Although Tiegan Boyens had a lovely childhood with her adoptive mothers, she always wondered about her father.
Tiegan Boyens, 20, from York, England, has always known that she was adopted. Her devoted adoptive mums Maggie, 54, and Anne, 57, encouraged communication and have always been honest with her about it, occasionally even assisting her in writing letters updating her biological grandparents on her life. Though she always knew and had contact with her grandparents, she didn't speak to her 47-year-old father Jay until she was 18 years old when he gave her his phone number and showed something he had kept for her: a picture of her sonogram. Tiegan shares that the sonogram photo has assisted her in understanding "the puzzle of who I am" and in putting her identity together. In an interview with Daily Mail, Tiegan said, "Most adopted people don't have baby photos, let alone ultrasound pics, so it's very special to me. It's like a piece in a puzzle of who I am. He kept hold of it all these years and has now given it to me."
At Adoption South East we know how important the connections adopted people make and how their sense of identity has been formed through various relationships in their lives – from birth parents to foster families and beyond. #NationalAdoptionWeek #YouCanAdopt pic.twitter.com/bpekd9j10x— Adoption South East (@AdoptionSE) October 18, 2022
Tiegan was born inside a jail and lived with her mother in a mother-and-child prison unit for her first five months before being moved to live with her father. The father did the best he could, but "it was tough for him." When Tiegan was 2 years old, she was moved into foster care and was eventually adopted by her parents Maggie and Anne at the age of 4. She shared that she does not carry any memories of being adopted. Although Tiegan had a lovely childhood with her adoptive mothers, she always wondered about her father.
Tiegan said she always wondered about her birth dad, adding, "Growing up, I would think about him. At school, we'd all be making cards for Father's Day or I'd see my friends with their dads and it would make me miss him." Minutes after getting his number in October 2020, Tiegan sent a text introducing herself to her father. "At 18, I got his phone number through family. He knew I would be in contact but I think he was surprised by how quickly I messaged him." They gradually became closer over the course of the following two months.
"My mums knew they weren't just adopting me, they were adopting my whole history and family as well" - Tiegan features in today's #NationalAdoptionWeek video, encapsulating modern adoption & the importance of keeping children connected with their pasts https://t.co/tbBW5np9mP— CVAA (@CVAA_UK) October 17, 2022
She said, "At first, we sent text messages back and forth daily before organizing a phone call in December 2020. We decided to talk over our PlayStations so that we could play video games together if we were struggling to talk. But in the end, there was no awkwardness and we didn't need to play any games - it was like we had never been out of each other's lives."
A face-to-face meeting would have to wait due to the pandemic restrictions during lockdowns. Tiegan said, "Not being able to meet up straight away turned into a good thing because it gave us time to bond and get to know each other first." Tiegan planned to see her father in September 2021and was surprised to learn the things her father has held onto. "The first thing he said was, 'Hello Tigger', a nickname he'd given me as a baby." The two spent the afternoon catching up, after which, her father held out the sonogram picture and she "was amazed."
Tiegan is now supporting the national adoption campaign "You Can Adopt" in an effort to raise awareness of how crucial it is for adopted individuals to understand their origins and have a connection to their history. Tiegan shares that she thinks sentimental objects from an adopted child's history can be very important for one to understand their identity. She thinks it's important to let children know they're adopted, adding, "My mothers knew they weren't just adopting me, they were adopting my whole history and family as well. There are still struggles, you'll never get every piece of information but there were four years of my life before I was adopted, and that's still part of my story."