Ashley Maureen is an adoptee waiting to reunite with her biological family since her social worker located her family. The only problem is. her birth mom still has not returned a letter to give consent for the reunion.
Read on to learn more about Ashley’s adoption journey and her pursuit of finding herself in the arms of her mom.
Was your adoption an open adoption or closed adoption? What state?
Closed adoption in Florida
When did you find out you were adopted?
I have always known as far back as I can remember, my parents were good about being open and telling us, made sure we knew, even before we knew what it meant.
How did you find out you were adopted? How did it make you feel?
I’ve always known but didn’t really explore what it meant. I did not know my nationality until about 6th grade. It felt exciting; it was another aspect of my life, something to make me unique, as I didn’t know any other adoptees.
Do you have any biological siblings?
How has being adopted affect your life?
It doesn’t really affect your life; It is your life. You live knowing somewhere out there, there are people who are not the people who raised you, but who gave birth to you, carried you in their body for nine months and made the difficult decision to place for adoption… all for you, hopefully. Even if the decision weren’t made in my best interest and instead in their own, that would still make it my best interest as well.
When did you decide that you wanted to search for your family? Why?
I have been interested in finding and knowing them since I realized what adoption is and what being adopted meant. I started my serious search at 18, my freshman year of college. This was the first year I was legally able to without the consent of my parents, and the first year I was out of my parent’s house and felt like I had the privacy to do so.
How involved were your adoptive parents in your search?I kept my family out of it as much as possible. Although my adoptive mother, gave me the social worker’s information (who actually handled my adopted sister’s adoption) to use to find out more about the search. I told my mom the basics – that I was going to search, the cost, and that I paid the money.
What steps and resources did you use to search for your family?
I was adopted through Catholic Charities, so I had to go through them. I contacted the social worker, who actually remembered my family. She sent me my non-identifying information, which I had never had. I didn’t know the paperwork existed. I knew that I was Black and White and that my mother was 20 or 21 when she had me, but not much more. The non-identifying information became a prized possession. For a while I carried it with me wherever I went.. after all.. that is the only thing I have that tells me WHO I am and where I come from. I eventually was able to pay the $300 for the search and; filled out all necessary paperwork then submitted to the social worker. This was a big day! A friend documented the notary process and sending them off at the post office by taking photos.
What were your initial feelings when you decided to search? Have they changed over time?
The decision to search for me was natural.. it was something I needed to do. When that time finally came to submit the paperwork and fee it was nerve wrecking and exciting! My feelings over time have changed a little, my excitement has somewhat turned into concern and learning to cope with the possible outcome.
What information did you obtain and how did it make you feel upon receiving them?
I started my search (contacting the social worker) in 2006, to this day the social worker has sent several letters to my birth mother, and we have yet to receive a response. They supposedly have current information on her. Its crazy that I can be on the phone with the social worker and she could have that information right in front of her but cannot release to me. My feelings were hurt for a while. I felt like I deserved for her to respond. Often people made excuses saying that she may have a family now, and may want to forget. That to me is not an excuse and is very selfish. For a period I started to resent her, feeling that this may be the reason, but over time I have come to accept that I do not know the reason, only she does. I pray that she is alive, and well and that I still have time to meet both her and my birth father. I often also create scenarios of the situation and how and why it went the way It did. I grew up in the same county that I was born in; there is a possibility that I know them or have passed by them before.. but the reality is that I may never know.
Have you made contact with your biological family? What was the outcome? Is it what you expected?
No, no contact with my biological family. Still waiting for a response from my mother. I have been reluctant to request that my father be contacted. That is my last hope right now. I don’t know if I could deal with the possibility of neither of them responding. I think not sending the letter, gives me hope that there’s still another option. There may still be a possibility that he may respond. I know that I need to send it, but it’s hard. Very hard.
How did it make you feel when they did not want to be contacted? Do you think it is fair?
It hurts. The person who gave birth to you, who carried you for nine months, who was in labor with you…. Seems to have just forgotten about you. Although this is probably not the case, it’s the way it feels from this side of the fence. All I want is to be acknowledged by the people who created me, to be wanted by them, and loved. It might sound crazy being that I’ve never met them.. but they created me, how could I not feel that way?
If you can tell your birth parents anything what would you say?
Thank you. Although I have an empty place in my heart where you belong, I have a life filled with loving people and have been afforded the opportunity to do so much. I don’t know what life I would have had growing up with you, but I know that I wouldn’t be in the same place I am today without by adoptive family. I hope to meet and get to know you someday; I want you to be proud of me and; I want to learn where/who I come from. I hope that if you have another family now, that you always remember me and can be brave enough to welcome me into your life one day.
What are your thoughts on adoption?
To be honest, I’ve always debated whether or not I would adopt because I KNOW what it comes along with, and often feel bad for my parents knowing that I can’t help but wonder who my birth parents are or where I come from. I don’t know if I could be on the other side, although I do believe adoption is NOT a negative concept. It’s sad that some adoptions do not turn out better for the child & that some people do have bad experiences, but the overall purpose is to place a child in the arms of parents who cannot have their own children or who have a big enough heart to care for more. I KNOW it cannot be easy for a parent to give their child up for adoption, especially after conversations & watching the journeys of birth parents. Adoption is not for the weak hearted. It takes a strong group of people, who have to keep that strength for a lifetime – From the mother who has to wonder if her child was given a better life, or if their child resents them, to the child who will always have those questions and that empty place in their heart, to the adoptive parents who will give their heart, home and family to a child who does bear their DNA, and to know that the child knows (should know) that their parents did not give birth to them.. that they have another set of “parents” out there somewhere. Overall it is a beautiful concept and I commend anyone who has had any part in an adoption. It is a blessing ♥
Is there anything you would like to share with adoptees that may be facing what you are?
Keep your faith, know that God will only give you what he knows you can handle. Although we know in our hearts this is what we want and need, God’s timing Is always right! I try to find the positives, the fact that my mother has not yet responded can be a sign that we are not ready to meet. It gives me the opportunity to continue to grow and achieve, so that if & when I meet her, she will have more to be proud of.
If Ashley’s story impacted you or if you would like to share a question or comment, please comment below
True Life: I’m Searching For My Birth Parents (Includes non-identifying information)Ashley Maureen Adoption Journey Tweet Ashley
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