The eighteenth birthday is one that most will not forget. While it is usually said to mark the beginning of adulthood, for Tia Hagy it marked the beginning of a search.
“I didn’t even think of it myself,” Hagy said. “My parents just encouraged it to me. It was always something that when I was little I wanted to do. It was like a dream; I wanted to meet my parents. Every birthday I’d wish for that.”
18 years after being adopted from South Korea, Hagy decided to start the search for her birth parents.
She first contacted Holt International Children’s Services, the agency she was adopted through, to find out if she had enough information to be matched with her parents.
Hagy said she was nervous for what she would find.
“There were things I was scared of; life what happens if my parents reject me?” Hagy said. “There was a lot of risk taken but I just think the overall thing was, ‘I want to meet them.’ I just had tunnel vision and didn’t want to think of anything else.”
Then, after months of waiting, Hagy learned she would be able to proceed forward with the process.
She later saw photos of her parents for the first time, which she said was overwhelming.
“That was seriously amazing,” Hagy said. “I had always dreamt about what my parents looked like. I had nothing else of me on someone else. Being a biology major, we had genetics and it kind of tore me up.”
From that point on, she says her life was forever changed.
This Sunday, Hagy will celebrate her arrival day with her family. This is the day she arrived in the U.S. in 1993. She describes it as being similar to a birthday, and a day her family cherishes.