Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Lost but not found

When I was found, I was almost 20 years old.    I blindly walked into reunion, expecting rainbows, ice cream cones, hugs and kisses.  I expected them all to love me, adore me, to want to know my entire life, play by play.  I was convinced they would want my precious keepsakes, like baby teeth I left out for the tooth fairy.  My blonde curls my mom cut and preserved in the family bible.  I thought reunion was going to be like "going home."  They would all understand me, think like me, and would teach me how to cook all the special secret family recipes I missed all those years. 

Meeting the families, I quickly realized something was just not quite right.    Why was everyone staring at me with confusion?  One grandma looked horrified and the other was scanning through my baby pictures to see if there was a resemblance.  That is what it looked like to me.  Then my one grandma asks for a nitro glycerin.  OK, I thought to myself, something is definitely not right, and now that grandma is popping a pill while looking at my baby pictures, its a confirmation!  

She starts to cry, something to the effect of, oh my baby, while looking at my baby pictures.   That is what I remember, I could be wrong, but it was for sure a distressed situation.  Looking back, I can now see the unspoken debate that was going on between all the adults.  My birth mom was somewhat amused, and everyone else seemed frantic, and the chaos of everyones emotions was very apparant to me.   My birth mom walked me to my car and I asked her, what is going on?  She gave me some ridiculous story that left me even more confused.   That was a long drive home, alone, with my thoughts.  For 20 years I had waited for this moment, my heart felt heavy, and I knew I wasn't getting ice cream, or cooking lessons,  the hugs and kisses didn't seem too promising.

I didnt know the truth behind my adoption, but I figured it was not going to be the truth I was told by my parents.    I heard a couple different stories, your birth  parents loved you so much but couldnt care for you.  My dad told the story of how I was picked out in the store, he'd  point to the imaginary wall and say, "This baby, no this baby" like they were shopping for a new toaster.   

I was pretty shocked when my birth mom sent me photos of herself and family,  in the mail.  I was expecting her to be a blonde, I had no idea she was part Lebanese.  She now likes to say I knew, but I did not know. I had a paper with non identifying information that really equaled nothing.

I did not receive anything from my birth dad in the mail, but I later spoke to him and we met alone.  I cannot deny the fact that I was so nervous, I was just a kid. 

The truth as I now see it, is a variation of different stories I have heard from different family members throughout the years.  My birth mom became pregnant with me.  She was dating (now confirmed) birth dad.  At some point in time, she wrote a letter to another boy she liked.  Saying something like, she didnt think his parents would allow him to marry her, so shes going to have now confirmed birth dad marry her.  But in this letter she tells this other boy, she cant wait for "Their" bundle of joy.   Probably the most disturbing story I have heard in all these years is the one my birth mom told me after we met.  She tells me her best friend came over,  she sat in boiling hot baths and used a coca cola douche, let your imagination decide what they were trying to do.

So at one point early in reunion, I went out to dinner with my birth dad, his mom and the family.  I was asked what blood type I was, at this point I really was not sure what was going on.  My birth mom has not been the most trusted source, in all these years, but she was very crafty and cunning throughout this whole ordeal.   She was smart, did not tell me the story, instead let me suffer and it took years for me to really understand completely what was going on. 

It wasn't until 2016 when my daughter somewhat forced me into doing Ancestry DNA.   She ordered the test and had it shipped to me.  Weeks went by, and I stared at that test, and finally after weeks of my daughter calling and asking me if I spit in that darn thing, I had the nerve to actually do it.  I sealed the box and dropped it off at the post office.  Then I started wondering to myself, what if my birth dad is not oneof the two men that I was told about ?  What if he's someone else, what then?  Weeks went by  and I was so anxious waiting for the results.  My daughter had already done the Ancestry DNA test and had her results.  I was driving to the grocery store and it hit me,  I can figure out the answer via her DNA results.  I went home and searched through her DNA results.  TA-DAA!    There it was, the answer to the question I have wondered about for 35 years.  

I decided to wait until my own DNA results to come in to tell anyone, even though I knew the man I had met was 100% my dad. 

Let me tell you, getting my DNA results was a  liberating moment for me.  Not knowing who fathered you for 52 years is a big deal.   I beg to differ with all those people who think I did it for revenge or some other stupid reason.  I did it for myself, I wanted to know my heritage and  I think every person should know this basic information, its their birth given right. 

OK, off my soap box!  But seriously, if it were not for modern science and DNA testing linking me to DNA matches who have extensive family trees, I would still not know the answer today.