In last night’s post, I shared excerpts of letters I had written when I was young and in search for my mother. It was interesting for me to find those letters and read what I was thinking at the time. I had a driving force in me that was pushing me to continue in my search, even when that search felt impossible. I was compelled to drive on, and not give up, yet I stated that my goal was simply to “know”, and that if I could simply see a picture it would be enough.
As an adult, the driving force to find my father, over the past couple years, has again been simply to “know”.
Embarking on my late 40s now – and I have all of the branches on my family tree for the first time. I have the branch from England, the branch from Ireland, Scotland, Austria, and the branch that came to this land on the Mayflower. I drew out my family tree on a poster and stuck in on the wall here beside me.
After all of these years of being driven to know – this tree represents having accomplished that goal. This impossible tree - that I started wondering about 40 years ago, and started actively searching for 30 years ago, marks the accomplishment of what I have spent my life trying to understand.
If all I have is this tree on this wall, I have accomplished what I had set out to do.
I now *know* what I had longed to know since I was a child.
This is good.
All else, any other relationships that form and grow in the process of this or as the result of all of this, is an added blessing. Such blessings were not what I set out to find, although I am thankful for them.
My Sisters… on the other hand:
My desire to know and have a relationship with my sisters is different from the drive I had to learn where I come from. I’m not sure I can explain this well as I’m not sure I have a good understanding myself. I will try.
I was raised an only child. When I was young and my adopted parents were trying to adopt another daughter, they had prepared a bedroom for her. This empty room, beside mine, was pretty and always tidy. It waited, and I dreamed of the day my sister would come to live there.
The room remained empty.
When I learned in 1990 that I actually have a sister, my heart was full of hope and joy. She was still a child though, and wasn’t as excited to learn of me as I was to learn of her. I was told she didn’t handle the news of me well.
I waited eight years for her to come of age before calling her myself. We spoke on the phone the one time, and she was polite. In a letter she had written me more recently, she told me that she had only just learned of me the morning of that phone call and was not prepared for my call and that it was traumatizing for her. She was angry with me for having done that to her.
Memory is a funny thing, and I wasn’t sure that was exactly how it happened – but in reading the old letters that I had posted last night, I see that I mentioned, six years prior to making that phone call, that my sister had been told about me and didn’t take the news well. I’m sure that when I finally made that phone call, I believed that she already had six years to think about it. It never occurred to me that she was never actually told until that morning. The last thing I would have ever wanted to do was traumatize her. In fact, I recall talking to my mom before calling my sister, and letting my mom know that I wanted to make that call, and making sure that it would be alright. Maybe my mom didn’t want to admit to me that she had never actually told my sister. Maybe she told my sister right then, just before I made that call. I don’t know.
As years passed I tried to remain patient. I friended my sister on MySpace, and later on Facebook. Other than accepting my friend requests, there was no communication with her. We had the opportunity to meet once when we were both in town in 2012, but she had declined.
Through all of these years I had always wondered if my father had any other children. I always imagined I probably have other siblings out there somewhere, but no idea how I might find them. When I tested my DNA a couple of years ago, I realized there was a chance I could actually find siblings, and I was excited and hopeful for such a possibility.
As my mind wondered of the possibility of finding siblings, it kept returning to the one sister I know of but had never met. Another 16 years had passed since that one phone call and I felt that was a long time to patiently wait. I decided to write her a letter, to tell her how I felt, and ask her why she has declined meeting me after all of these years.
Her reply was difficult to read. She was quite clear that she does not want to have anything to do with me and asked me to not contact her again.
When you’re in search, you need to be prepared for such rejection. We go in with hope for the best, but must also be prepared to experience hurt.
As my search for my father drew to an end, I learned that he was trying to get in touch with another daughter prior to his passing. No one knows her name, though I have confirmed that he had another daughter, with whom he had not been in contact, and who he was trying to reach.
I have another sister.
I hope that the cosmos will align in such a way that she and I might find one another someday. I wonder who she is and how she’s doing. I wish I could know her and be in her life… but I must be patient. Maybe someday.
The desire to know my sisters is somehow different from the drive I had to find my roots. Finding my roots, I think, was more about knowing myself and understanding where I come from and what makes me, me. I was compelled by a driving force within me to find my roots, and I kept pushing on, even when the search seemed impossible. That thirst, however, is quenched with a simple family tree hanging on my wall.
The desire to know my sisters – this is not about finding myself, this is about relationship. This is about finding those sisters and sharing a certain bond. This is the desire of my heart.
This is me being a little girl and walking past that empty bedroom every day, longing for the day that my sister lives there.
This not a puzzle I’m compelled to solve. Stubbornly pushing on is not going to bring this dream to reality.
The videos I'm sharing in this post are not my story although there remains hope.
I can only wish and hope and wait – and make sure that I am findable when the time comes to be found.
I began writing this post this morning with the intention of addressing the perception that my story is a sad one. I had intended to point out that though there are sad aspects of my story, it is overall a happy story. However, in writing this morning, I have managed to bring myself to tears.
How can I write of success and happiness when I have tears running down my face?
The tears are okay. This is a part of life. I hope that in sharing them, I will help prepare others (other adoptees still in search) for their own tears. Life is unpredictable and we don't know how these things will play out in the end. We’re full of hope and when we hear the joyous success stories of adoptees’ reunions, our hearts long that such stories may be our own someday. It is good to have such hopes and dreams. It is also important to remain grounded and prepared; and remain aware that every one of us does not have such a fairy tale ending.
As for me, I’m alright. I knew that parts of my story would be more difficult for me to tell than other parts. This is why I decided to tell it in blog format. Here, I can tell parts of my story, at my own pace in my own time.
I heard it said that when you can tell your story without crying, then you have been healed. I can’t quite do that yet, and honestly don’t expect I will. I am one who is prone to tears – it’s just who I am.
What is not evident in this writing thus far is that I am also one who is prone to laughter. There is great joy and awe in this world. My life is full of love and I am not alone here. Perhaps if it weren’t for the tears I shed, I wouldn’t appreciate the joy as much as I do.
I wouldn’t be writing at all if I weren’t emotionally prepared to revisit my tears.
I’m sending love & support to all y’all who are still in search.
Regardless of who you are, what you’ve done, or what you will do, I love you. I long to know you. I vow to be there for you. I’ve longed to know you my entire life. I don’t want or need anything from you; I only wish to know you.
Oh how I long to see your face, hear your voice, and learn of your deepest thoughts. I long to hear your troubles and your joys. I long to hear your laugh.
Whoever you are, wherever you are, I am sending my love out to you and I hope that somewhere deep inside you can feel it. There is quite literally a piece of me that lives in you, and a piece of you that lives in me. In this we are bonded, regardless of what the fates bring.
You are my sister and I love you.
Nothing can change that.
I am here. When you're ready.
I am here. When you're ready.