I have had a lot going on-and I mean A Lot!!!
After years of renting with my SO-15 years of renting-we bought a house. I’m so excited I can’t stand it! I grew up in a house and had a house here in Austin before I got divorced-actually even then, I bought out my ex and kept the house. I sold it when I moved to Mexico and have been renting ever since. While everyplace I’ve lived has been very nice, safe, comfy,etc-I’ve always had this nagging desire to have my own house. My SO on the other hand, I guess being a Londoner, never had the same feelings about it. Even owning 2 houses in London. But he’d never lived in a totally, freestanding house until now. He’s loving it! And Bentley the dog is also thrilled! I’ve finally got a big kitchen, a big, private yard-no stairs! I’m not kidding when I say that I wake up early every morning excited for the day! Lots of projects-which I love. We’ve been there about 3 weeks and it feels like so much longer. All the stuff that I’ve had from my catering business and otherwise is unpacked, put away and the boxes have been broken down and recycled. I feel like I’m in my forever home! When I cook I’m not constantly screaming, “I hate this fucking kitchen!” And my SO finally gets what I’ve been talking about all this time.
So in the midst of all of this thrillingly exciting move something else happened. Another huge, life changing thing. Here goes. I was adopted. I’ve known this from day one. My parents took custody of me 2 days after I was born. They had a book called “The Chosen One” about a couple that adopted a child. Actually, it’s a really good book and I remember myt mother loaning it out over the years to other adoptive parents. They read me this book from they day they got me. There has never been a question that they loved me and gave me the best possible life they could with what they had. And, as time goes on, more and more I appreciate so many things that they gave me growing up. Years ago, while going to their safe deposit box for a copy of my birth certificate I came across the original document of my birth mother releasing me into the custody of my parents. And, it had her name on it. With her signature. This was probably in the mid to late 80’s. I kind of half-heartedly tried to find her but not really. I did know that I was born in Greenville, Texas and that there was an un-wed mothers home there (in the mid 50’s) For a short time I went to meetings in a group that helped people track down lost relatives-and they told me it might not be too hard with a name. But, as I said, it wasn’t exactly a burning desire.
When the DNA sites came up, I thought about it but never did anything. Then a couple of years ago, whenever a commercial would come up for 23 and Me, I’d kind of say “I wonder if I look like anybody?” Really a rhetorical question but I guess my SO got sick of hearing it and so for a gift he gave me membership. I sent off my saliva sample and in a few weeks got the results. Which were interesting. Turns out I’m like 95% English, French and Northern European. I have NO Ashkanozi Jew in me.-I say this because I was raised Jewish and when I was young, it was important to know if my birth parents had been Jewish-which my mother assured me that they had. I will say that it’s no surprise that she “fibbed” on this as she was prone to “fib” when a situation called for it. (In her opinion) And, by this time, it wasn’t important to me. Anyway, my results came back and I had a couple of close matches with 2 people that could be 2nd or 3rd cousins. I contacted them and told them my story with my birth mothers’ name. One guy got back to me and gave me access to his family tree on Ancestry.com. He told me to go to a certain branch and look at their daughter. I did. Same name. The right city. And, she had 3 children-who weren’t accessible to me. The 2nd cousin I had contacted suggested that I do the Ancestry.com test and if they were on it, it would let me know if there was a strong DNA match. I never did it. Don’t know why-other than to say that it just wasn’t a burning desire.
So, imagine how surprised I was early one Sunday morning to get an email from a guy saying that we had a 96% match on 23 and Me. He also had the same last name as my birth mother. I got back to him-thinking maybe we were first cousins and told him my story-saying that my intent was not to stir up anything that anyone didn’t want know about. As his phone number was at the bottom of the email, I asked if he might want to talk sometime. He said sure and that was that. I didn’t hear back from him and just decided that he didn’t want to talk and I pretty much forgot about it. UNTIL!!! Until last Saturday. When I received an e-mail from another guy with the same last name saying that he was my brother!!!! He explained that the first person I had contact with (who I thought might be a first cousin) was actually his son. How his son wasn’t sure how he and my other brother would accept the news. So he sat on it for a couple of months before he told his dad. And his dad-my brother- wanted to assure me that they were thrilled! That I’d had a sister too, who had recently died and finding me somewhat mitigated their loss!!! JEEZ!!!! Sounds like a Hallmark movie doesn’t it?? His e-mail was so well written and so loving. He was very aware that this might be extremely overwhelming for me. He gave me information to check him out so that I wouldn’t think it was some kind of a hoax. I received another e-mail from my other brother! welcoming me to the family.. Saying how I must have so many questions, etc. To be honest, I don’t. My birth mother died in 2016 and she’s really the only one I have any questions for.
