Teresa Stensen was adopted as a baby. She had a happy childhood, but she always wondered about her birth mother. She asked herself impossible questions: “Who do I like like? Where did I get my giant teeth? Why was I different from my sister and my mom and dad? Where did I come from? Did my birth mother ever think about me?” She also wondered about her medical history.
There was a part of her that felt like she had been given away. Though her mother told her that her birth mother had loved her so much that she had made the choice to place her for adoption, Teresa didn’t believe it. She spent much of her life believing that she wasn’t good enough. It was a wound that ran deep.
Because of a law passed in Ohio that opened adoption records to adult adoptees – one she herself advocated for – Teresa began to seek out her birth mother. Her (adopted) sister helped her find her birth mother on the Adoption.com Reunion Registry. From there, she learned that her mother had attended the same high school her son had attended. Then she found a picture of her birth mother in an old high school yearbook. “It was like looking in a mirror,” she remarked.
Then she made a phone call that would change both her life and her birth mother’s life forever.
Teresa’s story is one that helps illustrate the importance of protecting the rights of people who were adopted – including their right to know where they came from.