Life
Woman finds her biological parents after 10 years of searching
When she messaged the people she believed were her parents, she didn't know what to expect. But then they responded.
Naomi Lai
05.07.20

Samantha Thomas was 27 years old when she made a second attempt at trying to reach her birth parents.

She had been adopted at birth by two loving people, and raised alongside her younger sister in Tulsa where she thrived.

She did well at school, making valedictorian and home coming queen at her high school before graduating and studying Public Relations at Oklahoma State University.

She was a happily married mother of two and living a very fulfilling life.

Facebook, Samantha Thomas
Source:
Facebook, Samantha Thomas

But she, like many people who have been adopted, couldn’t help but have some questions about who her birth parents were.

It’s estimated that about 65% of adopted teens want to know who their birth parents are.

“My entire life I wanted to find my birth parents. I had already searched for them once when I was 18 years old with no success. Almost 10 years later I decided to try again.”

So she made a second attempt, hoping she could find out more information this time around. Her parents had left her a letter, blanket and photo at the adoption agency for her in case she had ever reached out to find them.

Natasya Chen
Source:
Natasya Chen

But to her heartbreaking misfortune, she learned all of them had been destroyed just months before her second attempt to find them.

Even her adoption papers were gone. She felt like she was at a dead end.

“But realizing these gifts existed in the first place, that my birth parents had something they wanted me to have and to know about them, made me want to find them more than ever before.”

She was eventually able to access to her original birth certificate, which had her mother’s name printed on it; Valerie Lopez.

Samantha Thomas, Love What Matters
Source:
Samantha Thomas, Love What Matters

Samantha searched the name, knowing only that Valerie had been 19 when she had Samantha, and managed to narrow down 10,000 results to just three possibilities.

She cross-referenced the findings with Facebook and found a woman who looked just like her. It was an emotional time and she didn’t really know what to do. There’s no guidebook on what to say when you find your birth parents!

She called, left a voicemail, and sent an e-mail explaining who she was and included the birth details.

Samantha waited with baited breath over the next four long days, before finally getting a response.

She had contacted the right Valerie Lopez, who responded:

“Please know the decision I made at 19 years old on January 5th, 1990, was the biggest mistake of my life. I am full of regret and that will never change. It would be an honor for me to hear more about you…”

They exchanged contact information and arranged to talk on the phone.

Samantha Thomas, Love What Matters
Source:
Samantha Thomas, Love What Matters

Samantha learned that her birth parents ended up getting married four years after giving her up for adoption.

They had three more children together, and she was blown away to find she had three full younger siblings.

She thought maybe should would have half-siblings, but never expected her birth parents to be married after putting a baby up for adoption so young.

The couple had since divorced, but were happily married for years.

Samantha and her mother spoke every day for a month, crying, laughing and learning about each other.

“It almost felt like the first few weeks of dating. I was giddy when I saw a text from her and got antsy to hear her voice again.”

She learned that her parents had never told anyone about her. Not their families when they got pregnant in college, and not their children.

Unsplash, Tiomax80
Source:
Unsplash, Tiomax80

Valerie passed the news on to Samantha’s father, Eddy, and he was elated.

She was overwhelmed by how emotional he was when she spoke to him. He said all the right things and told her how much he loved her even though he didn’t know her.

She couldn’t explain why, but it felt like too much. Things had moved much more slowly with her mother and she wasn’t ready for such an emotional response. But they worked through it one step at a time.

Her parents eventually sat down to share the news with their other children, and passed on a letter Samantha wrote to them.

None of them had any idea how the siblings would take it.

But they were all happy to hear it! They were keen to meet Samantha, so the whole family arranged to meet up a month later, including Samantha’s husband and two children.

It was nerve-wracking, but as soon as she arrived she was embraced by both parents, and her family was welcomed into theirs with open arms.

Samantha Thomas, Love What Matters
Source:
Samantha Thomas, Love What Matters

It was an emotional roller coaster from start to finish, but Samantha had finally found what she was looking for.

She’s glad she never gave up her search.

“I not only gained a mom, dad and siblings, but I gained an entire family who love and accept me and my family without reservation.”

Samantha Thomas, Love What Matters
Source:
Samantha Thomas, Love What Matters

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By Naomi Lai
hi@sbly.com
Naomi Lai is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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