It’s been over a year since I’ve been here on the blog and for that, I apologize. I realize that you’ve not lost much sleep over it, and that’s okay with me, but I also know that I’VE needed it. It’s been a period of all kinds shifts and hermitudes. I know that’s not a word, but see how I’ve kept typing? This is me letting go.
In this past more than a year, I’ve learned more new things about myself than I can impart, and the process is ongoing. I’m here now to put down my thoughts on how gains and losses can happen so very quickly. I’ve been researching the effects adoption has had on my life for the past few years. There have been many “a-ha!” moments in which I realized that many of my traits were less about me being a screw up and more about me being a part of a larger group of people who have such similar experiences. So many shared traits. I have seen the support of my family and friends in doing what they can to push for legislation that will FINALLY allow me access to my original Ohio birth certificate. There are so many of us who will have the information that many of our countrymen have had at any time they wanted, yet we have been denied. I thought this day would never come, but it will be here on March 20, 2015 and I will never forget this day.
As I’ve been waiting this past year out, from the time the law was passed to the future date of March 20th, I’ve been riddled with anxiety and excitement all at once. I can’t say it’s been an easy ride for my family, bless them. For Christmas, The Colonel put together some lovely “De-funk the Funk” themed gifts. He’s the best gift-giver I’ve known, but he outdid himself with one of them. It still brings tears to my eyes as I type this. Even knowing what it was for a month, because the company does nothing to hide it’s name on packages (even when marked as a gift) and I was the one to get the mail, I was speechless upon opening that present Christmas Day. I had received a DNA kit from Ancestry.com. I’m not joking, I cried and couldn’t speak for at least 10 minutes. I took the test and mailed it in. And then I waited. I knew it said it wasn’t likely to come back with any results for 6-8 weeks, but it didn’t stop me from checking in weekly. At some point, I found out it had been received and they had begun the process. Again, please wait. One morning I checked the site. Nothing. That afternoon I checked my email…and there was a message from Ancestry. My test results were in. I briefly considered waiting for The Colonel to get home to open it together, and quickly knew he’d understand.
Wait, I’m SCANDINAVIAN? And Irish? Okay, I’d have never guessed! In learning about this kit, I had decided that, should it not come up with relatives, I’d at least be happy to know my ethnicity. I mean, knowing I’m German, Polish, and African was great, but I knew there was more to the story and I surely wanted to know it! But…I had cousin matches. A LOT of them. Hold up. A second cousin? That’s pretty close! And she’s brown? That meant we were (most likely) related on my birth dad’s side. I know a little bit about birth mom’s side of the family (and I mean very little), but bDad has been a complete mystery! I’m leaving a fair amount out now, but the quick story is that I contacted a handful of matches and then had to wait to hear from them. Would they be willing to talk to me? To help me learn about who I am?
Then, late in the evening, the night before Valentine’s Day, I received an Ancestry message that said something to the effect of, “…your description of your birth father sounds like my brother…” Are you flipping kidding me?! No. Way. Emails have flown back and forth and I have found family that I never thought I’d know. In the same day that I found my birth father, I also lost him. He had passed away some years ago. But his sister, my aunt, and I share so much in common! I also found and lost a sister, another aunt, and a grandmother. There is still the unknown of my bdad’s father, but so much has been filled in for me. I still have so many questions yet to be answered, but I’m also learning so much. I’ve seen someone, other than my kids, who looks like me. I’ve spoken to someone so like me in interests and personality that I feel as though someone is spying on me and is catering their interests to mine, yet I know that’s not the case.
It’s all so surreal and, in the end, it makes me appreciate the loving support of my family even more. I’ve not been made to feel guilt about wanting to know more about myself, like so many others have. My family has been excited right along with me as I’ve shared what I’ve learned. I’m sad that I’ll never get to speak to my father. I’m glad that I now have even more of a legacy to share with my kids, one that comes from those who raised me and another that is based in genetics. I now have a history that extends beyond the day I came home to my (adoptive) family. There is just so much….