Preserving Stuff For The Future

My husband has a rare surname and before we had our oldest son the details of his family tree began to be filled in and he was able to trace his family back to the 1400s.  I was a bit envious of that because I didn’t know my own.  His mother took an interest in her husband’s grandmother receiving a gravestone because she was unmarked in a pauper’s grave.  The result includes an oval image of her and a listing of genealogy.  Our oldest son in named after her husband.

I suppose I value family heritage so much because my own was a black hole, a void, beyond my parents who were both adopted.  After I was certain who all four of my original grandparents actually were, I wrote a family saga following their stories down to my parents and through a brief summary of my self and my sisters’ lives and children.  Someday, I’ll complete honest family trees for myself on Ancestry.

My mom did some pretty complete family trees at Ancestry from the adoptive grandparents lines but she had to quit because it just wasn’t real to her.  Ancestry is about DNA and our family does not have those families DNA.  It once took several messages from me to finally convince a woman there that I wasn’t related to her, that yes he was my dad but no we were not related.  He was adopted.  I want to set the record straight in my lifetime.

When I wrote up and printed 10 copies of that family saga, I was in effect saying – “This is who I was, please remember me and know I loved you enough even before you were born to want this information accessible to you.”  There is information about the ancestor’s family lines, important places and events as well as old family photos I have obtained from genetic cousins.  I didn’t want our family history lost again, if I should pass away soon.

When we discover an honest connection to a genetic relation, like I found with my Aunt Deborah who died young, it is an exciting moment – or how my paternal grandfather loved the sea and fishing, just like my Pisces born dad who took his first breath at Ocean Beach CA and loved all those things too.

For much of an adult adoptees’ life, questions such as those posed to my parents about their own birth or earliest moments on Earth, can only be answered with “I don’t know, I’m adopted.” Before I knew anything, that is what I answered when medical history questions asked about my grandparents. “We don’t know, we were both adopted.” is how my mom answered me, when I asked what our heritage was – from what countries did our family descend ?

For most people, asking questions about appearance related to heredity or about various skills or interests are simply casual and thoughtless conversation starters but to an adoptee, each question of that sort is a reminder of what they don’t know about their own self.

An adoptee doesn’t know if something about their own self was learned from their adoptive parents, inherited from their original parents or is unique to them somehow – there is a huge chunk of information missing from the equation – if their adoption was closed and they have not yet reunited with original family.