I like to plan things, create routines, prioritize and then move forward. Given this proclivity I like to layout a plan for how things will go and determine the best and most efficient way to get from point Here to point Over There Somewhere. In this mindset it is always good to determine both the starting point and the end point. In this case, the search for biological relatives of mine, the end point is finding a someone(s) or searching forever! Ok, hopefully searching forever is not what happens but who knows, it is hard to believe that once I dig in I will be able to walk away without some answers.
The starting point is a bit more tricky to pin point and so I have laid out a few of my possible step 1s below. As a planner at heart it is very frustrating to not know where to start as any setback will make me second guess my initial approach which breeds all sorts of nasty self-deprecating thoughts and blame which is no fun for anyone!
Step 1 – Approach the search like I imagine a personal investigator would and go looking for all the “facts” with a magnifying glass and a device with a 4G data connection and the all knowing Google. This approach would probably require that I buy a leather brief case, a trench coat and a deerstalker hat. Since I don’t have any of the appropriate wardrobe nor an investigative spirit this seems like an unlikely starting point.
Step 1 – Somewhat more seriously I could go the route that many adoptees in the U.S. go which is sending swabs of my DNA to a bunch of laboratories to see if I have a strong genetic match with anyone else who has submitted their DNA. This is a relatively attractive, accessible and seemingly low-risk option that I have heard is all the rage these days. I have also heard that it is a much more effectively tool in populations that have a relatively high level of participation, in the U.S. that participation is driven by predominately Caucasians. I, am not caucasian (surprise!), and it seems doubtful that my biological parents were and equally doubtful that they participated in one of these DNA banks, especially one connected to these ones in the U.S. All that to say it is pretty darn unlikely that it would prove useful for me to do one or more of these kinds of tests at all. Plus I do find it fucking weird that I would send my DNA to anyone for any purpose. If you are thinking, well, why not? I agree except it is kind of expensive to do a lot of them and I am not convinced it is the best use of my monies, at this time.
Step 1 – I am also a bit OCD and seeing Step 1 written three times is a row is really frustrating, alas, I will march valiantly on. I do have some connections in India, and notably ay the orphanage where I lived for some amount of time before I was adopted. I could reach out to the contacts I have there and try to determine how I arrived at the orphanage and then trace those connections backwards until the very second I was born thus finding out my true identity (sorry, it is late and I’m becoming snarky and rather flippant, apparently). This seems like a very strenuous way to go about searching because it involves relying on other people who live far away, speak different languages, are in different time zones and probably don’t have nearly as much as I do about what I am trying to accomplish and may have an direct interest against my searching, if I am being cynical which I almost always am. It most likely would also warrant a visit or multiple to India. This is not a bad thing, but in talking about resource allocation towards this search it is certainly an expensive option.
Step 1 – To the courts! I could trace back the legal documents that were issued to me when I was a baby in India by the courts and see where they get me. I have two somewhat to very official documents issued by the Indian government: one, which I have written about previously, is my affidavit of abandonment in lieu of birth certificate or as I like to call it my AALBC second, I have an Indian passport which verifies that I was, indeed, at one point an Indian Citizen so back off all you damn birthers trying to say I was born in the U.S. and am eligible to run for president, get over it, Kumar is never going to be the POTUS. This option, given what I have heard from a few others with some marginal experience in searching and inquiring about legal birth records in India seems like a closed door with limited if no avenues for openings given the cultural views of orphaned children and the social havoc they can wreck on a family, in many cases. I try not to dwell on this too much or else I worry I may ruin someone’s life by showing up and claiming to be there long lost son, cousin, uncle, brother or secret keeper.
Step 1 – What about the agency? Its true, there was at least one adoption agency involved in facilitating me being adopted and my mother has hinted that the woman in charge of the agency may still have some information on how I came to be at the orphanage in Trichy as a wee little one. This is probably really easy to do as long as I can track down the agency. I mean it would probably just be a phone call or an email if I am feeling hesitant or even a fax if I am feeling adventurous. Maybe I could con my mom in to doing it for me?
Step 1 – Hire a personal investigator. Its probably not going to be the first thing I do but mostly because I don’t have the cash money for it. I think it would be good for me maybe to consult someone who is trained at looking for people, wow just writing that sounds creepy and awful. Nonetheless people look for people and find people and so I bet some people who have done that would talk to me if I paid them.
Ok, step 1 is getting a little overwhelming. It is likely that given the options I have provided above and the many I have not included because I want to go to sleep that just starting is more important than where I start. I’m not going to figure it out on the first try and it is likely going to be an expensive, taxing and long journey. The one thing I certainly do not have on my side is time. I do feel a strong sense of urgency and already a feeling of regret that I hadn’t started sooner.
I feel like for the first time I have really allowed myself to start thinking about this as if it is happening and an inevitability which is heartening and terrifying at the same time. I am glad I’m doing this but sacred shitless of the outcome, any outcome.
The idea of searching has begun to trickle its way from my brain into other parts of my body, headed for the heart no doubt.
P.S. sorry I did not proof read this post in advance!