GTPulse: Traverse City Woman Searches For Biological Parents
Bria Squires has crafted a lovely life for herself here in Traverse City and from the looks of it, it’s going to be a good one. The 27-year-old is a new homeowner, newly engaged and an active member of the community. A few months ago I wrote a story about how she and her fiance Stephen Massaway collect, paint and hide rocks all over downtown Traverse City every Sunday for unsuspecting passersby to find and delight in. During that interview, the couple talked about places they’d like to travel and the Philippines came up on the list. Bria explained that’s where she was adopted from. She had always thought about visiting and eventually tracking down her birth parents. With her adult life taking shape, now feels like the perfect time.
“We always talked about going to the Philippines and I’ve been looking online and watching adoption videos. May 9th was going to be Stephen and I’s wedding day and I still wanted to do something special so I made a YouTube video about finding my parents.”
Bria’s mother took her small daughter to the Children’s Shelter of Cebu when Bria was just shy of one year old. It’s common for adoption centers like these to get children dropped off without the parent sticking around to provide information like place or day of birth. But Bria’s mother didn’t do that. She went inside. She told the staff when and where Bria was born. She took a picture with her daughter at the request of a staff member, a tiny Bria’s hands wrapped around her mother’s fingers as her mother looked up at the camera with a shy half-smile.
“I grew up with that picture. I always have had that picture with me. She looks very similar to me.”
Bria was adopted into a loving family with two older brothers and a mother who was also adopted. As a child, however, Bria didn’t have many questions surrounding her adoption.
“She didn’t talk to me about her adoption much until I was older and understood the adoption process more. I always knew I was adopted. I mean, my family is so light-skinned I stick out like a sore thumb. I had questions but they’re my family members so it didn’t occur to me that I was that different.”
Bria’s mother did find her own biological family and Bria is hoping to do the same. Her interest has grown with age.
“It started in my teenage years, trying to figure out my identity. There was always just that missing piece of me. You know, my friends have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and they all look like they’re their parents and that’s when I wished I had someone that looks like me.”
Bria’s parents celebrated her adoption every year and kept everything from the shelter for Bria. Because Bria’s mother was present when she took her to the adoption shelter, Bria has some information to start with.
“So, I have my mother’s information. I reached out to the shelter I was from in Cebu. I actually just talked to a girl yesterday so I’ll have more information. The shelter I was at helps children find their parents again so I thought that was super cool.”
She’s not sure how long the process will take but she’s on this journey for the long haul. Finding her father may prove to be more difficult. When her mother surrendered her she left the father’s name off of Bria’s information. Because Bria is so much paler than her mother, she thought that her father was possibly caucasian.
“I just took an Ancestry DNA test and I am 100% Filipino. That was just another answer. I had questioned that for so long. For 26 years I didn’t know if my dad was American or European or from the Philippines.”
Bria isn’t sure how long it will take to track down her mother, and that’s the first step in connecting to the rest of her biological family. She also has two biological brothers who she would love to meet, along with her father, but time and circumstances will tell. Bria brings drive and a positive spirit to everything she does and her quest for finding her biological family is no different.
“Now that I’ve found my soulmate and where my home is, it will close that missing part of my heart. That thing I’ve been looking for. In the picture we have, she’s holding my hands and she looks like she’s smiling so that gives me hope.”
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