Hey, what’s your name?

So let me tell you a story, it’s a story unlike any other… you might not even believe it. But trust me, it’s true! Unbelievable, but true…

My current birth certificate says my legal name, let’s say it’s “Michelle Lysa”* That is the name my parents gave me. 

After getting my adoption records I found the original birth certificates, one copy says “Baby Jones” 

Another copy says “Michelle Lisa Jones ” (wrong spelling)
My mom says she kept telling the social worker, no it’s “Michelle Lysa ” not “Lysa/Lisa Michelle” but they kept writing that. I asked her why she spelled it differently, she said she saw a fashion designer in her trip to New York with that name and she loved the way it was spelled. 

Just a mistake right? HA! Think again. This is where my life begins to get weird. My birth mother named me “Lysa Michelle” not Lisa Michelle but LYSA Michelle, with the same spelling because a part of her name was spelled like that. That’s what she told me! Honest! Now you’re probably thinking, ‘your parents knew that already. They had to’. Nope. Had no clue just thought the social worker was messing up the names. 

Want to know what else is weird? I have a biological cousin who is the same age as me and her name is “LISA MICHELLE”. My aunt and birth mother were pregnant at the same time…But because no one knew my birth mother was pregnant no one knew that was my name. Ironic isn’t it. My aunt naming her “Lisa Michelle” is purely a coincidence. When I asked my aunt she said she had no idea I even existed. 
Something else unbelievable, my biological brothers name is “Michael”. “Michael & Michelle”…

If only that was the end of the story…

I lived downtown in an apartment complex until I was 4. My birth mother worked in that same complex while we lived there. Did my parents know? NOPE! (I know, unbelievable)

I lived in Roxbury from age 4 on… she lived 5 minutes away on a street I know very well. Had friends who lived there as well. Never knew her. 

My moms brother, my uncle, married a woman named “Kim Jones” from a large family. My aunt married a man “John Jones” from the same family…Years later I found out that those two members of same family are actually cousins of my birth mother. Some craziness right? That one freaked me out. Why? I always said I thought they were related because they all came from a huge family and they have a resemblance to them. 

As I find out things I get more and more confused, frustrated, annoyed, excited & all kinds of other things. Why is everything so coincidental?! Sometimes I feel like it can’t be true and somebody is lying to me. Then some days I think, maybe it’s just the way it’s supposed to be. I don’t know. 

There are a lot of other coincidences that I can’t talk about because I don’t want to. I just don’t want to think of some of the things that are too close to home. Some things are personal for various family members and I wouldn’t intentionally put their business out there. 

Sometimes I look at my life and say “nah, this isn’t real life. Somebody let me know when y’all want to tell me the truth” 

Just waiting for that day.

*all names changed for privacy reasons

Think before you speak…

If I got pregnant I’d put my kid up for adoption…
My best friend said this to me when we were younger. Her reasoning: I’m too selfish, I don’t have that motherly instinct. I wouldn’t know what to do with a kid.
Ok I understand you feel you wouldn’t be a good mother, but really? You really said that to your adopted friend! Like that supposed to be a better option for her. Not thinking of the child she would be giving up just about her selfish needs. To this day that bothers me… ‘I’m too selfish so I’m going to give my kid to someone else’. Who thinks that’s a reason?
Obviously her.
When people say things like that they have no idea what adoption is really about for the child. Sure they are thinking of the parent but not the child. Imagine growing up without your family first before you say something like that. People that have that frame of mind shouldn’t reproduce. If you can be so nonchalant about just giving up your child you shouldn’t have one. There are plenty of women in this world who would do anything to be in your position. To give life to a human being… and for you to take that for granted is disgusting to me. Maybe by now she has changed her mind, I don’t know. We haven’t spoken in years. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that we don’t talk. No clue.
Some people don’t think before they speak which is detrimental to others. If you don’t know what it’s like to be adopted then you shouldn’t speak on it sometimes. Not saying you shouldn’t have an opinion but think before you speak. Words can hurt despite what you think. Especially when you speak to your friends. 

It ain’t all roses…

I’ve never hated you. At times I wished you were dead. That was the anger talking then. I think that’s worse than hating someone, don’t you? If you were dead I’d never get to know why you gave me up, I’d never have to face you. But hated you, never. How could you hate the person who gave you life? You can’t. If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be alive. A lot of people thought I’d hate you… Some even wanted me to hate you. Expected me to hate you… I can’t. I wasn’t raised that way. My parents taught me to love not hate. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some feelings about you that weren’t so kind in my life. Disappointment, anger, sadness, jealousy, & pain but hatred isn’t one of them.

