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I am adopted. I have always known that. I have always loved it. I have always been so incredibly grateful for my birth mother who loved me enough to place me in another woman’s arms so that I could be raised in a complete family.

That incredible, wonderful woman has always *ALWAYS* held a special place in my heart! My own mother spoke of her with a deep love and profound gratitude for her sacrifice. We have talked about her openly and gratefully and lovingly.

I never knew anything about her except for a few things. I knew that she was young, 18 or 19. I knew that I had an older brother that had also been placed for adoption. I knew that she had chosen my parents because my Mommy was involved with music and was obtaining her Master’s Degree. I knew that her last name was Murray at the time of my birth. Most importantly, I knew that she loved me with all her heart and wanted the best for me.

That’s all I knew, until Monday March 18, 2019 at 10:30 am.

Let me back up a few years. Actually lots of years.

*rewind noises*

Growing up I had romanticized my birth mother. I hoped that she had grown up, gotten married to a wonderful man in an LDS temple and had a family. I hoped that she had told them about me and that they all loved me.

I knew that there was another possibility that she had spiraled increasingly further away from the Savior. She could be mixed up with drugs. She could be homeless. She could even be dead. I had always wanted to find her just to give her a hug infused with all of my love and say “Thank you! Thank you for my life and for my family!”  But other than that I didn’t know what I wanted.

My parents and I had even dabbled with the idea of finding her when I was in high school. Before getting married and having kids, the decision seemed so simple and uncomplicated. My 21st birthday (the age I had to be to officially start my own search for her) came, and I was so anxious.

I had a husband and a child. I could be inviting a wonderful woman into my life, or a crazy one. I could be changing my family’s life for bad. I didn’t know if I wanted her to be part of my life. I had a mom, my daughter had a grandmother. I didn’t want those relationships to get complicated or confusing. So I decided to wait. And I felt so much peace about that decision. Now, that you have that background, let’s fast forward to a different part of the story.

*fast forward noises*

A few years ago, my sweet sister-in-law and her then boyfriend (now fiance!) Taylor, gave me the AncestryDNA test for Christmas. He was working at Ancestry at the time, so he got a great deal on it!

I had always wanted to know my genetic background. It had been a conversation point for many years with my friends speculating that I was Brazilian (I tan really well in the summers), or maybe Persian or maybe from the Iberian peninsula.

Imagine my surprise when my results came back 90% European! I am 25% Irish, with Italian, Spanish, British, and Scottish thrown in the rest of the mix. I am maybe 5% Native American. And 5% came from the Caucasus region (The Caucasus or Caucasia is an area situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and occupied by Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. Thank you Wikipedia). I never thought any more about it and actually turned off my Ancestry emails because I was getting them incessantly. Now fast forward back to now.

*fast forward noises*

Towards the beginning of the year, (I’m now 27) I felt like I should maybe start thinking about finding her again. I was still plagued by the same worries, but I felt strongly that it was something I needed to look into. I was scared that maybe she didn’t want me to find her. My husband told me I needed to be ready to accept that possibility before I pursued finding her.

I did multiple Google searches of adoption registries and how to open sealed adoption records. When I was 21 I emailed LDS Social Services and asked how I could go about looking into my file. I thought I had saved their reply.

March 18, 2019, I started searching my Gmail archives, trying every keyword I could think of to find that email. I finally searched “social services” and saw an email from Ancestry.

“My name is Jane Doe (changed for privacy) and I think I’m your birth mother”. I started sobbing and called my mom and my husband. She had sent that message in August of 2018 and had waited for my reply.

I quickly logged into my ancestry account and devoured her message. I saw that her father had also messaged me asking me to please contact her, thinking that I had been holding out because I was mad. My mom and my husband helped me draft a response that would confirm her identity.

When I sent it to her, she replied within 5 minutes answering all my questions and telling me she looked forward to talking more and getting to know me. Now I know who she is, I know her name. I know that she did marry a wonderful man and had a family. I know that she is not dead. I know.

Before 10:30 am Monday morning, she was a dream; now she’s a real person.

Now it’s all up to me. And that prospect is daunting. I am filled with anxiety and stress. What do I want? Do I want to get to know her? Do I want to meet her? Do I want her to know my family?

After a week of stress inhaling every morsel of food in my house, I am still filled with stress and worry. I worry about making a mistake and hurting people I love, but I have some questions that I have always wanted to ask.

Since there is so much on the line, including my sanity, I have decided to take it verrrrrrrry slow. I will be making the tortoise look fast in comparison. I am only focusing on the next step in front of me. For now, I have decided that I do want to know her. I want to know about her and I want her to know about me.

I still love that I am adopted, and I am glad I get to fill in this part of my story as well.

-Tara

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