Everyone has a different definition of what a family is, but it’s usually split into two — family is blood or family is a choice. However, Mark Macdonald and Rachel Elliott, a brother and sister, who found each other after being separated, have found a new meaning for the word that is richly layered between both complex worlds.
Everything Started When Mark Was Placed for Adoption
Mark knew he was adopted as a newborn and after getting married to his wife, Tina, the new family tried to have children but soon realized that their only way would be through adoption or surrogacy.
MacDonald opens up about how being adopted made him feel isolated from the world just for the fact he’s disconnected from humanity’s family tree and he selfishly wanted to have his own biological children. This was his way of connecting with the rest of the world and seeing his place.
In Search of His Roots and Connecting with a Long-Lost Sister
Mark is now residing in Oregon but was born in Canada and began searching for his birth mother. He soon learned that he had three more, full-blooded siblings from the same parents. Of all the new family members, his sister, Rachel Elliott really opened up a whole new chapter for MacDonald.
After tons of emails and a lifetime of stories, Mark traveled to meet his biological family but mostly it was about meeting his newfound sister. She immediately wanted to be a surrogate for Mark and Tina but was afraid that the couple might reject the offer. Time passed and Rachel traveled to visit his brother and made her offer.
The Immediate “Yes”
Despite being worried about such a proposition and preparing a whole speech that just didn’t work out and she just stumbled the word out of her mouth, Rachel got an immediate positive response.
The carrying sister admits how nervous she was but the “instant yes” was the best feeling, sitting around their dinner table, “grinning like idiots in the aftermath.”
Writing a Book Inspired by the Newborn Twin Girls
The brother and sister collaborated on writing a book, Love and Genetics, that took more than a dozen years and tells the remarkable story of how Elliott carried Mark’s twin girls, Aly (Alaska) and Zoe who are 13-years-old now.
The brother and sister wanted to put a positive story of hope and help other adoptees who are struggling with adoption reunion. A lot of questions come to mind, like what will you find, will you be ready, what new responsibilities may there be, what will your adoptive family think, and will their feelings be hurt by you even looking…?
None of these are easy to answer, but to MacDonald and his family, they were worth exploring and are open to the public on their Love and Genetics: A true story of adoption, surrogacy, and the meaning of family by Mark MacDonald and Rachel Elliott.