Heartened

The whole kit & doodle!

DNA Testing – A change in plans

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I asked my sisters to do DNA testing with me. This is best, I believe, for all our sakes. I want us to KNOW. I don’t want there to be doubts floating around in our heads, impacting our relationships down the road. This is too important for there to be any mistakes. My one sister (J) told my other sister (R) that she is afraid to become emotionally invested in a relationship with me without knowing for sure. I GET that so completely, and fortunately, R told her that I get it. I guess J was worried that I’d think I was unwanted because she isn’t calling me everyday. R reassured her that I’m not thinking that at all and again stressed that I truly understand the need to protect her heart. I’m the same way. And quite frankly, if the tables were turned, I’d be reacting exactly as J is!

I care about this too much to leave it to chance. (A note to mom who can read this from “The Everafter”: Mom, this all would have been easier if you had told the kids about me before you died. I love you, I hope you don’t let fear be your guiding star your next time through life!)

Anyway, so I had been looking online for “home siblingship” DNA tests. Found a bunch with prices all over the place. Cheapest was $180 for two siblings to be tested. I began doing research. An “absolute must” when choosing a DNA lab is to ensure they are accredited by the AABB (American Association of Blood Banks). Guess what the $180 testing company doesn’t have?

Now, I’m no geneticist, but let me try and explain the DNA of siblings in very layman terms. A child gets half their DNA from one parent, half from another. But multiple children don’t automatically get the same 50% from each parent, equalling 100%. So in reality, two siblings are only likely to have 50% of their DNA match one another. This is in the case of FULL siblings (same mother and same father). I don’t have the same father as my sisters. J & R don’t have the same father, either. Which means we only have 25% of our DNA in common. We have the added complication of not having our mother alive to be tested as well. So our sibship study has to be pretty intensive in order to give us accurate results.

I’m not leaving this up to chance or to a potentially flybynight company. So I went to the best. Orchid Cellmark. This is the company that did DNA testing for the OJ Simpson trial, the Jon Benet Ramsey case, etc. It’s going to cost me $900 for me, J & R to all be tested. (Accuracy is higher with three children to compare.) I’m thinking that is $900 well spent, especially considering I was willing to spend that much (and more) just to find them. Since I didn’t have to spend that kind of money on the search, I have it to spend on the test.

I’ve already been told that I’m insane for doing this – twice in the last 24 hours.

I disagree. I think it is worth every dime.

Orchid Cellmark has already opened a “case file” for us. My sister R and I called them together last night so she could give them hers and J’s contact info. Once I pay the fee (sending it in Monday), the lab will call each of us and schedule a time for us to go to the nearest lab they have a contract with. There is one near all of us. We will each go in, on our own, and get our cheeks swabbed. It takes them about two weeks to do the study and give us our results. I can live with that.

I truly believe these women are my sisters. R and I both “allowed ourselves” to become emotionally involved with each other. We took the risk because our instincts both say it is safe to. Honestly, I couldn’t help myself – she and I are so much alike. Plus, I’ve no doubt that under other circumstances, R and I would have been the best of friends anyway. She said, “at the very least, I’ve made a new good friend.” Exactly. But I know in my heart it is more. My heart knows these are my sisters even as my mind says “Hold up there, girl, don’t go jumping feet first!” It’s this weird dichotomy I’ve got going on in my head and heart.

Getting all metaphysical on you, here, but I really believe our mom has had a hand in making this reunion possible. I can’t really go into details because I don’t want to betray a friend but let me just say that I truly believe that there was some serious “divine mom guidance” going on, particularly in the early days of my information seeking. Too many “perfect circumstances” showed up through which I was able to glean information. I don’t believe things happen like that by chance. I believe they are deliberate.

(Yes, Mia, Abe-Hicks and ACIM too! LOL)

I’m excited about finishing the DNA studies. I think we all feel like we are sort of in limbo right now until they’re complete. I think we all need these questions answered before we can move on and start building a sibling relationship, making plans together, etc. I’m hoping it is done by Easter – we would like to drive down there for the long Easter weekend. I’m not sure we “should” unless the results are back. But we’ll see. My mind says, “be careful.” My heart says, “Wheeeeeeeeee!!”

March 25, 2006 Posted by | Adoption Void | 5 Comments

Were you there?

When I had that dream, him sitting on the bench, wearing that hat, in the towering halls – were you there, showing me what would be?

