By Guest author, Natalie Manolakis,
Adoptee in reunion, Volunteer Search Angel
My story used to start at Chapter 2. For years, I had no chapter one. I was missing, gaping holes in my story, the kind of holes that other people take for granted. Who am I and where did I come from? You would think that with time, those feelings would dissipate, but the curiosity to know why you look the way you do or if you should be seeking preventive care due to unknown medical information, doesn’t ever go away. The simple piece of paper holding my chapter one, my identity as a U.S. citizen, is actually not real. In fact it isn’t even true. I am not entitled to my original birth certificate. Instead the document holding my identity has a big fat stamp on it - “Amended.” I have been labeled since birth with something I will never escape. I was ADOPTED.
Even though we are all US citizens, the birthright of those not adopted entitles them to any information about their ancestral heritage and medical background that they so desire. They are able to seek medical care for preventive health measures due to their family histories. I do not have the same privileges and rights to my history; my information is sealed, locked away and a secret to me.
My search journey began nearly 20 years ago, but I would refer to the majority of those years as “closet searching.” When I turned 18 and requested my non-identifying information from the adoption agency, I was required to meet with the social worker and learned that my natural mother came to into the agency two years prior looking for information about me.