Actually Not Related

This is the day my parents married in 1953 because my teenage mom was pregnant with me and my dad did right by her.  They were both adoptees.  As incredible as it may seem to the reader, it was only recently that I realized how miraculous it is that I did not end up given away and adopted.

Certainly, my mom’s adoptive parents could not have been happy about all their dashed hopes for my mom.  No debutante ball, no marrying into the upper class.  Instead her husband came from a humble and poor family.  In spite of it all, they remained married for life, over 60 years, and died 4 months apart.

How to explain what it is like ?  I chose to relocate myself to Missouri.  Eventually, I would discover lots of connections to my chosen home state.  Yet, they were not my own family connections, not really.  There was the town in Missouri – Dittmer – founded by my mom’s adoptive father’s family.  There was the town in Missouri – Eugene – founded by my mom’s adoptive mother’s family.  There was the town in Illinois – Belleville – founded by my dad’s adoptive mother’s family.  I could not claim any of these places had a real relationship to my family history.  It is a weird black hole to spend one’s life within.

Now I really know what is important.  Loss, betrayal and abandonment force us to let go of our attachments.  When my parents died, I became an orphan.  I also lost a close and loving relationship with my youngest sister, who’s mental illness that appears to be some kind of paranoid schizophrenia, caused her to distrust me as I attempted to close out our parent’s estate.  I heard my mom’s voice in my head saying “finish the work.”  That work was requesting the court to create a supportive situation for my sister since she could no longer depend upon our parents and was hostile towards me.  A lifetime of being there for her was lost and abandoned by her.  Sadly.

A Black Hole

Until recently, my family history beyond my two parents was a black hole.  They were both adopted and died knowing next to nothing about their origins.  After more than 60 years of living, I know now what those origins are.

Most people KNOW who their parents are.  Even a parent who abandons his family may still be a known entity to his child but not someone who was adopted.  It is all unknown, unless it is a modern, more progressive and supportive adoption – which thankfully, many of them are beginning to be.

People don’t want to hear that you have no freakin’ clue to your identity.  Not knowing is both painful and unusual in our society.  It is associated with negative stereotypes such as “bastards” and “mistakes”.  You hear about “those people” but you never expect to be talking to one in the flesh.

I recently read about the child of an adoptee who’s coping mechanism with that unknown was to tell everyone he was Cuban.  Until recently, I used to tell everyone I was an “albino African” because I could have been.  There was no one to tell me I wasn’t.  Then, I got my DNA tested and finally knew I was Danish and Scottish and English and Irish, even a little Ashkenzai Jew and Neanderthal.

It is wonderful to now have a universe of genetic connections out there instead of being the product of a black hole.