Sunday evening I found myself in a place just a few short days before I hadn’t even imagined possible, sitting on my aunt’s couch next to my brother in a room of my aunts and uncle. If someone had told me Wednesday when I opened my email from my DNA results that that was going to happen I don’t think I would have believed them.
So backtrack to Wednesday. With my DNA results I had two listed as close matches. And the site defined close matches as either grandparents, 1st cousins, or aunts and uncles. I kind of concluded that one of the close matches was probably an aunt, because I assumed that the numbers in her user name was the year that she was born and based on that it would make her the age of an aunt. The other one however I could see from his profile that he was younger than me and so it didn’t make sense that he was an uncle or grandparent, but also digging in a little more he and I shared a good portion of DNA and it made me think we were likely 1/2 siblings. I remember kind of thinking, so how do I message them and what do I say? I didn’t want them to think I was weird or unstable, but I was also sensitive to the fact that likely they didn’t know I existed and I was going to be a surprise. And I also wondered when I would feel comfortable sending them a message. I realized probably never in all honesty and so if time wasn’t really going to change my comfort level then there was no reason not to just send it.And so I sent a message to both, introducing myself, explaining that I had been adopted, and that I was just looking at figuring out my story and wondering if they could help in anyway.
And both wrote back rather quickly and it took a quick stop at my parents house to pick up my adoption file so we could compare notes and verify what we thought. And it turned out that the matches were indeed my Aunt Peggy and my 1/2 brother Chris. Chris was also adopted and had done his DNA search a year or so ago and had connected with Aunt Peggy then, so while I was a surprise I wasn’t a complete surprise. Aunt Peggy quickly got in touch with her siblings and in a matter of hours we had a meeting set up for Sunday late afternoon at her house.
So that is how on Sunday evening I found myself on Aunt Peggy’s couch next to Chris meeting Aunt Janet, Aunt Maureen, and Uncle John. They were all so sweet and welcoming. It was apparent that they were a close knit family who cared a lot about one another. They gently let me know that my birth mom had passed a few years ago. She had been estranged from the family for a number of years and her passing was tragic and very hard on each of them. They had also been very shocked when Chris had reached out to them last year because they had no idea we existed, she had hid that from them. Chris and I shared with them that we didn’t hold anything against them, that we both knew that adoption doesn’t happen in a healthy stable person but that we were super thankful that despite where she was in life she had given us the two greatest gifts she could, she chose to give us life and to give us a family. We both shared how the families that we were adopted into have been full of love, support and we wouldn’t change anything about any of it. I think we both regret not being able tell her thank you for choosing life and family for us. They shared stories and memories about growing up and also about each one of their families. They welcomed us into their family which is more than I could have hoped for. I learned that I get my terrible eye site from my birth mom and also how she loved books and was a loyal friend and the life of a party. It was a really sweet time. There are still unanswered questions as things that were written in our adoption files don’t match or make sense, but many questions and missing pieces were filled in during that time. I look forward to getting to know all of them more as we all learn to navigate this new family.
I got to drive Chris a few blocks over to where his significant other lives and on the way we talked and shared some more. Turns out we both have very tiny feet and odd little toes with funky little toe nails. Caedmon has the same feet/little toes as well and so now we all know where they came from. As an adoptee and an adoptive mommy I know that family is more than blood, but as I learned this past weekend finding those things that only come because of the blood that is shared just helps make the picture a little clearer and more focused.