This is not a topic I’ve discussed here before because I really don’t have any experience with it but Angela Tucker, an adoptee (raised by the white parents you see in the image above) has been speaking out about her experience of growing up among people who did not look like her.
Angela was able to achieve what many adoptees hope for – a reunion with her original parents. She found her father on Facebook in 2010. He is known as “Sandy the Flower Man” in Chattanooga TN. His actual name is Oterious Bell. What Angela noticed first was his smile – which matched hers.
Born in Chattanooga TN, Angela was adopted as a 1-year-old by David and Teresa Burt in Bellingham WA. Eventually, this Caucasian couple would adopt seven of their eight children, drawing together a family of diverse ethnicity.
“I’m an African American who ‘fits in’ within Caucasian areas, better than in predominantly African American areas,” says Angela. “That is confusing and interesting at the same time.”
She wanted to understand her ethnic background, her personality and character traits. Where did her athletic skill come from ? Who did she look like — her original mom or original dad ? At the age of 12, she began expressing interest in finding her original parents. But her adoptive parents flinched at the thought they might be replaced.
“On my part,” says Angela, “there was a need to explain what my motives were — not to replace anyone, but simply to figure out who I am. What are my roots ? How did I get from Tennessee to Washington — and why?” This question mirrors my own mother’s question – how did I get from Virginia to Tennessee ?
I love that her original mother’s name matches my own – Deborah. When Angela first found Deborah, she denied any familial connection. That rejection was a devastating blow for Angela. Deborah’s resistance did slowly give way to acceptance and embrace. Eventually, Deborah spoke for the first time ever about the pain she experienced regarding Angela’s birth.
“It is wonderful to ‘not see color,’ and to want to adopt any race,” Angela says. “But there is a difference in parenting a child from another race. … If you aren’t Caucasian, then you do see color. You have to. You can feel it. It instilled in me an attitude of humility and a genuine openness towards accepting and understanding complex situations.”
Angela’s quest to find her birth family shows that reconciliation is possible, even when the deepest of hurts becomes an obstacle. Her husband, Bryan Tucker, has made a documentary about her journey titled Closure. You can watch a trailer at – https://youtu.be/g__N9YW78XU.