Why didn’t you want me?
Who would just give up their child? You did. For 19 years I wondered why you left me at the hospital! How could you just leave? I got my answer. To this day I’m honestly not satisfied with the answer but there’s nothing I can do about that. I wasn’t there when you made that decision. That’s between you and God. I can’t help but wonder if there was a better option though. Family? friends? Anybody in the family? Why didn’t you leave me with one of your many siblings? In my mind there’s no possible reason for you to have given up your baby. 

But then again, when you think about it this was the best option! You know why mom, because I AM ME! You made me! That moment you left me in that hospital and never came back MADE ME WHO I AM TODAY! If it wasn’t for you I would not be the strong black woman that I am today. My strength came as a result of your decision. I wouldn’t be me if you hadn’t left me.

I wanted to know you all my life. To hold you. To see you everyday and catch up on the things I missed of what would’ve been my life. What were you like when you were my age? What did you like to do? What were your hopes and dreams and aspirations? But it’s not like that. Like the saying goes, It ain’t all roses. Don’t know why I expected it to be…Guess that’s the image I dreamed up in my head all these years. We don’t talk unless we see each other, which is not often. You sometimes send me a message on my birthday. I know that day must be hard for you, if you even think about it. Reliving the moment you walked away. I know that wasn’t easy. There’s nothing I can do about it. I’d love a better relationship but I’ll take what I can get it. Everyone else has accepted me, once they found out, and I’m ok with that. My brother loves me…My aunts and cousins love me. They make up for a lot that I feel I’m missing from you. No one can replace you but they sure do make me feel part of the family. 

You know what’s funny, I’m just like you. It amazes me! I look exactly like you. Didn’t need to take a DNA test to prove that, I’m your twin. I always wondered where I got this mouth from, you. Where this feistiness came from, that’s all you. Even got the same hairstyle. Yet, we’re so different…

I hope one day you’ll finally be ok with me being around. Living on edge worrying about what people think isn’t healthy. It’s in the past now everyone knows now, no one cares. It is what it is. But I understand, it’s still hard for you…I get it. You gave me life and I could never repay you for that. I thank you for that. 

From the bottom of my heart,

Your daughter.

Missing puzzle pieces

No matter what you think, there’s still a piece of your life that is missing… even if you say my family is everything I need. There is still a piece of you missing.

re·un·ion
rēˈyo͞onyən/

noun

an instance of two or more people coming together again after a period of separation.”she had a tearful reunion with her parents”


That’s the first definition that comes up on google. “Two or more people coming together after a period of separation.” 20 years to be exact. It was a bittersweet reunion…the day I met my birth mother. 

Meeting my birth mother was something I dreamed of my entire life. At some points I never thought it was going to happen. When I first found her I wrote her a letter and I got no response. We met, almost a year after I found her, at Legal Seafoods. It was very similar to a movie scene! Tears, sobbing, all types of feelings. The anxiety and butterflies in my stomach were making me sick but the moment I saw her they all went away. She stood up from her chair and hugged me and we cried. And cried and cried and cried. One of the most emotional moments in my life. She was there in the flesh, in my arms, right in front of my face. My mother.

When I saw her I realized I actually had seen her before. 

I was with my boyfriend Jauron (#LoveOfMyLife) at Macy’s. We were walking on the first floor and we saw this lady with her back to us. He said “hey babe look. That’s what your butt is going to look like when you get older!” We laughed and I said oh please whatever My butt is NOT that big. 
We got a little closer to her and she stopped talking to a lady and she turned around and said “can I help you?” I immediately froze. My boyfriend said no we’re ok thank you. I kept looking at her. It was like looking in a mirror. Looking at my 40 year old self. Same haircut. Same eyes. Same body. She even had glasses just like me. She said “ok let us know if you need anything” and walked away. 
I looked at him and said “that’s my mother”. He was extremely confused and said I thought you said she was at work. I said no, no, no, no I mean my birth mother. To this day I’ll always love him for that moment. If it wasn’t for him talking about my big butt I wouldn’t have seen her that day. 😁
I had this feeling come over me and I didn’t know what it was. I knew it was her… I felt it deep in my heart. The best way for me to describe it is that it’s like a newborn baby crying and then once she’s put into her mothers arms she’s calm. A newborn baby can’t see who it is yet but she knows it. She can feel it. 

There are some people who will never get to experience that because of legal reasons…
Closed adoptions.

Dumb laws.

Age restrictions.
I was fortunate enough to have that experience. It may not have been when I wanted it to be but it happened. 
I hope one day others will be able to add that missing piece of the puzzle.

Ok, you are actually adopted. Now what?

Now come the questions. You would think a 3 year old would just say oh OK. Well not this complicated little person! I’ve always been very open about my adoption with my parents & loaded them with an excessive amount of questions at age 3 
What does that mean?

Why mommy? Why did she give me up?

