‘He said, ‘I am her brother.’ It turned my world upside down. ‘Where did I come from?’: Woman adopted by mom’s husband discovers half brother by chance

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“I often find myself feeling misplaced in the adoption community. Where do I belong?

People don’t like to talk about those of us who are half adopted. Maybe they just don’t think about it. Maybe they don’t think about us. Or maybe, it doesn’t fit the traditional narrative, so it’s not considered. Regardless, those of us who are half adopted, or as I like to call it — a partial adoptee — feel isolated in our stories.

Courtesy of Mallory Fogas

I never really thought about my story in this way until 8 years ago. I ran into my brother, who I didn’t know existed, in a public place. He was aware of who I was and to make a long story short, I learned I had a brother. Before you jump to the conclusion my parents hid something from me, they didn’t. My mom gave birth to me when she was 15 years old and my biological father never wanted to be in the picture, at least not like a true father figure. He came and went. He dropped presents off for birthdays, and then would disappear again. He would schedule visits, and never show. He used drugs, hung out with a bad crowd, and wasn’t interested in the role of fatherhood.

When I was 3 years old, he decided the little bit of contact he did have wasn’t something he wanted anymore and legally terminated his parental rights. Shortly after, my mom married a wonderful man whom I call Dad. He legally adopted me at this point and took on the role of fatherhood with strength and open arms. I always knew about my story. It was never hidden from me.

Fast forward to that day in June, 8 years ago, when a teenage boy walked into my workplace and declared (privately) to a coworker, ‘I am her brother.’ It turned my world upside down, but in a good way. It surfaced many emotions — grief, hurt, sadness, loss — I never knew existed deep within my soul. Questions. So many questions. ‘Who was I? Where did I come from?’ Not in the physical sense, but who provided the other half of my DNA? The emotions I experienced, and still do to this day, are the same ones of any adoptee. Just because my ‘adoption’ was different than the typical domestic or international situation, it doesn’t change how a biological part of who I am, and one of the people who provided the opportunity for my life to be formed, didn’t want to parent me. Didn’t want to know me. That will always shape my viewpoint on life. It’s my understanding of adoptees, understanding the sense of loss which seems to loom throughout your life. This is the hard side of adoption. Thankfully, there are fewer hard parts than there are good, for me at least.

I took that heartache and passion within me to start by business, Arrow + Root. Adoption is woven into the fabric of my being, so starting my business in the adoption community was where I knew I needed to be. I am able to take my point of view and help others create adoption profile books they will present to expectant parents who could potentially choose them to parent their child. I have a deep appreciation for women experiencing unintended pregnancies and find themselves in the midst of hard, life altering decisions. I find my mom remarkable and full of strength because in my ‘father’s’ no, she still said yes. I am in awe of my dad who embraced both my mom and I, her daughter, in such a special way. He has NEVER treated me any differently than the other children in my family. In fact, I find I will often think a lot like him.

Courtesy of Mallory Fogas

Even though this significant act has forever shaped who I am, it will not define me. It will allow me to gain perspective and pass on wisdom. It will allow me to extend compassion and love in transparent ways. It will allow me to connect in the heart spaces of other individuals who have experienced a similar situation, which my inbox has been flooded with from others ‘like me.’

Sometimes I wonder who I am. But most days, I know who I am. I am a daughter of the Lord All Mighty.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mallory Fogas. You can follow her on Instagram. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more touching adoption stories here:

‘I was at the library with my 3-year-old daughter when a woman said, ‘Excuse me.’ She waved me over, and thanked me.’: After adoption woman says ‘we aren’t superheroes or saviors’

‘She remembered the way they protected her. ‘THOSE ARE MY BROTHERS!’ she pointed across the courtroom, yelling proudly.’: 3 adopted brothers ecstatic to attend biological sister’s adoption day after ‘hopeless’ childhood

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