During the summer of 1989 in Romania, a boy was born and given up for adoption shortly afterward.
That boy was me.
It’s a small but important detail about my life that I’ve never really discussed publicly.
I was born in Campulung, a small municipality some 170 kilometres northwest of Bucharest, the Romanian capital. For reasons that I’m still not entirely clear about, I was given up for adoption and spent the first months of my life living in an orphanage. In 1990, I was adopted and brought to North Vancouver by two wonderful people, whom I’m extremely lucky and proud to call my parents.
My parents never hid that information from me but for years, I often kept this part of my life hidden from many people, even some of my closest friends.
Perhaps it was because I was bullied in first grade for being the new kid in town and was scared of what might happen if anyone else knew where I was born, that I never said anything. Or maybe it was because I had no living memory of Romania, never been back to Romania and never really associated myself as being from Romania in the first place, even though I fully knew that I was.
The truth is, it was all of these things and more that caused me to keep that part of my identity hidden for many years, much to my regret.
Around the time I was 18 years old, I told a friend and former classmate of mine, who was also adopted from Romania, that I was too. I remember being told it was OK not to tell people and to do it on my own time. That response went a long way.
Today, most of those who are close to me know that I’m adopted from Romania. My wife knows, my friends know, my co-workers, know and heck, even total strangers who ask me where I’m from know. It’s not something I hide anymore.
But what most people don’t know is just how hard it was for me to reach this point. How I spent years feeling ashamed that I’d hidden an important detail in my life from many of my friends and people I cared about.
Someone once told me “being adopted is a beautiful gift,” and after years of internal struggle, I couldn’t agree more.
Not long ago, I was looking at some photos from Romania and my birth mother for the first time in years. It got me wondering about my birth mother and father and the rest of my biological family. Are they still alive? Does my birth mother remember me? Does my biological family even know I exist?
It got me thinking that I should go back to Romania for the first time since I was adopted, that I should begin exploring a part of me I don’t know much about and that I should try and find my biological mother before it’s too late.
There so many questions about myself that I’ve never really asked over the years, which is ironic considering I am a journalist.
Going through those photos also made me realize that I’ve been open about so much in my life, whether it has been in as a professional writer or on social media, except for this one detail about my life.
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