finding your roots

Connecting the Dots

Franklin W. March 27, 2012

In 1973 at the age of 3 I was adopted from New York City to Falmouth, Maine. I went from the inner city to well past the suburbs and into the rural in just a few hours. I went from being around mostly black kids like I was, to my new family where all but one of my siblings were white. It wasn’t very long before I was playing along with my family as if I had been there right from the start.
Shortly after my adoption my ‘new’ family split and I stayed with my ‘new mommy’. The divorce, which in so many ways was typical of the mid ’70′s, was also atypical in the fact that my mom and her ex remained civil towards each other. Both re-married and I felt that I was the luckiest kid on earth because I had two complete sets of parents.
I had always known that I had wanted to find my biological mother, if only to have someone to know where I got my features from. My family has been incredibly supportive of my quest to find my biological parents. My mom and dad have given me all the documentation they had about my adoption but it wasn’t until I got married that my quest was no longer something to postpone. This point was driven home when my son was born. For the first time in my life I could see my features reflected in his tiny face. When my daughter was born it was the same experience.
Now my children are beginning to ask me about my biological parents and why I haven’t found my mother. My wife and I are keenly aware that our own family history is going to be very interesting as my son was born in Ireland, my wife’s native country.
My wife and I have been really enjoying the documentaries that Dr. Gates has been producing because they resonate so strongly with us. I have submitted my DNA with 23andMe mainly to find more about who I am and where I am from. I now have to think about my own family and their needs from a family medical history.
I am also guessing that there are other adults like me who were inter-racially adopted in the ’70 when there was a push to adopt ‘at risk inner city children’ and place them in ‘safe’ suburban middle class families.
I feel that I am in a unique position because I represent a completely new branch of my family.

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The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

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