Everybody has a story: Matthew Ho, 32
As told to Chloe Walker, published in frankie 33 (January/February 2010)
I've always known I was adopted. I've never felt resentful about it; unconditional love has been around me from day dot. But I've always known there was a possibility of people being out there. There's always been a desire to meet up with my birth parents, to have a sense of exactly where I came from.
About 10 years ago I started looking for my birth parents. I was about to get married and start my own family, and I guess I felt it was time to find some initial information about that question mark.I went to the adoption agency, and they gave me a file with my birth name, my birth mother's and father's names, their jobs, and their eye colour and height. I searched through the electoral roll as well as births, deaths and marriages, but a lot of people had the same names. As well as that, my birth father wasn't in Australia, so trying to find him was complicated. But life got busy and it's something that takes a lot of energy. I've always known that with adoption, when you open that door to meet someone it's open for good. I just didn't have room for that possibility and I felt like that was enough at that point.
In August my wife and I set up a Facebook profile with my birth name and birth date. It was a bit of a passive search I guess, just something to put out there in the digital age we live in. If someone was looking for me they'd surely be able to find me through that avenue. I was hopeful, but at the same time I felt like it was out of my hands.
One night in September I was out for dinner and my wife sent me a text message saying, "Someone sent you a message on Facebook and she's saying she could be your sister." I was like, that's incredible. I didn't even think about the fact I could have brothers and sisters out there.
The message was from Mel, my oldest sister. She's 28. I found out I have another sister, Sammy, 22, and two brothers, Damien, 20, and Coby, who's 14. It's full-on because I've grown up in this family as the youngest child and all of a sudden I'm the oldest.
I also found out that my birth father went by another name. I found a Facebook profile that matched that name and his birthday. There was no photo, but I thought, I can only try and see if that's him. He wrote me back and it was. That was three weeks after I found my birth mother's side. His side of the family know all about me, just like my birth mother's side. I was with them till about 12 months old and I've got all these relatives, uncles and aunties and grandparents, who remember bonding with me. It's incredible the amount of people out there who know me and who've wanted to know what I've been up to for the past 30 years.
My birth father's in Singapore and has three boys. Since all this has come out we've all gotten Skype and that's been really great. It's one thing talking to someone on the phone. It's something else seeing them at the same time.
It's quite overwhelming at times. I'm just trying to be really balanced about it all, looking after myself and being transparent with everyone involved. There's a real trust and sense of understanding about the magnitude of the situation. We're all in it together in the sense that it's big for everyone. As wonderful as it all is, it's quite draining to talk about because it's not like "how's the weather?" or anything - every conversation for the past six weeks has been at this higher intensity level.
It's been amazing, and very healing for me. To reconnect with a blood relative is something I've been looking forward to all my life. As much as I've been a part of my family, having that biological connection with someone is something I cherish very much. My adoptive family and my wife are all really happy and it's drawn us closer together.