On the day I first met him, when I couldn’t help but think how cute he was – were you there, smiling, waiting to see if I would remember?

When one arm went left and the other went forward before impact – were you there, keeping me safe, protecting me as I protected them?

When they stopped and took me with them – were you there, calming my fears, keeping me steady?

When I got on the bus – were you there, knowing where it would lead?

When I pretended I was in pain so he wouldn’t touch me – were you there, helping him believe my lie, keeping me safe?

When she talked me into moving – were you there, guiding my steps, calling me home to where you began life?

When I saw him again and thought “this will never be” – were you there, knowing some day she would stand beside me at our wedding?

When we talked about why it would never work – were you there, chuckling silently, knowing what we did not yet know?

When I went home with him – were you there, knowing as Linda knew where this would lead?

When he knelt on the bed and asked me to share my life with him – were you there, smiling your approval?

When he brought out “that hat” – were you there, giggling about the beautiful trick you had played with my dreams and his reality?

When the towers fell – did you help me stay asleep just a few minutes more, trying to spare me the fear and pain I would find on the phone and TV?

When I married him among family and friends – were you there, hidden in a beam of sunlight, knowing why we were giggling after he raised my veil?

When he danced with his mom to (click to hear the song)“Its your song” – were you there, wishing you could dance, too?

When I finally wrote (again) for my non-id and sent in my registry information – were you there, waiting anxiously to see if I could put it all together?

When I sat here all those endless nights, pouring through databases – were you there, trying to point me to the missing link?

When I went to the library and felt such disappointment about the marriage records – were you there, encouraging me to keep going?

When I was almost hopeless, sitting here late last Wednesday night, plugging your name into every site I could find – were you there, nudging me to click the link for C’s
page?

When I was so nervous on Thursday, trying to work up the courage to call J – were you there, giving me strength?

When I stumbled at the beginning of the call – were you there, urging patience on J?

As J and I talked, sharing and comparing notes – were you there, listening, saying “that’s my girls, keep going”?

When R called for the first time, and each time after – have you been there, listening, smiling that your daughter has come home, celebrating the friendship R and I share beyond our siblingship?

Are you with us, mom? Are you smiling? Are you happy to see your daughters all coming together so well? Are you hopeful? Are you pleased? Did you dream this could happen? Did you hope?

I want to believe you’ve been with me and with us, mom. I want to believe that you have stood beside me, watching and waiting. I want to believe you had a hand in my search.

I wish you had been there for all of this and so much more. I choose to believe that you have been here all along.

Like the song says:

It was your life that shined
Guiding my heart to find
This place where I belonged
It was your song

I found it, mom. Thanks for helping me find my way home.

March 22, 2006 Posted by | Adoption Void | 3 Comments

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!

March 17, 2006 Posted by | Adoption Void | 6 Comments

Damn those pins and needles

I found them.

Yes, you read that right. I found them. Last night, middle of the night, through sheer happenstance and coincidence, I found them. I found her, her new husband, her ex-husband and all her kids. It even looks like she had a baby boy about a year and a half after I was born with her new husband. Cool, a baby brother!

There are six older siblings. So if her new husband’s son is also hers, she had 8 kids, total. I think two of them died at birth or shortly thereafter. I can’t find any record of them after they were born, anywhere.

I have a phone number for one of my sisters. I’ve tried it a few times but only gotten an answering machine. I’ll keep calling until I get a real person and then try to get my mother’s phone number from her.

In the meantime, I’m sitting here on pins and needles. God, this is scary.

March 16, 2006 Posted by | Adoption Void | 6 Comments

Just Like Me

Have you seen it? Do you even know what it is? Well let me tell you about it – then I’ll tell you where to find it!

“It” is a new song/video created by Darryl McDaniels/Lovelace aka Run DMC and Sarah Mclachlan. It’s a remake/rewrite of the old Harry Chapin song, “Cats In The Cradle,” remember that?

Darryl recently did a special for VH1 about his adoption journey. Yup, he is “Just Like Me!” It is an incredible documentary. They are re-airing it several times so if you haven’t had a chance to see it, you still can. In the special, Darryl talks about how at one time in his life, he was incredibly suicidal. Listening to the song “Angel” by Sarah Mclachlan kept him going. So, when he decided to do “Just Like Me,” he reached out to Sarah and asked her to collaborate, since he felt she was a driving force in his journey. What did he learn when he contacted her? She is also an adoptee.

