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Adoption, Family

Finding my father

Some people celebrate their 50th birthdays by jumping out of airplanes.

I belatedly marked mine in a similarly adventurous way, minus the parachute and clouds zooming by: Yesterday, I met my natural father.


I’m an adoptee. Three years ago I found my first mother and an extended family that welcomed me with open arms. Still, I had to know the rest of my story.

Earlier this month, I learned my father’s name. It took only a quick Google search to find him living nearby.

I hesitated briefly: Should I call or leave it be? Try to get the remaining answers to questions I’ve asked for a lifetime? Or retreat to that old default, setting my needs and wants aside rather than make waves?

Turns out I’m a “go big or go home” kind of girl. Who knew?

And I needn’t have worried. He embraced me immediately.

You see, he had been wondering for 50 years, too. 

Over pizza yesterday, we began the process of connecting, filling in gaps, learning about each other, searching for features and personality traits that match.

As was the case when I found my first mother, I’m awash in emotions, many of which I can’t name or quite understand. It will take time to absorb and process it all.

I have no idea what my “new normal” will be; what other things I’ll learn about my origins and roots; or how my reunions will progress.

But once and for all I will knowI will no longer need to guess or wonder about my origins, ethnicity, medical history or any of the other things most folks take for granted.

It’s hard to articulate just how important this is to me.

Here beyond the shadows of five decades’ worth of secrets and lies, I can finally begin to see myself not as someone’s mistake, shame, or problem to manage, but for the full sum of who I am, shaped both by nature and nurture, and honed by a tenaciousness and drive all my very own.

About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.


35 thoughts on “Finding my father

  1. So excited for you!!!!! ❤

    Posted by Pamela Karanova | April 26, 2016, 7:52 am
  2. Hi, Fab blog! Very inspiring!! I have just set up mine, but still in the very early stages! Just making efforts to link in with fellow bloggers to improve our followers and get the word out there for us both. I would appreciate you having a peek at my blog, as I have just published my second post. Feel free to like, comment, follow or just take a peek. Thank you 🙂

    Posted by forkwardthinkingfoodinista | March 29, 2016, 4:50 pm
  3. I love your story, it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside!! 😀 I’m also an adoptee, 6 years in reunion. The one thing that never gets old is remembering the excitement of Reunion- and the one unavoidable part of reunion is the anxiety!!! I’m in some adoptee rights groups and adoption triad support discussion groups, as well. The one thing that everyone asks is ‘what was the best resource for you in dealing with X?’ Were you able to prepare yourself at all or did you do the brave thing and just jump right in? 😀

    Posted by Izzy Snyder | March 28, 2016, 10:51 am
  4. What a nice story.

    Posted by kathy Caviola | March 22, 2016, 6:41 pm
  5. Congrats! Happy for you, Terri!

    Posted by Paige Adams Strickland | March 22, 2016, 5:16 pm
  6. So very happy for you Terri. The finding and knowing and learning about each other, heals so much for sure. No more secrets. Good stuff. Oh squeeee I’m so so excited and happy for you both. Happy for you and ALL your family. What a lovely picture.

    Posted by Cindy | March 21, 2016, 8:44 pm
  7. Congratulations on finding and so special to find two people who welcome you into the family! Best wishes that the majority of the roller coaster ride is over. Good for you going LOUD!

    Posted by Emma | March 21, 2016, 5:08 pm
  8. I have been looking forward to reading this and so happy for you that I’m teary eyed! How important the knowing is to adoptees, and how difficult it sometimes seems for others to understand the depths of our longing. You both look so happy in this picture and definitely share appearance – you look related! 🙂

    Posted by Kristin | March 21, 2016, 4:20 pm
  9. This is just awesome Terri. I can only imagine how this must feel for you. Wishing you an incredible journey post 50!

    Posted by Lynn | March 21, 2016, 2:43 pm
  10. You were a great gal in high school and a strong wonderful woman now. So happy for you and your newfound extended family.

    Posted by Mark D. Santora | March 21, 2016, 12:56 pm
  11. I am so delighted for you! We really need to catch up. Both of you look so happy and content.

    Posted by Karen Waggoner | March 21, 2016, 12:13 pm
  12. Reading this makes me so happy, Terri! I look forward to hearing more about your “adventures” with your first dad. 🙂

    Posted by Renee S. | March 21, 2016, 11:42 am
  13. Congratulations! I finally found my father in 2014, but he was gone by then. Still, I know the emotion of finally knowing. It certainly is hard to articulate. He looks like a really nice guy, and you can sure see the resemblance!

    Posted by hilarywho | March 21, 2016, 11:41 am
  14. I’m so very happy for you, Terri. This event brings it all back for me from when I found my son in 1990. The emotions are so profound. Congratulations to you and your entire family.

    Posted by Penny Palmer | March 21, 2016, 9:22 am
  15. Terri, meeting my birth father was possibly the most extraordinary event in my life. I too was 50. It was great for me and it looks as though it will be great for you. Chris

    Posted by sb32199 | March 21, 2016, 8:33 am
  16. Wonderful….so happy for you!!
    From the 2 sista peas: Carole Sanguedolce and Jeannie Lachman

    Posted by Carole Sanguedolce | March 21, 2016, 8:30 am
  17. Your incredibly inquisitive, courageous, positive and determined nature could only lead you to this moment, Terri. What a happy birthday! Congratulations to both of you — all three of you — for this wonderful result.

    Posted by William G Armstrong | March 21, 2016, 8:02 am
  18. This is wonderful! I am so happy for you, proud of your perseverance to find your truth and the courage to follow through. No matter what happens, now you don’t have to wonder any longer.

    Posted by Priscilla Stone Sharp | March 21, 2016, 7:53 am
  19. Challenging journey you undertook, and I’m happy for you that it has a happily ever after transition.

    Posted by Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread | March 21, 2016, 7:38 am

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