Hope itself is a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords; but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain. -Samuel Johnson
So I had embraced the science–DNA genetic research and testing as a tool to reveal or predict health risks. Everybody was doing it. I jumped on the band wagon. Why not?
I had also embraced the technology side of things. The world-wide interweb was my friend. My silent partner. My lifeline, if you will.
I was sure Margaret was relieved not to have heard from me for more than 2 decades and I wasn’t about to try to reach out to her again, but I still had questions. What about my birth father? I was pretty sure that Margaret was the only person who knew who he was. But I knew Margaret wasn’t about to give up that information. I knew Margaret had no other children, but what if I had siblings on my father’s side? And what about Margaret’s siblings–my aunts and uncles–some of whom were closer to my age than Margaret’s?
Thanks to the internet–that wondrous gem of technology and my personal lifeline–I was able to keep track of Margaret’s whereabouts–not in a stalker kind of way–more like a “lets-see-what-she’s-up-to” once a year kind of way. I was keeping hope alive. The internet also made it easy to find Margaret’s siblings. She had 4 half-siblings–I knew this from the non-identifying information. Over the 2 decades since I had received the non-identifying puzzle pieces, I had been able to roughly put the pieces together. Facebook made it even easier to find them. I found them easily, but I was actually terrified to reach out. I knew how Margaret felt and that scared me. I wondered how they felt, or if they even knew about me. How much did they know? How close were they to Margaret? How would they react if I did reach out? Would they even believe such a story?
As I waited for the health results from 23andMe, I crafted a way to reach out to the siblings. It was also a rogue attempt to reach out to the world wide web to see if anyone would be able to help me find my birth father. A focused rogue attempt. I got the idea from the internet, of course. There was a growing trend of using social media to find people. People were “advertising” for all sorts of reasons: missing persons, locating people after natural disasters or after terror attacks, and there seemed to be a growing trend of adoptees and birth parents searching by posting pictures and pleas for assistance that pulled desperately on heartstrings.The power and reach of social media was undeniable. Like a cheesy 80’s shampoo commercial . . . I told two friends; and they told two friends, and so on, and so on . . . (okay, so I’m dating myself with that one).
As I said, my attempt was quite focused. I figured if anyone knew anything about my birth father, it would be Margaret. And perhaps her siblings. Margaret was not on Facebook, but most of her siblings were. With the mention of her name and circumstances of my birth right out there in Facebook, someone would have to connect. Maybe they had information–maybe they knew things about Margaret and even my birth father! Maybe the door would be opened so that Margaret and I could finally connect. I had no delusions about a relationship, but I still had hope for answers.
So, I prepared my social media plea, which included the photos that appear in my header for this blog, along with a simple plea requesting help in finding my birthfather. I disclosed my date of birth, location of birth (California Institute for Women in Chino), my birthmother’s name (that would get the attention of Margaret’s siblings, for sure) and some other incidentals that would pretty much leave no doubt in the siblings’ minds that I was legit. I posted it in July. I simultaneously sent friend requests to the siblings who were also on Facebook. That way, they were sure to see my post.
It worked. The siblings accepted my friend requests . . . and I started a meaningful conversation (via e-mail) with one of Margaret’s sisters. I was hopeful. They had known nothing about me (my post on Facebook was how they found out about me). And Margaret’s sister made it perfectly clear that Margaret was still not open to contact and really had no interest in discussing the “situation” (past or present) with them (or me!). I wasn’t surprised. But I was still hopeful.
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. -Albert Einstein