My adoption was closed, as was the norm in the early ‘70s. One nugget of information that I did have however was the name I was given at birth, presumably by my mother. Colleen Wilson. It’s nothing like my name today, and I can’t “picture” myself as a Colleen but it is a name that will always be special to me.
I was able to know what my name was because it was on the official Adoption Decree form from the courts that finalized my adoption. One little line at the bottom stated “…and the child known as Colleen Wilson will be adopted by Mr. and Mrs. SoandSo and will hence forth be named Andrea SoandSo.” Or something along those lines.
Throughout my childhood I clung to that name. It, along with a few lines of non-id’ing info that my mom wrote down as the SW read from a file the day they picked me up were the only links I had to who I was and where I came from.
Unfortunately Wilson is a pretty common last name; 8th most popular English surname in North America. If I had had a name like Shrapnel, or Doodyman I might have had an easier time searching for family members. But as a kid I didn’t know that Wilson was common, after all I didn’t know anyone with it. I decided that my mother’s first name must be Colleen and that she named me after her to make it easier for me to find her. So I was on the hunt for Colleen Wilson.
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Andy is the contributing editor for the Adoptee Perspective. She is also a mother through adoption. She writes daily at Today's the Day.