The song/video they created is indescribable. It’s something you just have to see for yourself. Make sure you load that in Internet Explorer, it won’t work in Firefox.

To learn more about the VH1 special, check out their website. You can even have them remind you of when it will be showing!

In the meantime – check out the video – it is so worth it!

February 28, 2006 Posted by | Adoption Void | Leave a comment

Dear mom and dad

Hi, it’s me, your daughter – writing again! I’ve decided that I’m going to blog letters to you as things come to mind. I want you to be able to see where I’ve been when we finally meet again.

I’m learning more about you everyday. I hope you will laugh with me over some of the coincidences and ironies that I’m finding as I search for you. I’m hoping that at least one of my brothers or sisters has the same appreciation of Science Fiction books, and of Robert Heinlein, because that brother or sister and I are going to have a really good laugh together when all is said and done.

I’m in something of an obsessive phase right now. You wouldn’t believe the hundreds of search strings I’ve run in the last day or two. Hundreds? Hah! More like thousands. I’m going to try and let it rest tomorrow. I need a break from my computer screen. With that said, I’ll probably be right back here in my chair first thing tomorrow morning running through the same data all over again. I mentioned I’m in an obsessive phase, didn’t I?

You are becoming more and more real to me with each passing day. Are you surprised that you haven’t been “real” until now? Probably, since I’m sure your life feels very real to you. I hope your life will feel real to me too someday. Will you let me be a part of your life again? I hope so. You have no idea how much I hope so.

I have to admit, it really bothers me that it doesn’t seem like you’re looking for me. I’ve checked every registry out there – nothing. On the other hand, a friend of mine, also a first mother, told me that she (and many like her, apparently) feel it is up to the child to come looking because the moms don’t want to intrude where they are not wanted.

You’re wanted, mom. So are you, dad. So are my brothers and sisters. You are not an intrusion, you are a welcome part of my life. A necessary part. A part I have been missing for a long time.

I’m dreaming about you. Weird dreams. I had a dream last night that we were having our first meeting. The surroundings were strange. We were meeting several months “late.” You told me you had to cancel our first meeting because you were having your appendix removed. That confused me because you apparently had it removed when you were pregnant with me. (In real life, not in the dream, but I was aware of it in the dream.) Suddenly we both started questioning if we were a match or not. I asked if you had the same mole I have, you said no. I said that was ok because I could see my own face in yours. Yup, strange dream.

We’re going to meet, you know. And it’s going to be sooner rather than later. I wonder if you can feel how close I am getting. Do you know I’ve begun looking for you? Can you feel it somehow?

I keep thinking about all these aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews I have out there. Hubby and I did the math – there could be hundreds of extended family members by now. Wow. I want to be a part of that.

It’s time for me to go to bed. I’ll see you in my dreams – don’t be late.

February 26, 2006 Posted by | Adoption Void | 3 Comments

Dear mom and dad,

Dear mom and dad,

Guess what I received today? I received a letter containing the information you provided to the agency when you placed me. Want to know what I learned?

About mom I learned:

  • You had a case of appendicitis when you were pregnant with me. Was that scary for you? Were you afraid? Did the surgery hurt? Did you recover quickly? Was your doctor good? They must have known what they were doing – after all, I got born, didn’t I?
  • I have 5 (not 6) older brothers and sisters! How many are boys? How many are girls? You were only 29, they must be pretty close to me in age, right? I miss them. I miss you.
  • You and dad were separated. You were getting ready to proceed with a divorce. You were facing severe financial problems. All of that must have been hard. I’m sorry you were having such a difficult time.
  • You are shorter than me! Thinner too, it seems. But I got your big bones, and need glasses, too!
  • You enjoyed reading and singing. I can’t (vocally) carry a tune but I read, constantly. Something else we share!
  • You got good grades in school. So did I!
  • You have 8 sisters and 1 brother. Wow! Big family! No wonder you and dad had so many kids! I’m sorry about your sister, that had to have been hard.
  • Grandma had diabetes – don’t worry, I don’t. And she was an LPN? You’re going to love hearing some coincidences about that when we meet!

