Not a single day went by for 22 years that I did not think about my baby girl. No matter where I went through out those years I always looked at kids and wondered, is it her? I would ask friends of mine that had kids her age if they knew any girls named Haley at school and they would all say no.
Ontario Adoption Law
I remember the day they changed the Ontario Adoption Law, June 1 2009 birth parents could apply for copies of the adoption order and birth registration and so that was exactly what I did. Haley would only have been 13 years old at the time so I wasn’t legally allowed to have her information. My only hope was that if she ever wanted to look for me at least she would know I was looking for her. Several years had gone by and of course every single day I wondered and worried. I always hoped she got the life she deserved, a life I knew I couldn’t have been able to give her.
In November 2017, I reapplied, knowing she would be at an age where I was legally allowed to get her adoption records which would show her last name. Part of me also thought maybe she didn’t want to be found or maybe she didn’t even know she was adopted. I was freaking out inside with all of these questions I had and no real answers She could be living anywhere in the world and I may never be able to meet her but at least I would know. With the technology of today who knows, maybe I could find her on the internet and we could meet that way. I kept thinking and questioning myself and making myself crazy about it all.
My heart sank and my stomach was in knots
Then on December 12, 2017 I had went to check the mail and there was a letter from Ontario Adoption. My heart sank and my stomach was in knots, I was afraid of opening the envelope for what I may or may not find. I put it on the front seat of my car while I drove into work and I kept staring at it. When I got to my desk and sat down I opened it. My emotions were through the roof! There it was the adoption records and the statement of live birth which showed her first and last name, birth date and birth place but everything about me and her birth father were blacked out.
Not a single day went by for 22 years
Everything I wanted for the past 22 years is in the palm of my hands and I’m freaked out! I’m happy, I’m scared, and I’m full of so many emotions I have no idea what to do with them all. Do I laugh or do I cry or do I scream at the top of my lungs? I picked up my laptop and started looking on the internet for anything I could find. I searched the internet on what little information I had for weeks. Then one day in January 2018, with a little help from a very close friend, I found her. I couldn’t stop creeping her social media posts and her pictures, I couldn’t see the resemblance but I knew it was her. I cried so hard that day, I’m crying now thinking about it. I found my baby girl after 22 years and she was incredibly beautiful.
What if she didn’t know she was adopted?
I spent the next two days looking at her pictures and trying to figure out how to go about meeting her. Maybe she didn’t know she was adopted, what if her parents didn’t tell her, I couldn’t do that to her so I found her adopted mom and I sent her a message:
I have been struggling with what to say to you or if I should even contact you. I’m not sure if you know who I am although at this point I’m sure you have guessed. My Heart is racing and my hands are shaking as I type this. I wanted to contact you first in case Haley doesn’t know about me. Not a single day or moment has gone by in 22 years that I have not thought about her. I do want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for raising such an amazing young woman at least from what I can see on Facebook. Every day of my life since that day I’ve looked at all the girls I came across and wondered could it be her. I’ve been trying to find her for years and I just recently found you all and now I’m scared as hell of what to do or say or even think. I do truly hope she knows about me so that I can hopefully explain to her why I had to place her for adoption. I still have the duo tang folder you and your husband gave to me all those years ago. I feel as though I may throw up typing this. I’m so very scared you won’t respond to me. Please do know that I want to respect you and your family but I do have to ask if she knows about me? Or does she want to know about me? I would love to even meet you first if that is something you might be ok with. I look forward to hearing from you.
Later that same day this was the response I received:
“Hello Shannon I knew that this day would come that either yourself or Haley would be interested in reaching out. I appreciate that you have respected us as a family and have only contacted Haley as an adult. Haley has been a real angel to our family and has giving us all great balance. I have spoken to Haley today about you contacting her and I am letting this be in her hands. She needs time to think about all of this she has your information from the adoption and any letters that were included from back then. She also has your current name so if she chooses to reach out her dad and I will fully support her.
I was a crying mess
So full of emotion so I called my girlfriend while she was at work and she told me how happy she was for me but also told me not to get my hopes up. She’s the stronger one in our relationship…a realist and I love that about her. I just couldn’t keep it all in. The next morning I was sitting at work and I see a message pop up on my phone from Haley.
“22 years later…
The amount of times I’ve erased and rewrote this message… unsure really of what to say… I guess first off good morning, and second I’m not really sure how you are supposed to introduce yourself in these situations… but I did want to say I admire your bravery for messaging my mom and reaching out, I’m sure that was not an easy choice to make, especially putting yourself in a vulnerable situation where you didn’t know if you would get an answer or not, I could only imagine… or even how long you’d have to wait for one… I’m guilty of not being patient and there’s nothing worse than waiting, so with that being said and also because I wanted to, I’m reaching back out and messaging you”
I still think about her every single day
Once again, I am a crying mess and I started messaging her back and we are asking each other all kinds of questions. Could this even be real? I jumped in my car and showed up at my sisters’ work to tell her and we both cried and then I had to tell my mom and dad and that was insanely hard. They were so happy and of course wanted to meet her right away. I was meeting her that week too and I was scared! We met at a local pub and we hugged and we talked for hours. As a matter of fact we talked morning noon and night for a few months. We don’t talk as often as we used to but I still think about her every single day and feel so lucky to have her in my life.