the letter that brought us together

I have been crazy busy this week preparing for the holidays and to host a Christmas party for a bunch of teens. Before I started baking though, I realized that this day exactly one year ago is the date I sent a letter to Taiwan– the letter that brought my birthfamily and I together.

By the time Tien (the social worker who helped me find my birthfamily) thought to write the letter to the Registration Office of Taipei, we already knew that I had two older sisters and one older brother. I was also working with an agency in Taiwan at the same time who found the addresses and names of my sisters but were unwilling to reveal them to me until they had received permission from my sisters. With continued delays, Tien decided to pen a letter in Mandarin to the Registration Office as if I had written it pleading for assistance in locating my sisters. We were so close to finding them, yet it seemed nearly impossible to move forward. I remember feeling frustrated over our inability to access the information we needed. The day I sent the letter, my co-worker, Jewel, and I drove to the Phoenix post office from the hospital where we worked. It was a cold, rainy afternoon, and I was worried that we wouldn’t have time to mail my packet if there was a long line. Sure enough, there was a line creeping along from the entrance to the counter. Jewel, however, spotted a self-mail kiosk with no line at all. I hopped over and, after printing and attaching a mailing label, sent the letter on its way to Taiwan.

It’s hard to believe that nearly a whole year has gone by since mailing that letter. I couldn’t wait to hear news from Tien about a response from Taiwan. Each day that passed, I waited in anticipation. Two weeks later on Christmas eve, I got my response from Tien! It truly feels like just yesterday I arrived in Taipei and met my biological sisters and family for the first time since my birth.

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A couple of days ago, I was sifting through some of my adoption papers, and I looked more closely at a document that’s almost blackened beyond readability, perhaps from sun damage. I had forgotten that I was relinquished for adoption at the age of one month and nine days. It suddenly struck me how brief a period I had with my birth mother. My adoption became legal on December 16, 1966, 45 years ago.

2012 has been a year full of introspection, reflection, and wonder. Not only did I reunite with my birthfamily, but for the first time, I understand some of the reasons why I am the way that I am. After all these years, I feel comfortable in my own skin. I thank God for bringing my birthfamily and I together and at the perfect time. There were plenty of times when I lost faith that we’d ever find them. My eldest sister and I still keep in touch regularly, and she passes along my hellos to the rest of the family. In the Fall of 2014, my husband, daughter, and I will make a trip together back to Taiwan. I imagine it will be another exciting celebration of family and reunion.

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