Heartened

The whole kit & doodle!

It has been a rather short journey, all things considered

Timeline –

“Sometime” 1993: Requested non-id from agency
“Sometime” 1993: Attended a few adoptee support meetings
“Sometime” 1993: Was convinced (read: manipulated, guilted, etc.) to not search for birth family and stupidly, I went along with it
“Sometime” between 1993 and 1998: Lost copy of non-id from agency
December 6th, 2005: Joined adoption.com
December 7th, 2005: Made my first blog entry
January 3rd, 2006: Sent in new request for non-id
January 10th, 2006: Sent in registration to IARMIE and ISRR
January 25th, 2006: Received info from IARMIE
February 16th, 2006: Received a copy of my non-id
March 16th, 2006: For the first time in my life, I spoke to not one, but TWO people who share my DNA!!!

Yes, dear readers, I spent yesterday evening on the phone with my sisters J and R. (Since we haven’t talked about blogging, etc. yet, I don’t want to share names until I have their permission – sorry!)

I’m sorry I made you wait almost 24 hours to hear about it, but I really needed time to process everything I learned. I still haven’t done that, but I’m at least a whole lot calmer and less prone to fits of bouncing off the walls in excitement. LOL

So first – it was good. No rejection, no “nightmare come true,” no “we don’t want you,” none of that. Second, and equally important, I learned that our mother died in 1998. I still haven’t figured out quite how I feel about that beyond a very selfish sadness that I won’t ever have the chance to know her, to talk to her, to share our lives, our history, our secrets. I feel the loss of the answers she could have provided. I guess I don’t yet “know” her enough through my sisters and brothers to feel the loss of who she was quite yet. I expect that to change. J & R are very “sharing” people, willing to talk about anything it seems, so I don’t doubt that I’ll get to know our mother through their eyes and experiences. I am very much looking forward to that. I also learned that the man whose name my mother listed as my father passed in 1995. However, the physical/social background listed on my non-id doesn’t match him at all. My sister R has a different father from the rest of our siblings – she doesn’t know enough about him to be able to “recognize” him in my non-id. But R and I look the most alike one another, so it is possible that we share the same father. If that’s the case, he is alive – but totally denied any contact with R when she was in her 20’s. R and I joked on the phone about showing up on his doorstep together some day in the future and saying “Hi dad, we’re your daughters.” LOL

The truth is, I don’t much care about my paternity. It also seems unimportant to J & R. The fact that we share a mother seems to be enough. I did, however, suggest to both of them that a siblingship DNA test might be in order since our mother didn’t tell anyone about me. I don’t want there to be any doubt in their mind or in mine about our kinship. So I told them I’d gladly pay for the testing and suggested that R and I be the ones to be tested. That will definitely establish maternity and let us know if she and I have the same father. If we do, cool. If not, that’s cool, too – if need be, J and I can have our DNA done for paternity as well, if we get curious. But like I said, paternity doesn’t seem to be particularly important to any of us.

R and I are “dead ringers” for each other. I also look a lot like my mom. And there’s a picture of one of the nieces from when she was about 12 I think – it looks so much like me at that age, it’s scary. I can also see myself in my sisters J and S.

I should probably tell you about “the players”:

S is my oldest sister – she is going to be 47 in two days. (Aren’t I a neat birthday present? LOL)
J is the next oldest – she is 45 and her birthday is just 11 days after mine!
C is my oldest brother – he is 44
R would be my next oldest brother – he would be 43 but he died in, I think, 1986.
T would be the next oldest brother – he would be 40 but he died in 1972
R is my next oldest sister – she is 37 and her birthday is just 5 days before mine!
E is my next oldest brother – he is 35 and was actually adopted by an aunt in the family
Then there’s me.

In addition to all of us, there are assorted spouses, children, aunts and uncles, etc. HUGE family! HUGE! I told R she needed to draw me a map at some point. LOL She was very excited because they have a family reunion in July and wants me to be there. She was kind of complaining we live too far apart – they’re in VA, but I told her I have NO problem traveling. I plan on making as many trips down there as I can and will happily fly them up here whenever possible.

I spent almost 2 hours on the phone with J and then another 2 hours with R. Calling J was a bit awkward. I initially told her I was trying to do genealogical research and wanted to speak with JL (our mom). She said something that I didn’t hear because my phone kind of cut out, so I’m rambling and she says, “I said, ‘she’s dead!’” Ooops. “Uh…er…um…er…” Fortunately, she asked me something like, “what type of genealogical research are you trying to do?” Time to fish or cut bait, I realized, so I blurted it all out. I don’t even know exactly what I said. She really seemed to take it all in stride. We started comparing notes, talking about what I knew, medical stuff, etc. She asked if I had a picture, so I sent her a bunch. She told me I looked a lot like our sister R. Near the end of the conversation she said that they have an “Aunt D” (mom’s best friend) who, if there is anyone in the world mom would have told about me, it would be “Aunt D.” So she was going to try and reach her after she called her other sisters. She told me to expect more calls. LOL J sent me 4 pictures – some of her, R, S and of our mother. Wow. People who look like me. Wow!

