[This story was originally posted on UrbanMediaToday.com]
This isn’t an entertainment report but more of an inspiring moment for those who have experienced the adoption process.
I met this young lady by the name of Randi James at a dinner party of a mutual church friend. I had never seen anyone like her before. Her spirit was “welcoming” and innocent. Her smile is vibrant and her skin is flawless. I’m not into chicks (insert Seinfeld line: “not that there’s anything wrong with it“) but this young lady is beautiful.
We started following one another on Facebook and we shared a few motivating text messages. You know the kind: bible verse there, a funny meme here, “have a blessed day” type of thing. You know, what good girlfriends do!
One day, I was swiping through my Facebook timeline and found the most inspiring story shared by Randi about her experience of being adopted.
Randi shared her story about how she found her birth mother and family; detail by detail. From the airport to the “awkward” family dinner.
Her story did something to my heart. It warmed up a bit. I felt compassion and empathy for her; not that she needed it. Randi has the most positive and confident personality I know at her age (early to mid 30s). GOD is doing some amazing things in her life!
Recently, my brother found my father, brother and myself through Ancestry.com! I wasn’t sure how to take this! Who was this person? Why am I not excited, but happy and weird about all this?
The first person I reached out to was Randi. Even in her instant messages she was calm, excited, happy, and concerned about my new life change. GOD put her through this process not only to help her but to help me!
She advised me to take my time, let it develop into what it was purposed to be, and don’t try to figure it out. She was right!
Randi’s experience was one I really wanted to share with the world because now I know there are people in the world who are going through what she went through (and still going through).
Because of our work schedule (she works in education), it was hard to sit down with her and interview her as I would a celebrity. So I sent her a few questions and asked her to answer them as open and honest as she could. She did!
Read it here:
Did you always know you were adopted? If so, when did your adopted parents tell you? My mother told me when I was around 5. I came home from school and it was the day a parent came to talk about their job. The mother worked with babies and told us that we came from our mommy’s tummies and I came home with this wealth of knowledge as though I knew what the deal was and told my mom that I came from her tummy… she said I didn’t that I came from her heart.
How did you take the news? I took it hard. My mommy explains it that I took it hard and was confused… of course! I didn’t know what was what! Were you always curious about who your birth parents were? Yes I was curious, I more so wanted to know if I looked like them. It was important to me that I looked like someone that I fit in. I just wanted to know what I was.
What was growing up with your adopted parents like? It was wonderful. I had so much love. I would forget I was adopted most of the time. My mother sacrificed a lot for me and both my parents always made sure I had what I needed and wanted. Their love was always unconditional. Share the good and not-so-good times. Regular experience as much as a child can have. Good days and days when I was bad and I got into trouble.
When did you first know that you wanted to find your birth parents? When I was in college. I felt like I was emotionally going through a lot and wanted to make sure it wasn’t a mental illness. I felt like I wanted to know medically what was going on with me or what ran in my genes.
L to R: Larissa Lane, Ki Ki Brown, Randi James
What was the process like trying to find them? (contacting an agency, finding a family friend, social media…) It was pretty simple… my mom had known the name of the adoption agency she got me from and they were still up and running so my files were still there. I had to fill out some papers, send them in and within about 3 to 4 months… maybe longer I received the information about my birth mother. It included her name an address (was very old from 1994 I think) and all her medical records and some minor information about my birth father.
So after you hung up the phone with your birth mother (or person connecting you to your birth parents and family), what did you feel? After she responded to my FB message confirming that she was indeed my mother… well… when I found out, I was at work. I felt like my whole life flashed before my eyes. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t comprehend that this moment was real. That this woman who was a mystery to me was now nonfiction. She was real. And she wanted to talk to me!?!?! It was too much. I sped home and cried and cried and put on worship music and cried and then wrote a poem. Lol and then cried and then starred at the wall and then sat and then pulled myself together a bit to make the phone call… took me about 10 hours. The next day I cried some more.
How did your adopted parents take all this? Were they happy for you? Were they not so accepting? They were very happy for me… apprehensive, a little nervous because they want me to be safe, they didn’t want my heart to be hurt. But they were happy because I was happy and excited because I was excited, and in shock and a little sad. Sad because there was a new person a potentially a new family that has surfaced that would share me. I wasn’t only theirs now. I felt the same way. Also, my birth family has been so accepting of my mom and dad and want to know more of my family. They have been so kind and respectful and mindful of my parents and their feelings in all of this. I like that very much. Because to love me, know me, want me is to love, know and want my family…the ones who raised me and took care of me. I’m a packaged deal! And my birth family has been great with that.
