That Time I Pretended I Knew Thai

It’s no surprise that lately I have been trying to track down my biological family, digitally. The whole purpose of this blog was to follow the journey from the idea to the finished result-if there even is one. There were several bumps along the way, including my own resistance to the very purpose of my posts. Yes, at one point I did not want to find my biological family. I did not want to film a soppy reunion that would be posted on YouTube for the world to marvel over. I wanted a few years of my life to be everything but adoption because it seemed much of my young life was spent basking in it. This has since changed. I have gone into overdrive, creeping Facebook profiles and desperately using Google Advanced Search to connect pieces of my old life together. Crazy perhaps? Absolutely. Could I end up finding nothing? Absolutely. Is it even worth it? I don’t know.

During one of my Facebook creeps I came along what was almost a perfect match to my birth mother. The city she lived in, her birth date and her name were all on par. So what do you do when you come across this, which, in closed adoptions, can be very rare? I summoned the help of those who spoke the language I resented as a young child. Thai people. What do you write to someone who is going to receive this message and think either, “What the hell?” or, “Oh my god…”? 1) Apparently you add a lot of exclamation points, because when you add those in any sentence it immediately stops being so serious! 2) You try and keep it simple, who knows what this will sound like as it’s translated. 3) You try to be persuasive but not forceful, there was a reason why you were adopted in the first place after all. 4) “Friended” is not a word. I just realized this. I’m majoring in English…that is concerning. 5) Keep it short. This may be her first impression of you. Don’t traumatize the poor thing.

“Hello there, My name is Ornmadee Baxter-Lovo and I live in Canada but I was born in Thailand in 1994. I friended you on Facebook because right now I am trying to find my birth parents and your name is similar to my birth mother’s. I am hoping that I can locate with one or both of them or at least connect with family that might know their whereabouts. I do not know Thai but have many Thai friends who understand the language and are helping me translate messages. I would be so happy if you were a possible relative of my birth family but I also appreciate your friendship on Facebook even if you are not!”

The message sends and I am thinking a few things right now. I have heard of stories of families reconnecting, this is the best case scenario. I have also heard stories of local people charging people in search of their families a monetary fee for their services. That’s not happening, I can hardly afford gas money let alone a family reconnection service.

For parents of adopted children the take away message is this: I am twenty years old and I am just now getting completely interested in this whole seeking out the parents situation. Your kid might want to do it when they’re five, or forty, whatever. The important thing is that it is their perspective that the message is being sent from. This post will be the first time anybody other than myself has read the message I sent, my parents included. I’m not keeping a secret, but I am not explaining it a thousand times either.

I receive two messages back. One is in poor English, but she’s tried to explain that she is not my mother but there are three people who share the last name and she knows them. The second message I send through Google translate:

“Hello, my name is Jason’re happy and beautiful.”

Maybe I should have taken my Thai lessons a bit more seriously when I was a kid.

To be continued…

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