It is said that a “Wild Fig” tree in the Echo Caves of South Africa has the deepest roots of any tree on earth. Roots that were planted so long ago that no one can even remember when. They grew strong and in time the tree pushed through the soil with a few small leaves. It grew taller and stronger and it branched out in all directions. By that time, no one remembered the roots. People would pass by and admire the tree and the beautiful foliage and they desired the fruit. But they never gave a thought to the very thing that gave it life- the roots.
All of my life I wondered about my roots. Where did they begin? How deep did they run? Those roots that gave me life. I thought of my mother, my father and all those people that came before them. Where did they come from? Never had any question so simple eluded me so completely. No stories were passed down through the generations to me. No images of an ancestor from days gone by. Nothing, simply nothing at all. It was as if I simply was and always had been with no beginning.
Soon, I knew I must take a journey to find out about me. A journey back in time to find those people that would fill the branches of my tree. Where was my home? Where did I belong? Little did I know at the time that many of the answers I wanted to find were really secrets hidden deep within my own heart, waiting to be discovered. Just one problem- I needed permission to uncover those secrets. You see, I was adopted when I was four from a state home and many years ago, adoption meant secrets. Some never to be told.
My search began before the internet and the only tools were calling 411 for information or using a phone directory. No family was willing to talk. Perhaps they didn’t even know. So the place to begin was the orphanage. It was there when I was first told I didn’t have permission. Next I tried to get my original birth certificate. Once again, I was told that I didn’t have permission.
It’s my life! Why can’t I know who I am, where I came from? That should be a right of every human, simply to know their story. Finally, after many, many years, and totally on my own, I found a clue that led me to my birth father. This later led me to my birth mother and even later, my birth siblings. At least now I know my story. It might not be perfect, but it is my story.
I met and enjoyed some years with both birth parents and family. Now both my birth parents and adopted parents have passed. Recently, I decided, after all these years and at the age of 75, I can obtain my original birth certificate. Now there is no one who might be hurt. I contacted the state where I was born, explained everything, and yes, once again, I was told I need permission now from the courts.
Here I am in my later years and I still have no right to what should belong to me. So I will now turn my attention to help in the fight for adoption rights. I do NOT need permission to fight all the way to the “roots” of unjust laws even if they are as the Fig tree.