Share: Getting to the Root of It
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Michaela Pereira, news anchor for CNN’s morning show New Day, thought finding her birth father would answer her questions. Instead, she found a sister who made her life complete. To read the full article, please pick up the March issue of ESSENCE now.

I grew up in Canada in the 1970’s, and there was no escaping the topic of adoption in our house. One look at the seven of us, and you knew immediately we were not a typical family.

When my mother, a primary school teacher, and my father, a social worker, married in 1966, they hadn’t planned to adopt. But shortly after they wed, one of my father’s colleagues approached my parents about a 4-year-old girl in dire need of a family. My parents adopted Darlene and the floodgates opened. They would eventually adopt four more girls: Sheila, 5, biological sisters Laurie, 9, and Mary Lou, 7, and me, when I was only 3 months old. My four sisters all have First Nations ancestry. I am biracial, the result of a brief relationship between my Caucasian birth mother and Jamaican Canadian birth father. Before Brangelina’s brood, there was us!

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My parents worked hard to build a normal life for their children, who often struggled with feelings of abandonment. I remember my mother telling each of us we were special because we had been chosen. Even so, like many adopted kids I wondered about my birth parents. I was especially curious about my father. So much of who I am on the outside—my skin color, eye color and hair—is because of him. My identity is inextricably tied to a man I do not know…

To read this full article pick up a copy of the March issue of ESSENCE today!