Where is she?

What’s her name?

Can we find her?

What does she look like?

Is she dead?

My mom answered my tearful questions to the best of her abilities. She didn’t know much about her. Just that the case worker said they resembled each other. ‘Maybe She couldn’t take care of you… I don’t know where she is or her name or what she looks like… But when you turn 18 we’ll help you find her if you want to and you can ask her anything you want.’ 

That’s all that needed to be said to me: when you turn 18 you can find her. Now anyone who truly knows me knows that since I found out I was adopted I always said “the day I turn 18 I’m going to find my birth mother!” Everyone knows that about me!! If you didn’t, well now you do. The day I turned 18 I started my search. I never wavered in my decision to search for my birth mother. The thought never even crossed my mind. Just had to wait 15 more years.

I actually remember the day I was legally adopted. It was a really hot day in June. (FYI my memory is crazy!) The night before we had a family talk, my parents and my brothers, all about what was going to happen. That’s when they told me I was adopted & tomorrow it was all going to be final after 3 long years. I remember ma getting me up really early to get dressed in a blue dress and white tights. I remember Jason being excited saying “are you ready Nikki?!!” I said yes! At 3 I knew what was happening but I didn’t quite understand it yet. I just knew it was a big day. The whole family walked from our apt in the south end to the court house downtown. The one thing that stands out in my mind so vividly was my aunt standing at the bus stop on Tremont St. on her way to work in her heels and suit crying. She knew where we were going all dressed up in dresses and ties. 
I don’t remember anything else. Don’t even remember being in the courthouse except for the judge giving me a lollipop. And then we left… That was it. It was over. I was legally who I already was. We walked to the Boston commons and took pictures as a family, got something to eat and went home. It was a special day, adoption day. 

I guess after that it started to sink in my head and I began to understand. You’re probably thinking, impossible! You were only 3 years old. Not to toot my own horn, but I was a pretty smart kid, and like I said my memory is kind of crazy. I began to ask questions… However I don’t think my parents were quite prepared for those questions to come so soon. What can I say, I was a curious little kid with a lot of mouth.

‘I didn’t come out of this mommy but I came out of another mommy but this mommy is MY mommy?????!!!!’ WHAT?? That’s a lot for a kid to handle but I actually understood it. I got that. It’s not really that complicated when you think about it. The only complicated thing was the why that’s the only thing I didn’t get yet. Hey look at that! Little me had 2 mommies before society tried to make it “cool” to have 2 mommies. So 😜!

Let me say this, as a child I was never treated differently. It never changed how I viewed my parents or my two brothers, anyone in my family for that matter. They were all I knew since I came home from the hospital. They raised me & loved me & spoiled me rotten. I just knew that one day I was going to find this woman & nothing in this world was going to stop me. But my family was still my family. My mom, the only one I had. My dad was my daddy. My brothers were my big brothers. None of that changed. Still hasn’t. Now I just have an extra mom & extra siblings. 

Kids say all the time ‘I can’t wait to turn 18 so I can do what I want’ or for other various reasons. But there are some of us special ones who say “I can’t wait to turn 18 so I can find my other family” and SOME are fortunate enough to have that option. (The legalities of seeking birth records angers me. But that’s a topic for another day!)

WE are a special breed. We have love, we have anger, we have hope, we might even have hate, but we are uniquely special. We’re adopted.

I’m special. Always have been, always will be.

You’re not adopted! Stop lying! 

You’re lying… 

You look just like your father… 

You are your grandmothers twin, someone has got to be lying to you…

Nikki stop telling people these lies, I’m telling my mommy on you…

Sounds like a fun life right? Well that’s been my life for the past 29 years. I’ve been told that I was lying about being adopted since I was 7 years when I told my best friend I was adopted. She insisted I was lying and went home and told her mother I was telling this lie. Her mother then called my mother and told her I was spreading lies saying I was adopted. I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall and seen her face when my mother said “well she is not lying and she is adopted.” Imagine that, you were wrong! That hurt a bit. My own best friend didn’t believe me! Little did I know that was only the beginning of it all. 

Yes, I actually do resemble my dads side of the family. My nana was a tiny lady, I’m a tiny lady. My dad has full lips and so do I. We’re a similar complexion as well. A lot of people look alike and don’t have a single line of the same DNA in their bloodstream. It happens all the time. Like the saying goes “all black people look alike”. 

When someone tells you they are adopted you don’t get to decide they are lying about it because of your own reasoning. You simply say something such as ‘oh I didn’t know that’ or ‘that’s pretty interesting’. NEVER, EVER say ‘no you’re not’. Unless you were there and you know for an absolute fact that it is impossible, you know nothing.  

My name is Nikki, I am adopted and I promise you, I’m not lying about it.