J gave me tons of information about their lives growing up, the family, medical, all kinds of stuff. It was wonderful! Her husband and kids were swarming around her saying, “Ask her this…tell her that…” It was pretty funny! She seemed only marginally surprised that there was an “unknown sister” out there in the world. I think most of her surprise stemmed from the fact that our mother knew she was dying for several months and still didn’t tell any of them about me. However, knowing what I know now about the messages adoption agencies put in these women’s heads back then, I can’t say I’m particularly surprised. I doubt our mom ever thought I’d show up. I’m guessing she assumed that if I hadn’t found her by the time I was 28, I probably wasn’t going to find her at all. I’m sorry it took me another 8 years.

J said she was going to call our other sisters and “Aunt D” and we got off the phone.

About an hour later, maybe less, the phone rang again – it was my sister R. You know how you hear about birth family members just sort of “clicking”? That was R and I. I felt it with J as well, but it was more of a process over the two hour call – mostly because of how the call started, I think. With R, it seemed almost instant. Within a few minutes we were both laughing over the “weirdness” of the whole thing. We had a great conversation. We’re very much alike. Similar sense of humor, too! What was so great about talking to R was that, because she had an “unknown” father, she understood so much of what I’ve gone through as an adoptee. Finding siblings I could get along with was wonderful, finding siblings who “get it” was something I never even dared to hope for! It felt so good talking to her, it was so encouraging. I mean, we didn’t just talk about adoption stuff – we compared notes about what our pregnancies were like, labor, talked about our kids, husbands and ex-husbands, etc. It was like suddenly meeting a new friend who you knew you could share every single secret with.

One of the best things, though, was the way she kept using words like “sister” and “our”. Do you know what I mean? Inclusive family terms, including me in them. Wow.

By the end of the call we were laughing about the awkward “what next” question hanging in the air. Like, how do you hang up with someone in this situation? The usual “talk to you later” seems so NOT fitting. We both felt it, and both laughed about it – and both knew WHY we were laughing. So our solution was to share our “personal communication styles.” She noted that she’s bad about making phone calls, I said I’m the same way. We both said we like emailing, though I don’t think she has a computer at home, only at work. She gave me both her home and cell numbers and we both said “call anytime.” It was cool, very very cool.

I’m not sure what comes next. I sent J & R a link to the site that sells siblingship kits so they could look it over. Once I hear back, I’ll order a kit for R and I. It’s pretty quick – once you submit your kit, it only takes them 5 days to produce results. I think J was surprised I suggested doing this, but I explained about the scammers in the world and I really feel this is best for everyone’s peace of mind, especially since our mother isn’t alive to confirm everything for us. I was just glad they weren’t offended by the idea. R thought it was a great idea, too!

So that’s where I am today. One day into reunion with what I’m sure is my family. About the only way they are NOT my family is if someone totally posed as JL, used her name, her details, all her information and gave birth to me. Believe me, that is highly doubtful. The only way that would be even remotely possible was if it was one of JL’s sisters – we all look way too much alike. Very unlikely.

In any event, we’ll know soon enough!

I’m feeling very happy, very excited, very eager. Still processing everything I learned, but there is plenty of time for that now!

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March 17, 2006 - Posted by | Adoption Void

6 Comments »

  1. How great! Sorry to hear you won’t be able to meet your mother, and you’re not selfish at all, that’s a big loss. Congrats!

    Comment by Bamboo | March 17, 2006 | Reply

  2. me again!

    wow! contact and acceptance . . . what more could you ask for? i am sooo excited for you.

    it would have been nice to be able to meet your mother . . .i guess some things aren’t meant to be. but like you said, you will get to know her through your siblings.

    Comment by Anonymous | March 17, 2006 | Reply

  3. Great News! I am so excited for you. I know it’s hard that you won’t get to meet your mother, but like you said, you do have your siblings to help you get to know her.

    Can’t wait to hear more….

    Comment by sue | March 17, 2006 | Reply

  4. Wow! So much happening on these blogs since I last looked. I am so happy and sad about your post. So, so glad you found siblings and acceptance and lots of info! So sad you mother has passed. I do hope you gets lots of info about her from your siblings. Amazing how quickly this can happen when a search is begun.

    Comment by speakingformyself | March 18, 2006 | Reply

  5. I am so so happy for you… I don’t think that people who have never experienced this… can even begin to FATHOM what it’s like to have the pieces of your life come to together like this.

    I hope this is the beginning of deep and meaninful healing for everyone…

    Comment by Manuela | March 19, 2006 | Reply

  6. So glad you have found family and they have been welcoming.

    Comment by kim.kim | March 20, 2006 | Reply


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