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The Real Family Project: Celebrating Birthdays, Finding Community

STORYCENTER Blog

We are pleased to present posts by StoryCenter staff, storytellers, colleagues from partnering organizations, and thought leaders in Storywork and related fields.

The Real Family Project: Celebrating Birthdays, Finding Community

Ary Smith

Dear Friends,

Last week, I had a beautiful birthday.  I will admit that it was mostly due to Joe and  his beautiful community.  It is always weird to be the one entering a completely  new world.  Joe, in his letter about my birthday, mentioned the importance of that date for us.  It is the moment that this story really began.

For me, birthdays have always been troubling.  It is not because I am growing a year older.  I am oddly at peace with my age, and I probably should be after it has been made public through this project everywhere.  For an adoptee, a birthday is a memory of loss.  It is the one day a year that you remember completely and without question that you once belonged to someone else. 

The feeling never leaves you.  I was reading that 60% of adoptees want to find their birth families, even if they have been happy with their adoptive families.  This statistic always left me wondering about the pull that one has to connect with your roots.  I remember when I first met Joe and I realized that for him this story had been a secret held inside for forty plus years.  For me, it was marked upon my very being from the moment I was born.

I believe that we are beginning to understand the ramifications of being adopted as more adoptees speak about their experiences.  We are definitely only now beginning to understand the stories of birth parents. 

For me, the last few weeks have been amazing as I entered into a world of adoption dialogue and felt that I had found a tribe.  To be supported by a community such as The Center for Digital Storytelling, has made it even better.  So as I start a new year, I will share the wonderful events of this last week.

1. I was wished a happy birthday by my birth father for the first time in my life.

2. I was wished a happy birthday by lots of wonderful people whom I never  met.

3. A dear friend and adoptive parent found our project online and contacted me after I had lost touch for about ten years. 

4. I was able to begin to express my voice, my story and my thoughts around adoption and the community listening has welcomed my voice as part of theirs.

This is just one week.  It was a beautiful birthday.  A cupcake and a day spent with a very dear friend helped as well.  Thank you for your support.

We have had sixty-four wonderful funders and are at 46% of our campaign.  We have forty days left.  It would be wonderful to reach that 50% mark before the next email.  We can only do it with your help.

Our IndieGoGo Campaign:

http://igg.me/at/real-family-project/x/199907

Our Website (only the beginning to an amazing project):

http://real-family.org

Thank you again and best wishes.

Tatiana