I'm 20 And I Just Found My First Biological Relative After Being In The Dark For All My Life

I'm 20 And I Just Found My First Biological Relative After Being In The Dark For All My Life

As an adopted child, this is a huge deal.
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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.

Cover Image Credit: Cheryl Winn-Boujnida on Unsplash

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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I'm The College Girl Who Is Old Enough To Know She Doesn't Want Kids, Please Respect That

Yes, I am a real woman, and yes, I have a heart.

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"I don't think I'm going to have kids." This was the sentence that sent my family into a frenzy. But you love kids, your so good with them, don't you think that's a bit selfish? Was the first of the remarks, followed by: you don't know what your missing, is your boyfriend okay with it, you're robbing the world of great kids, you'll never be happy, you'll change your mind; each came hurtling at me, one after the next. But me not wanting kids is something that I've given a lot of thought to, for the past decade, so am I really just "saying it for a reaction"?

"But you love kids, your so good with them, don't you think that's a bit selfish?" Yes. I do love kids. I think children are amazing. But that is the thing. I'm not being selfish. While it may be a bit selfish of me to not want to have to sew my body back up while sitting in an ice bath for a month afterward. Is it really so selfish to not want to raise a child in this messed up world? There is a school shooting almost every week in this country. Also, there's this thing called "rape culture" and it permeates every aspect of our society. Many of the children of today will likely be its victims or perpetrators in the not-so-distant future.

"You don't know what you're missing." According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs $241,080 for a middle-income family to raise a kid to 18 years of age — and that's before you toss in college, grad school, helping them get on their feet after graduation, bailing them out of jail after a wild weekend in Cabo, and all the rest of the unexpected expenses that come along with being a parent. I know what I am missing out on: temper tantrums and more college loans.

"Is your boyfriend okay with it?" This one always puzzles me. I'm not saying that we haven't talked about it. Of course he knows. But I am confused by the idea that if he wanted kids, I would change my mind to appease him. I was always taught that I am the sovereign of my own body. But then my aunt tells me that I have to give the decision of whether or not pushing a melon out of my uterus is best for me to any person I plan on dating?

"You're robbing the world of great kids." I'm actually not robbing the world of anything. I'm thinking about how having kids would impact the environment, over-consumption, over-population, and whether it would be fair to bring a child into this world. By not having kids, I'm allowing for the world to have one less person slowly ripping it apart. Mother Jones stated that one American child produces the same amount of carbon dioxide as 106 kids in Haiti. So, if you're concerned about bringing your the world's carbon footprint down, you could just skip having a kid.

"You'll never be happy." I fervently disagree with that statement. An international 2014 Gallup study found that overall, people with children had a "lower life evaluation," meaning they feel less happy with their lives in general. I know so many older women who do not have children and are incredibly happy. They felt fulfilled by other things; careers, spouses, volunteering, hobbies, pets, literally anything else. I understand that many people feel that they need children in order to feel happy, but some of us are not in the majority. But more women are child-free in the U.S. now that at any other time, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. Almost half, 47.6 percent, of women between the ages of 15 and 44 did not have children in 2014. So how small is the minority I'm in?

"You'll change your mind." And I know that. A lot of people do. My dad didn't want kids, and yet here I am. Some people change their minds, but some people don't. If my mind changes I'm okay with that, but don't TELL me that my mind will definitely change. It hasn't changed for the past 10 years and it doesn't look like it will anytime soon.

As a young woman in an age that tells me I can be anything, I can do anything, that I am in charge of my own destiny; I am often surprised by the number of people who tell me what to think and how I should be living my life. I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I'm past the age of someone trying to shape mine. If you want a moldable mind, go have your own child Susan.

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