On December 30, 1973, I was born Holly D. Trexler to an eighteen year old young woman in Cleveland, Ohio. On March 5, 1975, I was permanently placed into the home of my adoptive family and my name was changed to Megan A. Collins.
I have always known I was adopted. My mother spent endless hours reading to me from books that explained what adoption was and how I was chosen. I spent my life believing that I was given up for adoption out of love and a blessing to my adoptive family. I have lived a wonderful life, one that many dream of. My childhood version of my biological family was much like the movie Annie. They adored me but just couldn’t raise a child for financial reasons.
When I was twenty-five, I received a four-page letter titled “background information.” It was that day that I read “this was not a consensual relationship, your mother had crossed paths with her best friend's brother on an out of state trip.” It took a moment to digest, I fell to the floor and sobbed. Moments later, all of the questions that came from the information became more consuming than the original search.
I spent the next twelve years in search of the woman who had endured this horrible crime. I would like to say that I cannot relate in any way to what she had gone through. However, in the spring of 1989, I too was raped. I do understand wanting to forget the past, but I know that there is no way to forget this no matter how hard you try to pack it in a box and hide it away. It is always there.
I am able to write my story today and have three intelligent, well spoken, amazing children because I was not aborted. I am part of the 1% conceived by rape who are spoken of the rape exception debate that is in the news so frequently these days.
I am a firm believer in a woman’s right to do with her body whatever she chooses to do as long as it does not harm her in any way. This contradicts the part of me that screams out internally: rape-conceived children have the same ability to become leaders as any other child. Furthermore, we have the ability to empathize where it seems some do not.
I am a firm believer in a woman’s right to do with her body whatever she chooses to do. Let choice be choice, that’s it and if that choice means to continue with the pregnancy, let there be the facts given to the adoptive families so that they too can make their choices. Extensive medical history, not just a blurb like cancer was in the family. I know this already by my own diagnosis, what we need, dare I say deserve, is genetic markers, types, more thorough information. Let’s not protect the identity of the rapist, to benefit whom? Certainly not myself. I am not here to argue Roe v. Wade and I may be the minority of the 1% that believes in the right to choose and is also pro-life. The irony in this could begin hours of conversation.
The events that took place have taken me many years to accept and grieve. In the last five years I have witnessed the faces of those shocked by the facts of my conception. I have been publicly called a "monster's daughter" and faced the side of humanity that condemns the easiest target.
Up until March of 2012, I was a woman torn by the unknown, my marriage fell apart two weeks after the phone call I made to my biological mother. I had spent the 15 years with my former husband, consumed with the finding of the facts and it was a burden our marriage could not endure.
I, by nature, am always looking for the light in the darkness. However, I had hit the wall that could not be detoured around or broken through. My pursuit of happiness was stopped before it could begin.
I had cancer at the time and had endured four surgeries in five years for various illnesses. My family, my children and my spouse had endured years of testing and no answers. It became a burden to everyone in my circle.
I decided to call my biological mother and request the medical information. I had sent her a letter months prior with no response. That phone call sent me into a spiral of anger, grief and true suffering. I spent night and day searching for answers to how I could be excluded from the information that directly affects one person, me.
To my knowledge, the man who did this has never been advised of my existence nor been held accountable for the crime he committed. I am not afforded access to my family medical history that as a cancer patient, I can assure you would have been most comforting and greatly appreciated. However, he is given the luxury of not knowing I was conceived. It is hard for many to understand why I would want to know the man who raped my biological mother and I hope that this will clear some of the questions up.
The nurture given to me by my adoptive family has created the woman I am today but I am lacking the truth of my lineage and it is a part of me despite how it came to be. I know one side but my paternal side has been essentially stolen from me. I, as many, deserve to know where I originate, even if it is just the family name or the country of ancestral origin.
In the United States of America, during the horrible times of slavery, slave owners could not take the lineage from the slave. Which means you are who you are. Simple. You could have everything stripped from you except for this. It is a human right to know where your family comes from. It gives you the ability to retain a small portion of who you are.
You have a link to your past and can go back and search as far back as you have the time, money, and effort to do so. It may seem inconsequential to most people, but I assure you, if you have sick children or you are sick, any bit of information can mean progress. It means spending less time guessing with your doctors. Time is a gift; for a cancer patient, it is THE gift.
It is time for this nation to collectively acknowledge that there is no stigma from rape. As a child and now adult conceived in rape, I carry no genetic detriment from my conception that would cause me to be a monster. I did however receive a genetic trait that has caused me to be ill for the majority of my life.
The hours my parents have spent searching for the disease that consumes their daughter's body should have been spent doing a myriad of other things. My hope is that no young man or woman will ever have to endure searching for years only to find that they come from rape. It is my hope that we can prepare these children to be well-adjusted, healthy adults that give to the world what the world is missing.
Preparation for life is part of raising children; adoptive parents deserve the tools needed to prepare and protect their children. Give rape-conceived children the ability to process who they are by giving them the facts that they deserve.
I am neither a monster's daughter nor am I responsible for the horrible event that became the beginning of my life. I should not carry the weight of the crime I did not commit.
My name is Megan A. Collins, I am rape conceived and I should be afforded the right to my own history. This is my story.
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