About dad I learned:

  • You are 6’3” tall – now I know who I got that from!
  • You took 4 years of “special music training” and enjoyed music, electronics and were an artist. Well, music and electronics, I’ve followed in your footsteps. Somehow I missed out on the artistic stuff.
  • You were an A student. Maybe some day we can compare report cards!
  • You wore glasses, too. I suppose between you and mom, I was “doomed” in that regard. LOL
  • Your only brother died in 1970 at the age of 47. I’m so sorry for your loss. You had a rough year between your brother, the divorce and losing your daughter. I hope you’ve found happiness since then. He was also diabetic, like mom’s mom. How I managed to dodge that bullet is beyond me, but I’m glad I did!
  • You’re the baby of the family – just like me, huh?

But do you know what was the most important thing I learned from this letter? Two sentences. Two sentences which have the power to undo a world of hurt.

“Your mother needed considerable support for her plan in placing you up for adoption.”

“Your mother requested information on your adoptive family and said she was having difficulty with the separation.”

You wanted me. You really wanted me. You’ve no idea how many wounds that helps heal.

I’m here, mom and dad, I’m here. Help me find you. Please, help me find you.

Love,
Your daughter

February 16, 2006 Posted by | Adoption Void | 16 Comments

Raw and angry

I had an appointment with the eye doctor today. First exam I’ve had in several years. Loved the doctor. Since it looks like we will be permanently relocating to southern Michigan in the very near future, it will be easy for me to keep seeing this particular optometrist. Yeay! Feels like I’m putting down roots again.

Since this was my first visit, I had to fill out the usual patient registration forms. Get down near the bottom of the page – “Any familial history of…” -sigh– Pick up the pen and draw a line through it all and write, “no familial history available, patient is adopted.”

Nice doctor brings me back to the exam room. We spent a good 15 minutes just talking about my vision and the potential for my high blood pressure to impact my vision. I think it is the longest I’ve ever spent just TALKING to a doctor of any kind, let alone an optometrist. I explained how it has felt like my eyes have to “settle” before I can really focus on anything, and how much that has been bothering me. Also explained that this doesn’t seem to happen when wearing my prescription sunglasses. Well, it turns out that the “eye doctor mill” I went to last time gave me the wrong prescription on my regular glasses. They were too strong! All this time, I’ve been thinking I was going to need bifocals. Turns out the script was too strong. No wonder I was having such a hard time.

He then spent another 15 minutes very carefully weeding out lenses until it seemed I was seeing ok. It will take a few weeks for my vision to really improve with new lenses – I’ve “trained” my eyes to compensate for the wrong prescription for so long they have to be retrained. I also got contacts again. I’ve worn them on and off since I was 14. This last time, they just didn’t feel right. Well, yeah, duh, they were the wrong prescription too. Right now I’m sitting here typing wearing the right lenses. Mostly right – I have to pick up new ones for my left eye on Saturday because these aren’t the ones that will correct the astigmatism I have in that eye.

So anyway, needless to say, writing that “no familial history available, patient is adopted” just brings it all up to the front again. Maybe you’ve noticed from my recent blog entries – I’ve been in avoidance mode again. When I start posting about all kinds of crap that has nothing to do with my feelings (Google home pages, linky links, etc.) it is a good sign there is something I’m trying to avoid.

I’m avoiding anger. I’m avoiding that raw, vulnerable feeling. I’m avoiding how betrayed I feel by a system which still, 34+ years later, hasn’t gotten it right. I’m avoiding how angry I feel when I read really scary comments by adoptive parents who just don’t seem to have a clue. I’m avoiding how angry I feel when I encounter an adoptee or a first mother who thinks that because “they don’t have a problem” no one else should, either.

I still haven’t given my best friend T a link to my blog. I did, however, copy some of the posts and email them to him. Yes, I know, he can use Google to search out a sentence from what I sent him and find my blog – that’s ok. I’m ok with him “finding” it, just not ready to “give” it. That makes no sense. LOL Last night we were chatting on Yahoo and I told him that I really need him to promise that he’ll read them. He said he promises, he’ll read them this weekend. I love that, actually. I love that instead of glancing over them in the midst of a busy week (for him) that he’s holding off until he can devote his attention to them. I love that he gives enough of a shit to wait and really read them. I love that I mean enough to him that he wants to know how I feel. I love that I know he’ll hold my hand through this. I love that I know he’ll move heaven and earth to protect me from pain. I love that he is a safe haven.

