CREATIVE. TENACIOUS. ARTIST.
My name is Andre Williams. Born in March 1994, I was brought to The Brooklyn Hospital Center (TBHC) by emergency services sometime during the day of my birth. My records indicate I arrived via EMS and insinuate I may have come in alone—my mom showing up sometime later. An investigation was conducted and after staying for ten days at TBHC due to drugs being found in my system, I was removed from the hospital and placed into foster care.
I became aware of this information only after requesting my records from TBHC around my 25th birthday. I was fostered and at age four adopted. We moved to West Virginia from New York. My adopted parents had three biological and eight adopted children. Most were older and I was and had already moved out. I really only grew up with my sister.
Growing up, I never asked questions about my biological family. Both of my adopted parents passed away before I graduated High School. After battling stage 4 cancer, twice, I wanted to know about myself. It seemed unthinkable my birth parents didn’t leave a manila envelope with my pre-adoption story and family medical history. I began the search for my biological family. I wanted to know “why?”
From the records I had, I knew my biological mother’s name was Robbin Smoke. Smoke is a rare enough name that she was easy to find. I ran a background check on her and there wasn’t any contact information or social media listed. I reviewed the list of people she might be associated with and I found a man named Steven. After searching on Facebook, I found a picture of him and he looked just like me. I stared at the photo for a solid 45 minutes.
For the first time in my life, I was looking at someone who shared my features. I later learned he is my Uncle; Robbin’s brother. I reached out to him, but had no luck making contact until I came across another family member, who was able to put me in touch with my half-sister, Sharon who is almost 20 years older than I am. She informed me our biological mother had passed away years ago and she had no clue as to who my father could be.
I discovered I have three half-siblings through my biological mom. Sharon and my brother were raided by my biological mom. My other sister, who is close to my age, was also placed for adoption. Last Thanksgiving I met all of my siblings and my uncle Steven. It was crazy being in a room with people who looked like me. Sharon gave me a picture of my biological mom and me when I was still in foster care. Apparently, she came to visit me for a little while but I don’t remember that. Everyone is excited to get to know me, but I want to take it slowly and build trust with each other.
None of my biological family has any idea who my biological father could be. And no one is able to provide me with any photos of Robbin or much info on the life she lived except that she was an addict. None of my biological mom’s friends could even remember her being pregnant around the time I was born. No one knew I existed. Many of her friends were shocked to hear I’m her son. A couple of her closest friends told me “Smoke” valued relationships and whoever my father was/is, I am not the result of a one-night stand.
Through DNA testing sites, I have reached out to matches on my paternal side, but as of yet no one has been of any help. None of them are even familiar with the last name Smoke. Responses seem to come slower and slower, and now they’ve just stopped. I’ve worked with a number of DNA Angels trying to solve this mystery of who I am.
I’d like to know his name. Is he alive? Did I get my love of singing from him? Do pictures of him exist? Does he know that I exist? Does he have other children? Does he know if everyone truly was unaware my mom was pregnant with me? Is this really just a tragic story no one wants to tell? Did it really all just go up in smoke? I want to know.