This is Hannah’s story of her adoption
My name is Hannah. I was born in Blenheim in July 1986. I can not remember the first time my parents told me I was adopted; I have always grown up knowing. I was one of the first babies in New Zealand to be involved in an open adoption. My birth mum chose my parents, Neville and Louise out of hundreds of hopeful couples wanting to adopt.
When my birth mum found out she was pregnant she knew she had three choices, to keep me, to have an abortion, or to place me for adoption. My birth parents were no longer together. I was the result of a brief summer romance. My birth father was unaware of the pregnancy but my birth mum knew he already had 3 children from a previous marriage. My birth mum was also a parent and had a daughter who was 5 at the time. My birth mum felt she would not cope being a single mum with two children. She made her decision for adoption thinking about what would be best for me. She wanted to give me the best opportunities in life with a two-parent family who could give me all the things she knew she was unable to give.
I went to Christchurch with my beaming parents where I had a secure upbringing, I could not have been happier. My parents tried for a long time to adopt a brother or sister for me but were unsuccessful. I have to admit that being an only child I was slightly spoilt from my parents who loved and cared for me so much. When I was little my mum, Louise, always talked to me openly about my adoption, and said I could ask her anytime to tell me the story again of how I had two mothers. I didn’t see my birth mum until I was eight but my mum kept in contact with her and sent her photos and reports of how I was doing.
The first time I met my birth mum she was married and had another daughter. We all went to the local park and I played with my new sisters. I became a pen pal to my sisters and we wrote to each other all the time. We also got together whenever it was possible given the distance between us.
As I got older I began to wonder more about my birth dad, I had never been told much about him, all I knew was that he lived in Hamilton. My best friend and I would always talk about him and look for information on the Internet. I would wonder if I had any other brothers or sisters and what my birth dad looked like.
At the end of 2005 I knew it was the time to find out about my birth dad. I found out his name and that he still lived in Hamilton. It took me 6 months to bring up enough courage to ring him. That night, with my two closest friends at my side I called him to tell him I was his daughter. It took me so long to think of what to say, but I guess there was no easy way to say it. A young girl answered and yelled out to her Dad when I asked for him, it gave me goose bumps just knowing that I had just spoken to another sibling of mine.
When he answered I told him my name and I was wondering if he remembers a woman from Blenheim about 20 years ago. He thought for a while and finally said yes. I explained to him that she is my birth mum, and she has just told me that he is my birth dad. I had been really nervous because I didn’t know how he would react, whether he would be welcoming to me or tell me not to contact him again. He was really surprised and amazed, he had a lot of questions but I could tell he was very shocked. I told him how I was adopted at birth and grew up mainly in Christchurch. We talked for about 10 minutes, and then he told me he would ring me back once he has got his head around it.
He rang back a week later. It was the longest week of my life. He sounded a lot calmer this time and told me he hadn’t stopped thinking about me since I rang. He explained I have 9 other half siblings on his side! He wanted to know all about me. He told me he was disappointed he hadn’t known about me when my birth mum was pregnant but he wants to make the most of knowing about me now and that we can move forward. We exchanged addresses and he said he would post some photos and I agreed to do the same. He said he would love me to come and visit them and that all the other siblings were very excited about the new addition.
I have been text messaging one of his daughters since making contact with him. She told me she was so excited when she found out, and that she had always wanted an older brother or sister. We have so much in common and have great fun sending pxts to each other seeing how similar we are. I sent a photo album with photos of me, they replied that the resemblance is really clear and that I have dimples like the rest of them. It has been so exciting finally talking to my birth dad and all my new siblings. Finally meeting them felt like a huge gap of mystery in my life had been filled. Its great to know I now have four supportive families I can always turn to for love and help.
Neville and Louise will always be my parents, but it is great sharing my story and knowing that I have such a unique biological background behind it all.