Randi and birth mother
What was it about finding your birth parents/family so important to you? Knowing more of my identity. I am coming into completion of my natural self. Still so much to learn and grow as a person. But know part of where I come from biologically and that sheds light on to so many things spiritually as well.
Describe the first person you met when traveling to California to meet your family. My birth mother. Met her at a Starbucks with my mom.
What was it like meeting your birth mother for the first time? And your birth father? No birth father…yet. It was almost natural but unnatural to see my birth mother face to face. It was kinda like oh this is me, but not really, but kinda? It was awkward, but nice. A lot of starring involved.
What did you discover about yourself that you never knew before? That the love I am is not only nurture but nature. My mom and dad who adopted me love me so much, so so much, but my birth family are also so very loving. I see now I am love because it is something that both surrounded me and was in me.
Will you stay connected with your birth family? Most definitely. As much as they’d have me. I want it to grow and be whatever God wants it to be. I’m open, but I hope we grow closer. I want it to be genuine on my part and real. I don’t want to just be like, “oh we’re family because we have the same blood”, but because we have the same heart and goal for the relationship.
Now that you’re back home, how does your adopted family feel about all this? My mother and father are still in awe, happy that it all went well and are happy to get to know my birth family. They are following my lead, whatever I want to happen they are supporting me.
Were you able to ask all the questions you needed to? I honestly didn’t have many questions to ask. I just wanted to know where I came from, why she gave me up, and test the waters to see if there was a possibility of having a relationship of some kind. My birth mother really was very open so there wasn’t much for me to ask. She shared it all willingly. I appreciate her openness. How do you feel about that? I feel good. I know there is still a lot to learn about my birth mother and siblings and the rest of my family so I’m happy to explore that.
How are you feeling TODAY? Today I’m good… We’ll see what the future holds. I feel very at peace with everything. I don’t feel angry, I’m happy but not super ecstatic, I’m in awe with what God has done but not like shocked. It’s kind of hard to explain, but I don’t feel extreme feelings of anything. I’m just kind of going with the flow. So today is good we’ll see what tomorrow will bring.
I’m not sure if you had a companion with you on your visit, but were you able to talk to anyone about all this before, during and after your visit? (outside of GOD and Facebook) Going to visit my birth mother and family, my mom came with me to first meet my birth mother in person and then my mom and dad came with me to meet my birth family. That made me very very happy having them both there. Because they are who I am also, and not having them there would nt have been as fulfilling.
L to R: Randi’s birth mother & grandmother, Randi and adopted mother
What was that like? (scary, exciting, numb…) I kind of felt like the Dr. Sues book “Are You My Mother?” thankfully I didn’t have to ask around to different women asking if they were my mother, but the idea of asking this woman who I perceived to be my mother, if she was my mother, was just weird. Lol I was nervous and felt very vulnerable. I didn’t know how she would respond and if she would want to know me or have me in her life. I didn’t know if the rest of her family new about me. I didn’t know what to think, if I even wanted to know here, if I even wanted a relationship with her. I think just in my heart I wanted to be known. And I wanted to know. And so now I do! As far as having people to talk to about everything, I had friends that I shared what I was doing. My friend I talked about earlier who is also adopted, I talked with her the day that I decided to reach out to my birth mother and we talked about it and she encouraged me to look again. My other friend who is my prayer partner, I talked to her about it too she knew my story and encouraged me as well along with some other group of very close friends and my mom of course!
What advice can you give to someone who is going through this process? Don’t try to figure it all out at once. Maybe before looking for your birth family spend time praying and asking God to give you discernment and strength. Don’t force yourself to decide if you want a relationship with them or not, just decide to be open to all possibilities without expecting anything except for God to be with you the whole time.
Does this open up a new appreciation for those parents who have decided to give their children up for adoption and those who adopt? This experience definitely helped me to see both perspectives more clearly and to have a bigger heart for the mother who would give up her child. And an appreciation for those mothers as well… because I could easily not be here at all. So praise God she decided to relinquish me into the arms of a mother who was ready and able to love on me. And to the mothers and fathers that adopt, what a selfless sacrificial love you have and a servants heart. I respect people who can and want to raise someone else’s child. May you be blessed! Also every situation is so different, every story is so unique that it’s hard to know what to say or do in any particular situation, but if anything all of this has helped me to see that we are all broken in need of love and that love inside us has the capacity to grow beyond what we could even imagine. Does this make you want to advocate for children who are still looking for a family? Yes!
Would you ever consider adopting a child, knowing what you’ve gone through? (I answered this in the second part of the last question but I’ll put it here! Lol) Yes! I plan on adopting/fostering children in the future. I’d also like to have children naturally as well. There’s enough love in me for everyone.
Thank you Randi for sharing your story! If you are looking for your birth parents or want more information about adoption, click here.
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