And so continuing my personal story of being an adopted, if you missed Part 1 you can read it here, otherwise we left off with my adopted parents telling me that my birthmother reached out and wanted to have some sort of dialogue with me if I was interested.
My adopted father was and still is at 86 very thorough kinda man and he explained that they had vetted my birthmother at least to validate that she was in fact who she claimed to be and how her current family felt about me coming into their lives. My father had collected all the letters, copies of original birth certificates and other documentation into a black three ring binder. As I reached for the binder to read through, a picture of a teen boy dropped out of the binder. I picked up the picture and instantly noticed that this kid looked just like me but with short hair. He could be my twin!
I don’t know why but tears began to flow just looking at this picture of a boy whom I had never met but deep down I knew he was my brother. Now if you remember, and some of you know them well, I grew up with two brothers. These guys are the heart and soul of my childhood, instigators of tumbling games, chasing, fighting, laughing and as I got older my protectors and advisors. My brothers were and still are my best friends but this one picture of a boy that I never met, melted my heart.
I began down a journey of reading letter after letter, handwritten by either my adopted father or my birthmother. I then found a letter from my step-father, the man who married my birthmother, and he described being very supportive of my birthmother’s request to locate me and build a relationship. He wanted to give her the world and since I meant the world to her he opened his heart and life to help the search efforts. Then a handwritten letter from the boy, who said he always wanted a sibling to grow up with, fight with, laugh with and protect. He was only fourteen years old and knew that family was important to him and thus was blessed to have the sister he always wanted.
After reading and absorbing all the material I was handed and had cried all the happy tears that I could for the day, I went to my parents and said “Ok tell her to write me.” And so it began. That summer my birthmother wrote me letters to get to know me and I wrote her back. We both asked questions and answered several. I explained that I was moving to NYC in the fall to attend high school there and she explained that they were living in NJ not to far from the city and maybe we could meet once I was all settled in my new place and ready.
She inquired about the high school I was going to attend, which I explained that my adopted father had been researching specialized high schools around the nation and came across a magnet school in NYC that focused on fashion design. Since he knew I was taking illustration classes and sewing my own designs he thought it was a match. My birthmother’s next letter ask for the full name of the high school and location. I thought it was a little odd to inquire for such specific information but I was glad to provide the information since it showed just how interested she was in my life.
Her response letter provided some shocking news, she was currently working in the fashion industry and then mentioned my grandmother. I hadn’t really thought about birth grandparents, still getting use to the concept of knowing my birthmother and now I had blood related grandparents? Of course I do but how cool that they were still alive and that I would have a chance to meet them! Then her letter explained that my grandmother attended a fashion design high school in NYC, actually was the first graduation class from her high school…actually it was the exact high school I was about to attend in month! What? What do you mean? My birth grandmother attended the very high school that I was about to attend? I was raised in North Carolina and was moving to NYC for high school and by coincidence was going to attend the same high school that my birth grandmother attended? Crazy!
I was floored, excited and just amazed that there were so many coincidences and similarities. This woman, my birthmother, my birth grandmother and I were apart for sixteen years, I was raised by different parents, in a completely different part of the country and yet we were very much a like. I truly believe that fifty percent of who we are is hereditary and the other half is based on our living environment, community, friends and experiences through the years.
So here I was writing my birthmother and moving closer to her and making plans to meet her, my step-father and my brother. I knew deep down my adopted mother was apprehensive about me moving to NY but then add this kinda twist and I’m sure the emotions were running very high. Of course my mother never expressed any hesitancy or lack of support. She was the most supportive person and loving mother a girl could ask for; but I knew without her saying a word that she was sad and yet happy for me all at the same time.
So the packing began…