Thanksgoating – Day twenty-one. Welcome to me. The next. Warning… This might get deep

capnjb went on a bit of a rant said

This is likely going to be a deep topic and probably an emotional one for me. It’s ok to check out now. This is going to be a long one. Might be a two-parter.

Today I am thankful for adoption.

I was adopted. I have an older sister who was also adopted. And, no, we’re not blood related. It doesn’t work like that. You can’t just go back and order another one if you like the first. There is an accompanying discussion that goes hand-in-hand with this one. I’m not going to discuss that. Let’s go. Hold on.

I was born in 1971 to an unwed teenage mother. She made the very difficult decision to give up her childhood for mine. And put me up for adoption. I have tears in my eyes typing that.

I got to spend one day with her. She wasn’t supposed to, but she named me Christopher. A day later I was Joshua.

I grew up knowing I was adopted. I have no recollection of when my parents actually told me, I just always knew. The very worst memory in my life was when I was a small child in an argument with my mother and I shouted, ‘you’re not my real mom’. I die every time I remember that. I know it scarred her; it scarred me too. I would love to be able to forget that. In all the hands that have ever been dealt, I got the very best one. I couldn’t have ended up with better parents if I had been able to choose them myself.

In my early twenties I had a very real dream where I met my birth mother. It was so real… I awoke shaken. That had me pacing around my apartment and I eventually called my mom and said I wanted to stop by and talk about something. I drove across town to see them. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings, so I was pretty conflicted about saying anything. My dad got home, and I fumbled with my words trying to get out what I wanted to say. Eventually I just blurted out ‘I’d like to know more about my adoption’. My dad looked at my mom, then back at me, and laughed. He said, ‘we were wondering when you were going to ask’. My mom ran out of the room and came back with a yellow legal pad with all the notes they had. There was nothing super identifying, but it turns out that my mom was Danish and Czech, and my father was German, Irish, Scot and English. Until that day, I was just from Seattle. I woke up the next day a little more whole.

This was early 90’s. I had dial-up. But I started searching with the data I had. This was kind of the onset of the internet and there weren’t any great piles of sites available. There were a few adoption reunion registries that were getting started. I left a post on one with the limited information that I had and that was that.
Time would pass.

The entirety of it all would stir up with me from time to time. I was dating my Jenny at this point and things started weighing heavy on me again. I found an adoption group in Tampa and Jenny came with me to a few meetings. There were people who were searching. People who had found. Sometimes it was good, sometimes it really wasn’t. There were people who were adopted and weren’t lucky like me and landed in abusive homes. It was a mélange of stories. All different, but it was a place where you could voice it and no one judged. Kind of like this place

You’d be surprised how many adopted people there are you know… you just have to start the conversation. I guarantee there is at least one person reading this post that is also adopted. You don’t have to say anything. But I know the shoes you walk in.
A year before I got married I got a call from my mom. She starts off with, ‘umm… you have a sister’. I was like yeah, I know. She said, ‘No. A younger sister’.

My heart fell through the floor.

It turns out my birth mother (we’ll just call her Kathy from here on) got a new computer for Christmas and got online and wasn’t exactly searching for me, but rather researching if I was looking for her what hurdles I’d face. The first site she went to she scrolled through all the posts and at the very bottom, there was my post from years ago. It had just enough information that she knew it was me and she was able to locate my parents phone number.

They sat on it for a bit but eventually my half-sister (from here on we’ll just call her my sister ) called my parents and had a long conversation with my mom. My mom told her that she’d call me and pass along contact information if I wanted it. I was gobsmacked. I took a bit to collect myself and made that very difficult call. My sister answered and we had a very long conversation. We exchanged a lot of photos online and the next day, Kathy was ready to talk. It was so emotional. I needed it so much, but I wept. Letting go of almost 30 years of questions was a lot to deal with. And I got a picture of my grandfather. The first person I’d ever seen that looked like me. It was emotional overload but wouldn’t trade it for anything.

A month later I flew out to California to meet Kathy. I also got to meet my grandparents. Turns out my grandmother was younger than my dad. Not sure a lot of people can say that. And I met my sister. I finally got to be a big brother It filled so many holes in my life, but balancing the relationships with my parents and my wife was crushing. I just wanted to be so selfish and find out about all the things I had missed but at the same time not push away everyone I loved. It was tough. But we all made it through ok. Everyone was so supportive.

Sadly, Kathy passed about 10 years ago. I feel so blessed that I got to know her and hug her and tell her thank you. I also ended up with a pretty kick-ass sister, and her family. We’re still trying to figure that relationship out being 3000 miles apart, but it’s nice that my small family got a little bit bigger.

Ok… sorry about that rambling. I’ve been handed so many blessings I tend to share too much. And for those who have adopted or are considering it, bless you so much.

Next post will be about turkey or something.