Power of a Name

Washington State opened their sealed records on July 1 and I sent away for my original birth certificate. I received my original birth certificate last week.

I now know my birth mother’s name.

I wouldn’t have thought just a name on a piece of paper, disconnected from any knowledge about her, would be so powerful. But it is.

Thanks to Google, I know where she lives, I can see her home on street view, and I have a phone number for her. There is no mention of my birth father on the certificate. Even so, I have infinitely more information about my origins now than I did before I opened the mail.

It’s heady.

I called my parents to share the news with them. They’ve been wanting to know this information longer than I have and they dropped everything they were working on to hear the news.

I haven’t spoken with my birth mother yet. I don’t know if that will work out or not. I know she is still alive. That’s a gift. I know I have a brother and a sister. That could be a gift, some day.

This is very much a story still in progress.

Last week, I called one of the phone numbers I found online that was associated with my birth mother’s name. (It’s really quite amazing {horrifying} what you can find online…)

She wasn’t there. Her daughter answered the phone.

I spoke with a sister I didn’t know I had.

She didn’t know I existed. The details don’t need to be waded through here, but I felt for her. What a revelation to receive over the phone from an unknown voice.

I’ve always known I was adopted. It is one of my earliest memories–my parents telling me they had prayed for a baby and God gave me to them. I’ve grown up knowing not only was I adopted and chosen by my family, but that God had provided for me before I was even born.

As I sit here in the middle of this chapter of my story, I’ve written and deleted at least 4 blog posts. I just don’t know enough right now. I do want my friends to know at least this much about the story though. Many of you have walked this adoption story with me for a long time now.

Would be happy to share more details about the story–just not online.

If anything develops from this, I’m expect you’ll read about it here. I hope to get a chance to tell her “thank you” and “I love you” face to face. I recognize that might not happen and trust she’ll know those truths in any case.

a few weeks after my adoption, Christmas 1968

a few weeks after my adoption, Christmas 1968

As I’ve been sitting with this new knowledge, I’ve been reminded again about how grateful I am for my family–the one who adopted me then and who love me today. I am also grateful for the friends who have become “my people”. I’ve never felt alone in this world, and that is a gift.

24 thoughts on “Power of a Name

  1. You are reminding me of myself, 22 years ago, as I opened the very same letter. Prayers, love, and if you want to call me let me know and I’ll pm you my number.

    Keep breathing.


  2. This is amazing! Blessings on your new knowledge! I can’t imagine being the sister in the other end of the line…anyway, do keep us up to date!


  3. Marci, thank you for continuing to tell us your story. It is beautiful and moving, both in its uncertainty and its compassion. You and your family – in all of its pieces and connections – are in my prayers.


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  9. My mother was adopted and she’s tirelessly searched for her birth mother to no avail. Apparently the records in Arkansas are not yet accessible. I know how big this is for you and grateful that a door has been opened. Hope to hear more!


    • It has been quite a journey. Even though my birth mother won’t meet me, she has given me lots of other information that has allowed me to understand my story better. Grateful. Hope things change for your mom. Blessings in her searching.


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