Black Market Baby

Tracie Pickens006 Other Adoptee Voices, The Adoptee Journey


Tracie Pickens

I was black market adopted in Memphis, TN in March of 1976. My "adoptive" parents were introduced to my biological Mother by my adoptive parents' neighbor. She was a mutual friend of the neighbors who was 28 and pregnant, with 2 sons already at home, and felt as though she didn't have the means to care for me...

A couple of months after I was born, my adoptive parents literally packed up me, my adoptive brother, my adoptive sister and what they could fit in the car. They literally drove away in the middle of the night to Phoenix, AZ leaving every single thing they owned. That's the fear they lived in.
My adoptive parents and biological Mother met at a public bar where my Mother said she worked, and they talked and ultimately my adoptive parents agreed to take her baby once it was born. My biological Mother checked into the hospital using my Adoptive Mother's name. My adoptive Mother attended my birth posing as my biological Mother's sister and my adoptive Father was there posing as the birth Father. My original birth certificate shows my adoptive parents as my biological parents and my adoptive Mother's signature is even forged by my biological Mom. I was a bit ill at birth so had to stay in the hospital a few days after my biological Mother checked out. When it came time to pick me up from the hospital, my biological Mother called the hospital and said she was ill so the my adoptive father picked me up from the hospital and that was that.

Recently I learned that my adoptive parents lived in fear and panic after bringing home from the hospital. They would never be together in the same place at the same time because they were afraid the authorities would find out what they had done or my biological Mother would want me back and they didn't want to be together at the grocery store and have them both go to essentially they felt like they kidnapped me, which honestly is what I felt like from an early age before I even knew I was adopted.

A couple of months after I was born, my adoptive parents literally packed up me, my adoptive brother (9, almost 10 years old at the time), my adoptive sister (3.5 years old at the time) and what they could fit in the car and literally drove away in the middle of the night to Phoenix, AZ leaving every single thing they owned behind including pets such as ponies, horses, dogs and cats. That's the fear they lived in. They chose Phoenix because that's where my adoptive Mother's family lived at that time. My adoptive brother remembers that vividly, he never knew why they ran in the middle of the night but he remembers being heartbroken to have to leave behind his dogs and his pony with no explanation. ☹️

My adoptive parents divorced when I was 7 years old leaving me to be raised by my narcissistic adoptive monster, as I call her. She was very physically, mentally and verbally abusive to me growing up. After I was finally told when I was 10 years old that I was adopted, it wasn't uncommon for her to refer to my birth mother as a whore. It wasn't uncommon for her to tell me that she never even wanted me, it was my adoptive Dad that wanted me, he divorced her and now she's stuck raising me.

Related Read: Is Maternal Narcissism more prevalent in Adoption?

Then on the other side of the token I was told a lot I was "chosen" and that I was "better than" my adoptive siblings (her biological children) so that set me up for failure immediately. She had this whole idea of who I should have been as a child, a person but I never did fit the bill for that in reality so I was just a huge disappointment. In my teen years I had what I know now to truly be an identity crisis.

The mental abuse the verbal abuse as well as the physical abuse got worse with adoptive monster. I began to self harm by cutting myself with razor blades or anything sharp. I would beat the tops of my hands with hammers or anything heavy. I attempted suicide a couple of times and began to use drugs and alcohol at 15 years old. I went to psychiatrists a lot and mental rehab a few times being labeled as schizophrenic, bipolar with borderline personality disorder.

My Adoptive Mother would never miss a chance to say I was adopted and my behavior was probably due to my biological mother drinking and doing drugs when she was pregnant with me. In a nutshell this woman was just cruel and unusual. I ended up pregnant at 16 years old and kept my child. Adoption was never an option to me being a product of adoption and knowing how it felt to "not be wanted" which adoptive Mother told me frequently. My adoptive mother moved out of state and left me homeless when I was 6 months pregnant, taking everything I had got at the baby shower for my soon to be born child. The father and I had to go and buy everything second hand to have even a bed for the baby to sleep in after he was born. I turned 18, 4 months after my son was born. My Adoptive Mother came to visit me for my 18th birthday and visit her grandson for the first time. She literally kidnapped my son..she got on a plane and left with him back to where she was living and then wouldn't answer the phone for 3 weeks when I would call her to find out what the fuck she was doing.

