First, I have news. It’s FINALLY happening! I’m finally going to meet a member of my biological family–my father!
I know my blog and the stories about my journey that I have been sharing with you have pretty much come to a halt. I apologize for that, but a lot has been happening behind the scenes. A great amount of it has been very personal and difficult for me to process emotionally; hence, I have not been able to share it here. But I am happy to report that I’ll be meeting Jackson soon. I’ll also get to meet my half-sister and my niece. It’s a big triumph for me! I will share more about the emotional journey it took to get to this point very soon. For now I’ll tell you that I’m nervous, but Jackson has assured me that he has “open arms” and is looking forward to meeting me, as well. I will not call it a “reunion,” though, because we never even knew about each other. He didn’t even know I existed, for Pete’s sake! This will simply be a meeting of common hearts and souls.
Sadly, there has been no new news on my bio mom’s side (as expected), although I am still in contact with my aunt (my bio mom’s half-sister) and she has expressed interest in meeting and sharing information with me in the past. I need to take the initiative to contact her again–I know that I can’t let these opportunities drift by. Life is too short.
Now about the layers! Since I’ve been in contact with Jackson, together we have discovered so much about ourselves and our extended family! I recently wrote an article for Secret Sons and Daughters on the importance of sharing stories and contacting everyone and anyone that may have a connection (DNA or otherwise) in order to uncover long lost or forgotten details, secrets and even deception. If you keep sharing, you will eventually come up with something. Sometimes it’s a big deal (I found my 70-year old father that didn’t even know I existed!) and sometimes it’s just a great little tidbit of history that adds color to your story.
For example, with the help of a second cousin (found through a DNA match on 23andMe), and the helpful hints and extensive document library on Ancestry.com, we discovered that Jackson had a nephew (they didn’t know about each other) who was a handsome up-and-coming folk-singer in the early 1960’s, who married a young beauty queen and Hollywood starlet who made appearances in all of the great “Beach Party” movies of the 1960’s (including Beach Party, Beach Blanket Bingo, Muscle Beach Party and Bikini Beach). Unfortunately, Jackson’s nephew (my first cousin!) was killed at age 26 in a tragic airplane crash off the beach in San Diego while he was flying a small plane with his friend (both experienced pilots). The beautiful starlet never remarried, but went on to be a successful photographer who hobnobbed with the rock and roll crowd in the late 60’s and 70’s (she toured with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young for a couple of years as their official photographer) and artist.
I think that’s pretty neato. What’s also neato is that I am still discovering new things about my family. My friend, Nancy, who has been super supportive and helpful with my search and journey, gave me a copy of a small blurb from a magazine that she cut out. She doesn’t remember where it came from [Nancy remembered: it came from Parade magazine, but we’re still not sure of the date], but it was in the form of a multiple choice question/statement:
When a team of psychologists measured children’s resilience, they found that the kids who were best able to handle stress:
a) knew the most about their family’s history;
b) played team sports;
c) attended regular religious services.
Answer: (a). The more children know about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives and the higher their self-esteem. the reason: These children have a stronger sense of “intergenerational self”–they understand that they belong to something bigger than themselves, and that families naturally experience both highs and lows.
So keep learning. And keep peeling away the layers.
oh, Laureen I am so happy to read another chapter in your life and the thought of you finally meeting your dad is so exciting. My dad was my hero and it is not too late for you o develop that kind of relationship with Jackson—he seems like that kind of a guy! ❤
Laureen, I am so excited to hear your good news! When are you meeting? The layers will continue and continue. What a layer peeling experience this has been for me too! I never had a chance to share my story on my blog but it has been a wild one! I decided to reach out to my only half-sister this past September. She had no idea of my existence and my email came as quite a shock! I had found my birthfather 14 years ago and he would never tell his daughter of my existence but did a great job of stringing me along to where I thought he would eventually. But then realized, if I didn’t do it, nobody would. I sent her an email and she first thought it was spam but then realized it was real and thankfully was really excited. We talked by phone two days later and have had fun getting to know each other by phone, text, photos, etc. And to make a long story very short, her husband ended up getting a job with the company I work for and she and her family moved here two months ago! How things have changed in the blink of an eye! I am happy to offer reinforcements/support/encouragement, etc. There is no instruction guide for this type of thing! Wishing you the best!
Thank you so much for your encouraging words! Are you writing currently about your journey? You should be! I want to learn more!
I’m so happy for you! Sending good vibes for a wonderful 1st meeting.
Hope it’s everything you want it to be.
Thanks so much Barb! Thank you for being with me in spirit!
Very excited for you my friend! Thank you for sharing this amazing ride!
that’s awesome, laureen!
A comment-after-the-comment. I would be remiss not to acknowledge the painful part of this process. Of course I have no idea what that looks like for you but my journey had and has a lot of pain also. I say this only to clarify after my cheerleader response earlier. Take it day by day. I pray a LOT. Not necessarily for my way but for the ones who are so closed minded and not willing to peel the layers. I pray they would find peace and love in their hearts. They are the ones that are missing out (and are probably hurting themselves from old wounds). At the end of it all, it is the relationships we make in our life that matter most and how we treat others. I feel very sorry for those who think it’s all about them. Can’t wait to read your updates!
You are so right, Laura! Part of my journey was negative, but part of it has been positive. It takes a lot to realize that you cannot control the emotions and reactions of other people. There are so many different ways that people respond. What is trauma for one is often not for others. Relationships are the most important part, indeed! You are wise! Please keep in touch!
So happy you and Jackson are meeting! That is wonderful news.
FYI, the NYT is probably the original “source” for that Parade quiz: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/fashion/the-family-stories-that-bind-us-this-life.html?_r=0
…and, lastly, have you considered having your maternal aunt do a DNA test just to “make sure” that the person you think is your mother really is? The story about Jackson dating a similarly named individual, but not remembering your mother would make me want to double check with DNA.
Thank you, Angie! I shared that article with my friend, Nancy! I love it. And yes, ideally I would love to go a step further with the DNA testing, but I’m not sure that will happen. My bio mom does not deny that she gave birth to me . . . she just doesn’t want anything to do with me at this point in her life. I accept that.
Thank you so much for your kind words!
It’s been very inspiring reading your story, thank you soo much for sharing it, I too was adopted and know nothing about my biological family.
I’m wondering if I should try 23 and me to see if I can locate any relatives? do you recommend 23 and me? was the process difficult?
I recently joined G’s adoption registry and the adoption angels ( both of which I recommend to you if you are unfamilliar with them)
Congratulations on your new found relative and thanks again for sharing your story!