the small country town, she saw a woman by a car on the road. My mum decided to take one more chance and approached her, and asked if she had adopted a daughter out about 14 years ago. The answer was ‘yes’ and my mum said “well I am her mum”. Anyway, they both sat in the car while mum showed my birth mum photos of me growing up. They both cried. They then went back to my birth mother’s house and met my step dad and the twins. The irony of the whole story is that my birth mum was a nurse for a number of years at my doctor’s surgery and they lived just down the road from us.

It was an incredibly emotional time for my parents and me; luckily I had some very supportive friends around me at the time. I got to see photos of my mum and her family and it was like looking at carbon copies of me. Suddenly, I felt a little closer to feeling complete. I met my mum for the first time a few weeks later, and when they all came back from holiday I met my step dad and my 3 sisters.

Over the years it took me time to adjust to having an instant family. Some feelings are not instant, and it was a lot for them and us to take in. I think that my step dad struggled a bit for about 18 months, then one summer holiday’s suddenly we just clicked, and things having amazing with him and I ever since. He was around for my birth and while my mum was pregnant, and could fill in a lot of gaps for me. As I got older I did struggle with forming stronger relationships with my birth mum and it is an absolute credit to my mum Pat that she would ask me if I had talked to my birth mother and helped me to forge a strong, solid bond. There is no jealously between these two strong, beautiful women.

My family has grown and I went from having no siblings to having 3 half sisters, a half brother and also another beautiful young woman Grace who I proudly consider to be my sister. There are so many similarities between my sisters and I that it really strikes home that there are some things about us that are heredity and others that are part of our upbringing.

Yes, it has not been easy but the trip has been well worth it. I have an amazing relationship with my mum and dad, and also my birth mother and step dad. I not only found family members but a huge amount of their close friends who I consider to be my family. My mum and birth mother absolutely adore each other and neither is threatened by the other.

Earlier this year I came into contact with my birth father. I had a huge amount of support on the evening and I think a lot of people where worried about how I would react. As it was a huge family dinner I never spoke to him. However, I left the restaurant with the definite knowledge that while I carry his genes; he is in no way my father. I actually felt nothing toward him, not hate, not anger and certainly not love. I felt indifferent.

The person who is my dad is the man that was with me as I grew up, that gave me piggy backs that gave me hugs, has a heart of gold and a huge propensity for love and the man who gave me away on the day of my wedding. My step dad is a strong, grounded, amazing man who has had to deal with a young woman who looks almost identical to his wife and a little like a man that he probably detests. My step dad along with my mum and birth mum also gave me away at my wedding.

I feel complete and have a strong sense of who I am, and I have a beautiful, loving, caring family.


  1. Beautiful blog and worth taking time to write right. Good for you for being brave enough to share.

  2. Wow, that is an amazing and beautiful story! :) It's inspiring to me that families can be created from love and patience (and not just blood ties).

  3. That's wonderful story.Thank you for sharing it...Kim

  4. Wow that's an incredible story! you handle things really well which is hard. Its not an easy situation when family gets complex, and what you SHOULD feel isn't always what you do feel.
    You should be proud of both yourself and your family for being so amazing about it. I adopted out a son many years ago, however its open adoption from the start. I'm 100% glad i did the right thing, and he has a fantastic family.