I ended up having to move from AZ to UT to be with her to get my son back. About 6 months after I moved to UT she, my son and I moved to Idaho where my adoptive Father lived. I hadn't spent much time with him since I was 7 so we didn't waste time seeing each other and spending time together, he, myself, my son and my step Mom. Adoptive Mother didn't like that so she then called CPS on me making up lies to try to get my son taken away. She did that 4 times over the course of 5 years when she wouldn't get her way, the last time being on 1998 when she told CPS I and my male friends sexually abused my son, I starved him, I hung him from the ceiling by a belt, but thankfully she walked in in time and saved his life.

I mean outlandish shit this psycho would come up with.

Of course with all the allegations CPS had to investigate every single time and every single time the allegations were unsubstantiated and the cases were closed. I didn't talk to her for some years after the 1998 incident.


In November 2003 I found my biological Mother the old fashioned way without Ancestry DNA. We met in person on my 28th birthday in 2004. I learned I have 2 older brothers a bunch of uncles and cousins and an Aunt. I flew to Memphis, TN where she still lived and met her and close to 50 family members. I was 6 months pregnant with my youngest son at the time and my Mom had a baby shower for me the the 2nd day I was there. We both were very guarded but so thankful to meet and be near each other for those 4 days. Being surrounded by family 99% of the time we didn't get much one on one time without everyone else being around. I think we both wanted to be alone to talk and bond, but didn't know how to say that out loud to each other.

My Adoptive Mother then said "Well, you've found your REAL family now, so all of us that raised you are just your FAKE family."
My adoptive mother was pretty miffed when I found my biological Mom. She tried at first to sound interested and be supportive but that soon gave way to her normal narcissistic tactics that I know so well. When I told her about our first phone conversation she immediately became defensive and asked me why I didn't ask her why she intended to "leave me in a dumpster" if my adoptive parents didn't take me. She wanted me to ask why my biological mother tried to "abort me" 3 times to no avail.

I told adoptive mother that none of that mattered to me and my biological mother explained to me that she wanted me but couldn't afford me. My Adoptive Mother then said "Well, you've found your REAL family now, so all of us that raised you are just your FAKE family" she's just a cruel bitch! I learned then to not really discuss my biological Mother and family AT ALL with her. She never asked anything, so I never told her anything.

When my youngest son was born 3 months after meeting my biological Mom in person, she knew adoptive Mom was coming from out of state to be with me when I brought the baby home. It wasn't my idea for her to do that, she literally invited herself and I couldn't say no. Anyhow, biological Mom sent my adoptive Mom a beautiful card and thanked her for raising such a wonderful daughter and taking care of me when she couldn't and sent her a grandparents photo album along with the card as a gift. I gave it to adoptive Mom, she read the card, rolled her eyes and didn't say a word, just threw the card and the gift in her suitcase.

In 2005, 15 months after having met my Mom, she died from a reoccurrence of breast cancer. She was re-diagnosed in May of 2005 and was dead in August of 2005. I did get to go and spend a week with her on the hospital about 3 weeks before she died. I promised her I would be back and bring my youngest son that she hadn't met in person yet when she got better and we able to go home. When we hugged good bye I told her I loved her for the first time ever and she let out an agonizing cry as if she had waited my whole life to hear those words from my mouth. We held each other and cried and cried and she told me she loved me too. She died 3 weeks later.

I went to her funeral a week after she died and it almost took an army to get me away from her casket and out of the cemetery. I stayed for hours after the service was over and the funeral and cemetery guys thankfully knew my circumstances and let me stay as long as I needed. My biological brother was there with me and was so sweet to give me the time and all the privacy I needed to be with her casket before they lowered her in the ground. I have never cried so much in my life. I was angry, I was hurt, I was devastated, depressed, every emotion you could think of is what I was.

The next day my oldest biological brother took me on a little journey around Memphis. We started at what used to be the hospital in which I was born and he drove me to all the houses I would have lived in had I come home in 1976. He took me to where we would have been babysat and by the schools I would have went to. It was a very sweet thing, but heartbreaking at the same time. I was just numb and deeper into my adoption fog I went.

