I have been waiting for a long time to write this post.
So many emotions. A few fears/worries.
Why? Well…. this topic and my opinions/desires/actions on it have the ability to REALLY hurt some people. I’m going to go on and say that hurting feelings is not my intention in this, nor has it ever been. It’s just a sensitive issue for some involved.
What am I even talking about?
Most of the people who read this have known me for the majority of my life and already know this fact: I’m adopted. I’ve known since I was about 6. Never was really a “thing” for me when I was younger. Why would it have been? Mama was my mama. Deddy was my deddy. What else did I need to know, really? I have PHENOMENAL parents (though I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye with them.) They go above and beyond what I really need and I really couldn’t ask for better. They brought me up (literally- Deddy is a music minister) in the church. I really feel that Mama is the epitome of what a Christian woman should be. We disagree/fuss a lot, but man! She’s fantastic and I look up to her in so many ways (one of those being because she’s A LOT taller than I am.) They put up with so many wild moments and tantrums from me. They are my parents. No one, biologically related or otherwise, could ever replace them or do as much for me as they have. They are the reason that I wholeheartedly disagree with the absolutely ignorant (when it is used wrong and under the scope of describing/making excuses for how you treat someone in your family or someone who has joined your family by some means other than birth) phrase, “blood is thicker than water.” (Look up the origin and meaning of it if you don’t know already know it.)
I never wondered about my biological parents. Well, I didn’t wonder until a few years ago. I think the year was 2011. I became a CASA volunteer. (Click that hyperlink, y’all.) The CASA organization is a fantastic program which trains volunteers to become advocates for children who have been abused or neglected and have, for those reasons, been put in the care of whatever state they are in. Volunteers are given cases in their county, or from surrounding counties, and do studies of the children, their parents, the homes they were and now are in. They talk to doctors, teachers, and anyone they deem necessary to speak to.
Anyways…. what does that have to do with anything? Well, I’ll tell you. The training I went through, and the children in my cases got me wondering a few things: How could parents do some of the things they do? Why do many of them seem to not really care? What do these kids feel about their parents versus their foster parents? What would it be like to be in their shoes and to actually know biological family only to be taken from them, and in some cases to never be allowed to see or speak to them again? Those kinds of questions ran through my mind all of the time.
While working on one particular case, I decided that it was time for me to find out more of where I came from. The case and the questions just pushed me to it. Finding out information about my biological family had been in the back of my mind since having my son, because it would be great to have a copy of any known biological familial medical history. Ya know.. so I can know if there is anything I need to look out for, for either of us.
With all of that in mind, I did some nosing around and found out some information. I found out the name of my biological mom and the first names and approximate ages (at the time of my birth) of her 2 sons. Aside from that, I have not been able to find out anything. It’s a huge cluster of information that I have and things that go along with it since it was a private adoption handled by my grandfather.
So on we go. On Facebook, I found a group called Search Squad. This group has a TON of members who have devoted many years and a lot of dollars to helping people find their ancestry. Not all members who are searching have been adopted. Some are trying to build their trees on Ancestry.com or on their own and have come to a standstill and need help. There are many different reasons people join the group. I have been a member of this group for about a year and a half, I believe. (I used this group to help find Mama’s childhood best friend for her on Thanksgiving day last year.) So far, with my personal search, we have been unable to find any new or more identifying information.
Here’s the cool part. The searchers and administrators of this group keep tabs on how the searches are going and make a list of those who might benefit from DNA testing through sites like Ancestry or 23andMe. These allow you to have your DNA tested and be linked with others who have also tested and may have a close match to your DNA. Many of the good people in this group get their names put on another list: a list to purchase and send DNA kits to other members. About 2 months ago, I was contacted and added to the list. Last week, I got a message on Facebook that said, “Check your mail. Your kit should have been delivered today.” So I go home, and lo-and-behold, someone, A STRANGER, had gifted an AncestryDNA kit to me!! Y’all, these kits aren’t cheap, either. (Ancestry is cheaper but also has less information than 23andMe-which costs $200) I had forgotten that I was even on the list and was super excited. I STILL AM super excited. I am excited to possibly learn some biological history, even though I don’t have any desire to meet or connect with either of my biological parents. (That part of this journey will be in another post further down the road.)
Yesterday, I got an email saying that they had received my kit at the Ancestry testing facility. Now I just have to wait a few weeks for them to analyze it and send me the results. As I told Deidre, “This is so much worse than book suspense!”
Disclaimer: Those of you reading this may be scared to ask me questions about the situation, process, my feelings…. don’t be. If you have questions, ASK! I don’t get offended and I try to be an open book because it can help so many people on both sides of these kinds of scenarios. Just do me a favor and DON’T ask my parents about it or bring it up to them. I’M NOT GIVING THE OK FOR THAT AT ALL. It is a bit out of the scope of common decency to do so, in my opinion, because they are not as open about it as I am.
(Originally posted on my old blog on December 16, 2015)