I am enjoying Richard Hill’s engaging memoir, Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA (2012), Hill, a Michigan native, discovered he was adopted accidentally at the age of 18. In his well-written book, Hill takes readers on a decades-long journey to find his biological relatives. Along the way, he meets and establishes real relationships with a few of his living relatives and learns about the lives of his biological parents. Hill’s story is uplifting and fascinating.
What’s especially valuable to adoptees is how Hill used DNA testing to determine the identity of his biological father. Hill has a website that looks like a great resource for adoptees who want information on their biological roots. I plan to use it.
Many aspects of Hill’s story strike a chord in me. Like Hill, I was an adult – 38 years old in fact – when I found out I was adopted. In his book, Hill notes how some adoptees fantasize about having their birth mothers enter their lives. That was not the case for Hill, who was about to leave home for college when he learned the truth about his past. At that point, he was eager to start the next phase of his life with less parental supervision. “I had no desire for a second mother in my life,” Hill wrote.
That’s exactly how I feel. My adoptive parents are long gone. My mother died in 1998 and my father passed away in 1999 so I’ve been free of parents for many years. Like 99.9 percent of the population, I had issues with both of them. They raised me in a loving but ultra protective environment and I often felt stifled. Moving out of their house at age 23 was the happiest day of my life. Pure joy! I felt totally relieved of the burden of parental interference in my everyday life.
The relationship we have with our mothers and fathers, whether they are birth parents or biological parents, is intense. I had that relationship with my parents and now it’s over. I have no interest in having a relationship with another mother or father but I would love to know what type of type of people they are (or were), what the circumstances were when my mother gave birth to me and whether she felt any pressure to give me up for adoption. For her sake, I hope not. I would also love to see photos of my birth parents.