Archive for March, 2016

Part II. How I found my Siblings

If you missed Part I click here: Part I.

Now, this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel…

haha, just kidding.

Okay for reals here’s the story of how I found my birth family.

Thursday, December 4th, 2014:

If you and I are Facebook buddies you may remember when I asked you to circulate these two pictures:

I think I got a total of 75 shares. THANK YOU! Several people contacted me and put me in touch with someone who could help me, or offered to help me search themselves.

Leading up to this point I was prepared for YEARS of searching before I would actually FIND anyone. And that meant I was afraid. I was afraid of putting all my efforts into the ‘search’ and getting nothing out of it. Afraid of getting my hopes up just to be let down, and, eventually, get burned out. So, this is why I hadn’t searched aggressively in the past, and why I usually let others do the searching for me when inspired to do so.

But something in me was changing around this time…as I was beginning to trust and learn how to have faith in something outside myself, and I started to build the courage I needed to move forward in my search.

Saturday, January 10th, 2015:

Several weeks later and no solid leads yet. However, I was searching Facebook regularly with different methods, and others were searching on my behalf with information I had given them.

And then BOOM. The first divine inspiration manifested through a childhood friend’s mom:

conversation

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Monday arrives and a series of text messages to my new adoptee friend, Gina, ensue. We coordinate a meet up for a coffee and chat. We decide on Thursday, January 15th, 2015.

Thursday, January 14th, 2015

The day before Gina and I are to meet…

According to our birth mother’s death certificate (that I saw at a later date) she had been taken to the hospital and was under care of a physician on this day for congestive heart failure. Her already deteriorating health had taken a turn for the worst. I had NO IDEA any of this was happening at this time.

Friday, January 15th, 2015

On the day Gina and I planned to meet…

I catch a cold and am feeling pretty lousy. I’m also feeling a bit depressed and unmotivated. I struggle to get out of bed and go to work on a daily basis, which feels confusing for me because life is great. I’m a newlywed, the holidays were great, and I just had a week and a half off work. What gives? Maybe it’s just a come-down from the holidays…

I reach out to Gina and tell her I need to reschedule because I’m sick and not feeling well. She is empathetic in her response and wishes me well.

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Apparently my birth mother passes on this day just after midnight, at the 0033 hour, at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles, a mere 47 miles north of my house off the 405 freeway.

Meanwhile, on my drive home from a San Diego work trip, on this exact day, I unknowingly feel compelled to stop and watch the sun set and meditate for a few minutes at my favorite beach. I casually post about it on FB…

Jan 23 2015.PNG

It gives me chills thinking about how energy moves through the Universe. Whereas before, with no faith, this would not mean anything to me, but now with a heart beginning to ‘believe’, I feel like my mother’s passing inspired some form of energy to cause me to stop for this moment, whether I realized it or not…and it doesn’t really mean anything, per se. I think it mostly provokes a sense of curiosity about the timing of my actions, and the timing of her death.

I must have taken 10 pictures at least of the sun setting…

Monday February 2nd, 2015

Feeling more revived and motivated a few days later I reach out to Gina to try again for our coffee chat. We reschedule for Thursday.

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

After a typical day of work I meet Gina at a little coffee shop near my apartment.

I ordered a chocolate chip cookie with my coffee, which was served to me warm on a plate. I ended up eating it with a fork because it was so soft and melty. I’m sure Gina was curious if I always sweets for dinner. Nonetheless she was sweet herself, and opened up about her experiences.

 

Royal Cup Cafe Cookies

She shared her story and her life as an adoptee in the family she grew up with, and then her biological family reunification. She shared about her (biological) mom and dad, and the information she learned about them, and what it was like after the reunification. She had strong perspectives about the adoption experience, based on the context in which she was adopted and other circumstances she’d come to learn about through other adoptees. Some of these perspectives were new to me, and others validated how I was already feeling, which was nice.

Her story of reunification wasn’t filled with fairy tale endings, which I think was important for me to hear since I am prone to romanticizing things. Rather, her story was sprinkled with delightful little bits about her parents’ whereabouts and relationship as it related to her path in life. On the surface these details feel small, but when you think about it in the context of a person who is piecing their life together, they feel like rays of sunlight in an unfortunate circumstance, and may be all you need to smile on a rainy day.

Part of the scariness of reuniting with your family is that you don’t know how it’s going to work out, or what you’re inviting into your life. This was another reason I waited so long. Um, hello, addiction and schizophrenia run in my family. I would need to learn how to set firm but loving boundaries with others before I could establish relationships with the unknown.

So, during our chat, Gina enlightened me about the ‘Baby Scoop Era’. It’s a real thing. Wikipedia will give you the details but I’ll give you the gist: Young unwed white pregnant women were shamed into giving up their children for adoption so that someone could make a buck, and married heterosexual couples who couldn’t get pregnant could have their ‘happily ever after’.

Sad, huh? This information was news to me, and even though it wasn’t my story, it contributed to the understanding that there are many different circumstances with adoption and no two adoptees have the exact same story. However, we often have similar feelings and experiences growing up.

