NEWBURYPORT — Kristen Cejka was adopted in 1979 from an orphanage in war-torn El Salvador and brought to Massachusetts.
Although Cejka doesn't know much about her biological family other than that her mother was 17, and her father was 23 when she was born, in recent years she's wanted to know more.
Now almost 30, she wants to find them and do what she can to help other orphans there, so next month Cejka will make her first trip back to El Salvador to continue her search.
Now a social worker living in Newburyport, Cejka began working about a year ago to seek out her biological family after her adoptive mother, Joyce, had been pushing her to start the process. About a month and a half ago she found an organization called Pro-Busqueda in San Salvador, an association of Salvadoran families who were forced to give up their children during the civil war in the country.
"I decided now because it just made sense; it was time to do it," said Cejka. "I had wanted to get my college years done and completed without interference. Obviously this will be an emotional trip for me."
Cejka said it is unknown if she has any brothers or sisters but that it is a possibility. She said she recognizes the importance of her roots, even if they are painful and filled with trauma, she still wants to learn about her life before adoption.
"They are part of who I am," said Cejka. "Ultimately they are part of who my children are. I've always felt like documenting life is incredibly important. There is a story with my biological family before I was born. I'm certainly interested in that."
Cejka said her first American address was in Marblehead, but her mothers' work took them to Ohio for a short time before finally moving to Newburyport. But her parents never hid from her where she was really from.