I mentioned that his little sister is having a baby in a few weeks. So I went shopping for baby stuff. Fun! I went a little crazy. LOL Put it all in the mail yesterday with a really nice “Grandkids” picture frame for his mom and dad, along with some aroma therapy bath stuff and a Zen relaxation CD for the soon-to-be mommy and daddy. I also put in a little valentines day present for him. I used to know his address by heart, but for some reason, couldn’t remember the house number. So I called his mom to get it (he was at work). Now mind you, I “disappeared” on them for almost a year. You’d think one of them would be angry or something. Nope, mom says “Hi Heart! It’s good to hear from you!” and we chit chatted for a few about how excited she is, etc. I love his parents. I love that they care about me. I love that they never encouraged him to stop being friends with me through any of my major fuck-ups. I love that they’ve always treated me as if I’m important, as if I belong. I love that I have a rock from their garden. I love that they never thought it was weird that their son and I are best friends like so many of that generation seem to.

With T’s little valentines day present, I included a nice card I found. (Side rant: Why is it that every single “best friend” card on the market, regardless of holiday, is always one woman talking to another???? My best friend is a GUY for crying out loud, not some girlie girl!) So I was sitting here signing all the cards that were going in the package – card for mommy and daddy to be, card for grandparents to be, card for T. Card for T. -sigh– I started writing. Signed my name, thought I was done. Nope, had to write on the inside panel of the card. I don’t remember the exact words, but it went something like this:
Please don’t ever let me get away with disappearing like this again. Please don’t let me run, don’t let me hide. Please don’t let me do this. You are too important to me. I need you in my life, even when I pretend I don’t. I need both you and hubby in order to feel complete. Don’t let me walk away.

I basically went on like that for a few sentences. And before I get any snotty comments from anyone, hubby reads this blog too. There is NOTHING I would say to T that I wouldn’t want hubby to know about. Hubby knows how much I love T, how important T is to me. He also knows there is a world of difference between loving T and being in love with T. And fortunately, my husband is one of those men who realizes that love is not a finite quantity. He does not receive LESS love because someone else also receives love. If anything, he receives more – because not only do I love him but T loves him, too. So please, keep the prudish comments to yourself.

Anyway, back to what I was saying. I probably could have told T those same words over the phone, or in email or in IM – but for some reason, it felt more right to write them out by hand. They are things I need him to hear, desperately. But things I have a hard time saying. I need for him to hold onto me even when I’m trying to push away from him. (Attachment therapy, anyone?) I can’t do all of this without him. He forces me to face things I don’t want to face. I need someone who can do that for me. Left to my own devices, I bury it. I can’t keep doing that. I can’t keep running away.

Thank the gods this is a burden T has always willingly taken upon himself. And thank them again for giving me the strength to write the words begging him to not let me run again. I can trust now that he won’t. I can also trust that he’ll help hubby keep me from doing it as well. The two of them work very well together. LOL

I just feel really raw right now. My copy of my non-id still hasn’t arrived. Every morning I wait eagerly for the hotel staff to slip the letter under my door – it hasn’t happened yet. The agency said they’d get it out at the end of last week. I hope it is on the way here. I feel a strong need to hold those papers in my hands. I keep thinking I’ll find something in them that will help me find my family. Please let it be so. I need to finish this before I run away again and it is too late.

February 14, 2006 Posted by | Adoption Rants, Adoption Void | 1 Comment

A day in our life

Somewhere in the world, there are 5 or 6 adults who are probably sleeping right now, dreaming their dreams, perhaps snoring, maybe lying beside their spouses or lovers. They are my brothers and sisters.

Somewhere in the world, 5 or 6 adults probably enjoyed a Sunday afternoon, perhaps cooked dinner with their families, maybe watched a little television. They are my brothers and sisters.

Somewhere in the world, 5 or 6 adults are celebrating wedding anniversaries, or birthdays, or other milestone events periodically throughout the year. On certain dates, they probably pick up the phone and call each other to say “Happy Birthday.” At Christmas, they probably spend weeks shopping for one another and for nieces and nephews, maybe even for grandkids. They are my brothers and sisters.

Somewhere in the world, 5 or 6 adults might be sitting in front of their TVs watching the same programs I’m watching, or sitting in front of computers surfing the same sites I am. Perhaps I’ve played an online game with them at some point, who knows? Perhaps we’ve viewed websites together. Maybe we’ve even been in some of the same chat rooms or on the same discussion forums. They are my brothers and sisters.