Gina gave me a book to read, “The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child” by Nancy Newton Verrier. Even the first few pages spoke to me in a way I’ve never heard before. I’ll do a review of the book at some point. But for now I’ll just say there has been a hole in my heart that was never validated until I started going to therapy. And now again with Gina and this book.

Most people don’t understand the hole I have in my heart from being separated from my biological mother at birth. It really surprises me how little regard people have for babies in terms of the human experience, especially mothers. Have you ever seen a baby cry and cry and cry when mom’s not around? And nothing can seem to console baby? Then, as soon as she returns and swoops baby up, baby is calm and centered again? Well, imagine mom not ever coming back. Just sit with that for a moment. That feeling of separation anxiety becomes the foundation for your life on earth. Ready, go.

So, then we got to me. And I shared my story with Gina, to which she responded with,

“Have you ever used an Adoption Search Angel?”

I had never.

I mean, I had tried to find one on the internet many, many, many years ago when the web was still new and for nerds. I couldn’t find anything or anyone to help me. It was one of the dead ends I had hit. And I just never thought to try again, really.

I think, at that moment, a seed was planted in my mind, and as we ended our visit and said our goodbyes, that seed was planning its escape out of the shell  and into the sunlight…

I even posted my feelings about the meeting on FB:

FB0

Then my head hit the pillow.

Friday, February 6th, 2015

TGIF!!! I live for the weekends now. I’m a weekend warrior.

Around 4pm, close to the end of the day, I’m feeling antsy and suddenly inspired to search for “Adoption Search Angel” on the web based on my conversation the night before with Gina.

I find a site: adoption

(Link in case you want to explore: http://adoption.about.com/cs/sear2/a/becomangel.htm)

As you can see above there are some links on there. I clicked on a few and then about 20 minutes later I had an email composed to a “Lisa”, a random person I picked off a list (which also happens to be the same name of my sister, no relation though):

email

She responded 30 minutes later!

email2

I left work shortly after this with the plan to scan all my non-identifying information to her. But first I would stop for pizza on the way home.

Brayden happened to be out with the guys that night. Of course. So nobody was witness to the insane dance/jumping up and down action throughout the apartment that following this break through…

The Search Angel emailed me back at 5:30pm, an hour after I contacted her (but I wouldn’t check my email again until 9:00pm) TOTALLY not expecting…

A LINK TO MY SISTER’S FACEBOOK PROFILE!

WHAT?!?

email3

 

I sent this message to Tammy via Facebook and then to Lisa and Erick who the Search Angel found through Tammy’s profile:

tammy chat

How was I going to be able to sleep now?????

Like any good stalker, I kept checking my messages for the indicator that shows she saw the message…nothing. I finally slept. And then I woke up to this:

email4

She also sent me their phone numbers from whatever PI database she was using. After a few email exchanges I sent this message expressing my surprise and gratitude:

email5

Yes! ‘Thank you’  X  1,000,000 = SO MUCH GRATITUDE!

Who was this person that was helping me for FREE?? What an angel! Oh duh, yes, that is what these people are!!! ‘Adoption Search Angels’!

I had no idea that within hours of inquiring I would have ANSWERS. This was amazing!!!!

Eventually a series of contacts with Lisa and Tammy would ensue and again, if we are Facebook buddies, you probably saw these posts:

FB

BTW it’s weird leaving messages on people’s machines like, “Hi umm, I’m adopted and I’m looking for my long-lost sister, and I’m wondering…are you her? So yeah, okay call me back.”

FB1

In reference to Lisa, the first sibling I made contact with living all the way in Missouri! #mindblown

FB2

After my phone conversation with Lisa she said she would tell Tammy about me and see if she would call me to chat.

So there you have it, that’s how I first made contact with my birth family.

I still had 5 more siblings to talk to and meet but this was a GREAT start. And the way in which everything went down was just so crazy. It all happened so fast, and I couldn’t get over the timing of everything.

Some people have mentioned to me that my birth mother’s passing may have been a catalyst for the energy that spurred this journey on, and I don’t doubt that. When you walk through something like this, and it’s life changing on such a huge scale, you start to wonder how we all are connected and notice how energy works through people for the greater good. It really created a space in my head and my heart that maybe there is something out there that’s bigger than us at play here. Again, not thinking of a white bearded man in the sky, but perhaps there is some kind of energy flowing through everything and when one part is affected, it creates a domino affect.

The whole experience has obviously had a profound experience on me and added to my perspective of the human life. However, I have no intentions of reclaiming my zealous Jesus-freak persona at the moment but I believe in something bigger, a sort of pure energy that we interpret as ‘good’ but is probably really the product of an ever-shifting Universe that thrives on harmony.

The whole experience with finding my family has softened my heart, and I am not as triggered when I encounter people of different faiths. This is HUGE, because both of the sisters I reunited with are deeply spiritual people and practice two different religions….which is actually the final bow that ties the knot for me on this whole picture. Had I not experienced this series of events and gained the knowledge of what I know now, I don’t think I would be able to relate to my sisters as well as I do, because of the aforementioned lack of faith…

So it’s kind of apropos that the journey to find my spiritually-inclined family included a spiritual awakening, don’t you think?

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