So I had my original birth certificate in hand and I had a Google page full of names, dates, and info but how could I verify that it was all correct. I know most of us have had the conversation with the person who has their family history back to 1316 AD and they got it ALL from Ancestry.com. The interwebs NEVER lie….right?
Around the time I started researching this new and unknown person, I received a piece of mail. The non-identifying paperwork from DHS!! So I opened it up like a kid on Christmas morning and I read it as fast as I could. It had so much information it was overwhelming. It told me about the circumstances of my adoption, some hints about where I was from, physical conditions of my birth parents, and that I was not a pretty baby.
Yes. You read that correctly. The non-identifying paperwork read, “Richard was not a pretty baby but was expected to become a good-looking baby.” I waited for 35 years to find out all the answers, all the secrets, all about who I was. What I found out was I was ugly! If I ever find the DHS employee who wrote that, I’m gonna have a few words.
Well, my ugly self decided to trudge forward and start picking apart this document. I wrote down all the info I could. I went back to my Google results. I drew maps. I gathered names, dates, addresses, and relationships. I compared and contrasted. I spent two days straight with no sleep. I deduced the location my birth family was from. I pulled yearbooks from classmates.com for the suspected years they may had attended. I scoured the class my mother was in and alas…the name matched a picture. I had a face. I had the face of my birth mother around the time I was conceived.
What I remember most about that moment wasn’t being overcome with emotion or being satisfied with what I found. I remember not wanting to stop. I was exhausted and tired. I was emotional and overwhelmed. I was insatiable and driven. I wanted more and I wasn’t going to stop. As I reflect on that moment, I knew I was bit by the “genealogy bug”.