I am almost 21 years old and I have never met anyone who is blood-related to me.

For almost 21 years, I have lived with the family that adopted me when I was a few days old. I grew up with them and they raised me, yet I always knew I was adopted. I was brought up with the knowledge that I was no their biological child and was raised to realize that that's okay. I grew up knowing next to nothing about my biological family and coming to terms that I would never find them because it was a closed adoption.

A closed adoption basically means that the biological family can't disclose their full name or identities, making it impossible for the child to find them. Likewise, they aren't informed of my name and cannot find that child. I grew up understanding that my biological parents had me when they were very young and weren't in a place to keep me. I had always understood this and felt no ill will.

Being adopted is very much part of my personal identity. It's a fun thing to tell people when I first meet them because it's such a rare occurrence that most are intrigued and want to know more. Of course, there are the close-minded people who are put off with how open I am about it. I have one other friend that I know who is also adopted, so it's sometimes hard to relate to my friends and even boyfriend on some levels. For examples, genetics and looking like their parents and ancestry. Don't get me wrong, I have my own weird ancestry from my family, but I never knew my biological ancestry. My boyfriend knew this and saw me go through random spurts of frustration due to it.

For Christmas in 2017, my boyfriend ordered me a spit collecting ancestry analyzing product. He knew how I sometimes got frustrated about my genetics and got it as a small form of closure, which I appreciated immensely. I didn't get my results until March since I put it off from being sick and didn't want to have my flu-filled spit analyzed. When I finally did get my results, it was a little underwhelming. It can't tell you anything for certain and is just approximations. However, I was offered a chance to share my DNA information with those that had DNA close to mine. I hit yes because, hey, why not? What did I have to lose?

A few weeks later, I woke up to a bunch of messages on Facebook from people I didn't know. Confused, I checked the site and, lo and behold, I actually matched with a biological family member. Yes, you read that right, 21 years of nothing and a simple "accept terms and conditions" linked me to a 2nd family. What was the first thing I did, you may ask? Crid. Cried my heart and soul out.

Over the past month, I have discovered and spoke to so many biological family members I never knew existed. The most exciting of them all, to be honest, is that I have a half brother. If you are an only child, you can understand my excitement when I found out that I have a sibling. Besides that, I have met aunts and uncles, cousins, grandaunts and granduncles, my biological parents, and even got to learn about my biological family history.

The most humbling part of this experience has been that it has exceeded my expectations. My whole life, I assumed that if I ever found them, I would ask questions and carry on with life. That isn't what happened at all. They want to keep in contact, they want me in their lives. My family just grew in indescribable ways and I still can't quite process it all. It's been an emotional start and I cannot wait to see where it all takes me. I've already met my biological cousin in person and I cannot wait for the day I get to meet more.

Even with this new discovery, I would never trade my family that adopted me for the world.

My parents are still my number one and always will be. I would never trade them for anything. No one is replacing anyone, it just means my family grew by a lot. This new chapter in life is something I wish everyone in adoptions could experience, but sadly is not typically the case. The best piece of advice for anyone in the same or similar situation is this: never give up that hope.