I then heard from my niece who lives in NYC and told me how her cousin had contacted her before telling their respective fathers about me. How they checked me out on FB and I suppose other places and they could tell by my pictures that I was related. She also did 23 and Me and we had the same strong DNA match.
So here’s what they’ve pieced together- That their mother had been married to their father and they had 3 kids. They got divorced in 1952 or so. The kids lived with the grandparents and the mother-my birth mother, worked 2 jobs and lived in a house with several other women. She would’ve been around 26 at this time. She and her roomies liked to go out to some nightclub. He thinks that she probably had several boyfriends but only remembers one-who in retrospect seems like it might have been kind of serious. Until he disappeared. Around that time she-the birth mother-went to Houston to go to secretarial school. Which in retrospect seems weird as there were plenty of those in Dallas and she wouldn’t have had to pay room and board. This is the time they think that she was “banished” to the home for unwed mothers. Where it turns out her sister had gone 10 years earlier and had given birth to a son that they all connected with in 1985!
But even then, my birth mother never said anything. After about 6 months she came back and life went on as before. He went on to explain how it was the 50’s in the Baptist Bible Belt and how an unwed mother would be ostracized, etc. I get it. As I explained to him-I have absolutely no resentment over everything. And as I explained to my niece, I am really grounded in who I am and in my life at this point in time. That I really believe that my birth mother was the vehicle for my parents to have the daughter they so desperately wanted.
I got lots of pictures sent to me. And guess what????? I look like someone!! They sent some pictures of the sister that died and as my ex-mother-in-law said,”She is definitely your half sister!” There’s a photo of my birth mother at about 50 and the resemblance is striking. And the niece? Oh yes! The other thing that’s interesting is that when I read a couple of the letters to my oldest friend, the first thing that she said is that the writing sounds like mine!!
So…..I am going to meet the 2 brothers with their wives-and my SO- for lunch next Friday-kind of a midpoint between Austin, Dallas and Houston. In a restaurant. And one of the brothers said he’s going to put together a thumb drive of photos that we can go through and he’ll give it to me!!!
Isn’t this crazy??? I’m not scared or apprehensive or really even looking for some new close family thing. But the timing of all of this in my life is really something. And I can’t help but think about it in relation to my not drinking. Okay, I guess one question I could ask is if anyone is a wino in the family😉 But would all of this stuff had lined up if I was still guzzling a bottle of wine every night? Or is it possible that it’s only now-after 3 years of not drinking-that some kind of energy has been unblocked and allowed to flow? You know it’s funny, because so often people talk about huge significant changes when they stop drinking. And for me, it’s been more of just an evenness and an awareness of a freedom that you don’t have when struggling not to drink. The other day a friend of mine was saying how she loves not owing any money on anything. And I remarked that in my mind the 2 best kinds of freedom are financial and being alcohol free. But, maybe it’s taken this long for all of my energies to get aligned. Maybe it’s taken this long to clear the channels and allow all of this in. Who knows? I’ll probably never really know for sure. I do know that I’m so glad I’m not drunkenly experiencing this. That I don’t have to hide a drinking problem.
The other day, when all of this was sinking in I remarked to my SO that I hoped this didn’t mean that I was going to die soon. Is that a crazy ass thing to say? Just because it’s such a positive energy flow and I’m not sure that I’ve experienced anything like since I was about 10 years old!! And so have to think maybe there’s going to be a negative attached.
And so, to end. Maybe all of this would have happened exactly like it has if I was still drinking. I will never know have a concrete answer to that. But my soul is telling me that I had to get all of that shit out of my system and out of my psyche in order to clear all the channels in order to allow this kind of energy to flow. WOW!