Somewhere in the world, there are little children tucked safely in their beds, maybe cuddling a favorite stuffed animal, blanket or pillow. They may be dreaming of sugar plums or dragons, of learning to fly or of going to Disney. They are the children of my brothers and sisters. Will they ever know they have an aunt who loves them, who hopes they have beautiful lives?

We’ve looked at the same moon, enjoyed the light of the same stars. The same sun shines on us all. We’ve perhaps passed each other on an interstate, driving by without knowing that a few feet away rides someone who has the same blood flowing through their veins. Maybe we have seen the same sunrise, watched the same sunset. Walked the same streets, shopped in the same stores, saw the same sights. It’s possible we’ve sat on the same bench in the park or in the same row in a theatre. And never knew that the other has passed right by.

Do they ever dream about me? Do I show up in their dreams as they do in mine? Am I ever in their thoughts as they are so often in mine? Has one of them sat and written similar words as I’ve written here, glancing at the moon and thinking, “she sees this too.”

Think about your brothers or sisters – do you know what foods they like? When they come to visit, do you know what drinks to have on hand for them? Could you choose a present for them with confidence, knowing it is something they would enjoy? Have you had the pleasure of shopping for a gift for their baby? When something significant happens in your life, do you call your siblings to tell them? Did you come together to grieve at the funeral of a loved one? Did you argue over who got the biggest piece of cake? Do you have years of memories stored away of things you did together as children?

I don’t even know my siblings names. They look like me, our DNA is very similar, and somewhere out there is a woman who knows about all of us, knows we all exist, knows all the secrets. I only hope she reveals her secrets before it is too late for us all.

Somewhere in the world they dream, somewhere in the world I dream – maybe we can meet there.

February 13, 2006 Posted by | Adoption Void | 6 Comments

People on TV

Do you ever look at the faces of people on TV and wonder if you’re related?

I have a favorite artist. He is a photographer. His work is definitely not for everyone, but I am always moved by his pieces because I understand what is behind them. His name is Spencer Tunick. Don’t click on that link if you are uncomfortable with the idea of seeing hundreds of nude bodies in places like Grand Central Station.

Channels like HBO, Discovery, etc. have all done specials on Spencer’s “Installations.” He goes to a location and recruits people to be in his photographs. Notice that I did not say, “he recruits people to pose nude for him.” His work is not about showing nude people. He is not a pornographer. Unless you consider the naked body to be inherently sexual (which I don’t know how any parent can, otherwise we’d never bathe our babies), you will soon see there is nothing sexual about Spencer’s work.

I love his work. Fat, thin, black, white, brown, old, young, sick, healthy – everyone in between – he photographs them. Some of his installations have had thousands of participants – a sea of beautiful skin, the colors blending, as far as the eye can see.

HBO did a special, “Naked States,” about Spencer’s journey across the 48 contiguous states. I got to see it the other night. God, was it powerful. One segment in particular deeply touched me. Two women – one white, tall and thin with a closely shaved head – the other was black, short (in comparison), heavy. Both, beautiful. He had them pose standing on an American flag in the middle of a street in Boston with an empty lot full of garbage and refuse in the background. The way he had them pose together, the beauty of these two amazing women. Wow. HBO interviewed the black woman, who told a story of how she had been “jumped and raped” 6 months prior. She talked of how she felt that 90% of her self-healing came from participating in this effort with Spencer and the other woman. Listening to her speak, both when the shot was taken and then a few months later as follow-up was so powerful, so affirming. I am in awe of this woman’s quiet strength and power.

For another installation, this time in New York, Spencer had an overweight woman pose on the rocks on the banks of the Hudson. This beautiful woman spoke of how incredible the experience was, to look at her photographs and see her own beauty. It is one of many shots I want a print of for my walls.

As I watched her I thought, “she and I could be related,” because we looked a great deal alike. It makes me wonder…what if? What if that was one of my sisters? I’d be thrilled – my kinda gal, since I’d love to be in one of Spencer’s installations. She could be one of my sisters, and that is an amazing thought to me. I wish that others could understand what it is like to not know for sure.

Please don’t dismiss Spencer’s work based on anything I’ve written here. Examine it for yourself:

Spencer 1 Spencer 2 Spencer 3 Spencer 4

February 9, 2006 Posted by | Adoption Void | 1 Comment