I met my birth family for the first time when I was 16 during the Christmas of 1997. It was an incredible experience. One that I will never forget. Looking back on it now, it’s all a blur of memories. Filled with excitement, confusion, love and happiness. When I found them I found my self.
The first thing I remember is sitting on the plane listening to music. I’m always listening to music, especially on long trips. I don’t remember what I was listening to but I think I had really crappy head phones. It always bugs me when I don’t have a decent pair of head phones and for some reason this sticks out in my mind. Even though I had been to a few different countries before I had never been to Central America and I really had no idea what to expect.
We arrived late at night and as we walked thought the airport I remember going down a long flight of steps on our way to customs. I was still listening to music as we waited to pick up our bags. As we stood there a woman approached me and started to ask me in Spanish some questions. She had a piece of paper in her hand and I believe she wanted me to take a survey. Not knowing any Spanish I just stood there and ignored her. I felt bad because I’m sure I came off as being rude but I had no idea what was going on and all I could think about were the people waiting outside.
We finally cleared customs and head out of the airport. There were people everywhere and most of them were cab drives asking if we wanted a taxi. We just kept saying no and moving forward. Then there was a clearing and that’s when I saw them for the first time. In front of me stood an older version of myself and by his side was a little girl of 6 years. Immediately they hugged me, my little sister getting stuck in between me and my father. For a moment I tried to let her out but it was no use, they wouldn’t let go. My father had been waiting 16 years to see me and it felt like he would never let me go ever again.
After that its all a blur of meeting my older brother, older sister, grandmother, stepmother, cousins, aunts and uncles. There must have been 30 people at at the airport waiting to meet us. I have no idea how long we were outside of the airport hugging, crying and trying to communicate with each other. We have a picture from that night. Its blurry and you can’t really see anything. All you can make out are lights streaking across the photo. My mother has said from time to time that this picture describes the emotion of that night and I think she is right. It was just one big blur.
The next thing I remember is piling into a car with my little sister close behind. She sat next to me never letting go. My mother snapped a picture of the two of us. Later we would make a mouse pad from this picture and to this day that mouse pad sits on my desk. As we drove off I remember feeling completely lost, everything looked so different and I had no idea where I was. Even so I felt at home and safe. I looked down at my sister. Here was this little girl who I had never met but I meant the world to her. It was a strange feeling and one that I would feel again and again as I got to know my family.
Video – TV Interview
Part 1: The adoption, a leap of faith and a miracle reunion.
Post – Part 2: The Back Story