My adoptive mother and I pretty much never talked about my biological Mom and family again. I didn't grieve the loss of my mother because I didn't feel I had the right. I barely knew her. I know now I was more than entitled to grieve her even more so than those who knew her their entire life. Fast forward to 2017. DNA tests were a hot thing. I decided to do one which I got free from 23andme as part of a depression and DNA study. I decided to search for my biological father. When I spoke to my Mom for the first time she told me my father's name was Billy Wayne Anderson, he was a customer in the bar she worked at in 1975. He was a lot older than her and married. They would have sexual relations here and there, it wasn't a relationship of any sort, just sex. She said she told him she was pregnant, he more or less said that wasn't his problem and she never saw him again.

So in August of 2017 I sent in my DNA kit and anxiously awaited the results. I was hoping to at least find siblings since I expected my father to be long ago passed since if my Mom's math was correct he would have been close to or in his 90's. My results came in and I had nothing closer than a 2nd cousin which I couldn't get any response from. So in December of 2017, I ordered an Ancestry test during the black Friday sale. I sent my sample back in the same day my test kit arrived. In the meantime I joined FB groups and learned a lot about how to read the centimorgans and how to do the research to find family using public trees, obituaries, etc. Dec. 26, 2017 my results came in around 10PM. I was hoping for a close family match but found 1st cousins that appeared to be all on my Mom's side. I recognized a lot of the names except one. I checked our shared matches and we shared one that matches with a 1st cousin i had met when I met my Mom in 2004. So I felt pretty defeated. This unrecognized name had a very public tree though with over 4,000 people on it! Then it occurred to me in both databases with both DNA companies I didn't match with one person by the last name of Anderson. Maybe my Mom was mistaken on the name???

So, I took a break from the DNA until February of 2018, my Mom's brother tested and showed up as "close family" which was cool to see. I had a bit of anxiety when I first tested kinda of psyching myself out thinking what if the Mom I found wasn't my Mom etc, since we didn't have the DNA proof back then, but her brother and my cousins showed that I found the right Mom! Anyhow, laying in the bed one night, asleep I woke up out of a dead sleep and told myself to look at my uncle's shared matches and see if the unknown 1st cousin matches him, if she doesn't, she has to be the niece of my unknown Father. I checked the shared matches and in fact they didn't. So now I had to write a generic message on Ancestry and send to this unknown cousin. I did send a message on April 2, 2018. I just basically said I was interested in seeing how we were related and to please get back to me. I waited a month and no response although I could tell she'd logged on to Ancestry a couple of times.

Within that time I built a mirror tree using her public tree and narrowed down my Father to her Father's side of the family, then FB stalked those uncle's and came up with the pic of a man that was my male twin. I could barely look at the picture because I was creeped out by seeing myself in his face. I reached out to the cousin again Ancestry and gave her my email address and asked her to please contact me there because Ancestry messaging was unreliable. She immediately emailed me and I dropped the "I'm adopted" bomb, explained a bit of my story, not real heavy and detailed, and asked if she'd help me. The next day she responded that she thinks her Uncle is my Dad and he wants to talk to me on the phone. She gave me her phone number, I immediately called her, we talked for about an hour and I gave her my phone number to give to her Uncle.

He called an hour later with all sorts of questions. He remembered my Mom, said she didn't tell him she was pregnant. They were in a relationship, he had his 1st back surgery in Nov. 1975, was in the hospital for a month. He tried calling her, he tried finding her when he got out of the hospital to no avail. He never saw her again. He wondered why she just up and disappeared, but now he knows why. He said she was a bit promiscuous so it sounds like she wasn't sure who my Father was so rather than tell each of her partners that she was pregnant she just sold me to my adoptive parents. We hit it off immediately on the phone. I sent him pictures and he knew immediately I was his.

We literally are twins...literally. I was born 3 days before what would have been his 25th birthday. He wasn't older than my Mom, he wasn't a customer at the bar she worked at, I wasn't the product of an affair. So we aren't sure where she came up with that story, but it doesn't matter. We met in person July of 2018, he came to visit again for a whole month in August/Sept of 2018 and then I went and spent 3 months with him in TN the beginning of this year and now I'm moving to TN the end of this month. I have a sister that is one year younger than me and everyone has accepted me with open arms... expect Dad's wife whom is a narcissist as well. He ended up leaving her on November of 2018 because of the way she treated me when we all met in July. That's a whole different story!

Adoption Trauma Research

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