The parent that picked me…

It’s no secret that my mom is my biological mother but my dad is not my biological father. I met my dad only a few days after my mom did. They were set up on a blind date and after their initial date my mom made it clear that I was to be part of the equation and therefore I was brought on their second date. I was only a toddler at the time. It didn’t take long before we became a family. They married quickly after meeting. I was eventually legally adopted by my dad when I was very young.

My biological father and my mom were married young and divorced when I was an infant. Growing up my parents were honest with me. I knew I had “another father” out there in the world but I did not see him or his family. My parents answered questions as I had them and my close relationship with my dad made it so that I didn’t really think much about meeting them.

When I was sixteen fate intervened and I was working my first proper job at a little local grocery shop when a lady came to my line and asked if she could write a check to pay for her items. I looked down at the check and she shared my birth last name. I was usually quite shy but for some reason I felt the urge to say, “that used to be my last name.” The woman’s eyes began to fill with tears and she asked if I was Billie. I confirmed that as my first name and she told me that she was my biological aunt. She was only six years old when I was born but she remembered holding me and playing with me as a baby. A few weeks later she returned with a tall man who looked similar to herself. She brought him up to me and said, “do you know who this is?” My heart raced, was I ready to meet my birth father? I wasn’t sure. I shook my head no. She then said, “this is your uncle.” I felt great relief in that moment. I discovered most of my biological family lived nearby but my biological father had moved away. I established a relationship with my aunt after that second interaction. I had mixed emotions about it. In some ways I felt I was betraying my dad and the family that had chosen to love me and accepted me as their own but I also had so many questions I never knew I had before that moment that I really wanted answered. I had an aunt, an uncle and new cousins who had spoken my name many times, who had missed me, who loved me despite not really even knowing me.

My parents were supportive of my journey. I reassured my dad that he would never be replaced in my heart. I adored him. We were close. He was there for me whenever I needed a daddy growing up and that bond could not be broken.

When the time came for me to finally meet my biological father I was ready. I studied him closely. I wanted to see part of me in him but I didn’t. Aside from perhaps my hair colour I did not look too much like him. I definitely resembled my mother’s family and looked more like my adopted family than my biological family. I remember feeling extremely grateful that this man gave me life and then gave me my life when he allowed another man to become my dad. Those two things are the things I still love the most about my biological father. He remarried not too long after meeting him again and when I was in my early twenties he and his wife gave me two things that I had always wanted…a baby sister and a baby brother.

In my late twenties I moved to another country but over the years I have remained in contact with my biological father’s family just as much as my mom and my dad’s families that I grew up with.

For me family is about love. Family can be made of people with great biological ties or formed from a group of people who have no genetic connections. And for me and many people out there in the world there is no greater gift than realising that your family became your family not just because they created you but because they chose you.

I recognise not everyone has the same wonderful reunion stories or adoption views as I have but not everyone has positive experiences with their biological families either.

If you feel like sharing your own adoption story in the comments, please do.


About Billie Jo Schinnerer

Born and raised on the edge of the Helderberg Escarpment in eastern New York. Formerly a teacher. Moved to the North West area of England in 2003. Now a mother of three who doesn’t really know what she wants to be when she grows up.
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