I am adopted and by adopted I mean I was raised by two parents who cared for me from when I was a very young infant up until I moved out.
I'm not a celebrity baby - nor was I bought from abroad to be raised in Canada.
Now back to the main point of this post now that I have those bits out of the way.
I was always curious to meet my birth parents and when I was about 16, I was in touch by phone and email with my biological father. We chatted semi-regularly and then when I was 20, decided I would fly over by myself to Hong Kong. It was a fantastic trip but I didn't know what to say.
I returned again to China the following year and we did nothing but fight.
Once I returned back to Canada, we kept in touch every few months via email but never Skyped and he didn't have Facebook- so when I got pregnant with V-Man, he reached out a bit more.
After a petty fight via email (over addresses really!) - we've cut ties.
And I'm fine with it. I have a family of my own to raise and if he has no interest in seeing their photos or being a part of their lives (seeing as he also has his own children too)- that's fine with me.
And I don't mean it in a snarky way at all.
What about the birth mom?
Yep, well awhile ago I blogged about having found her and sending her an email.
I kept my email relatively short and to the point.
Pretty sure we know each other. I'm in Finland (hint: I won't come find you), married and have three kids (hint: pretty busy life here too) and have two dogs.
I've debated on trying to find you and if you don't wish to keep in contact with me - I completely understand and apologize for disturbing you.
It'd be nice to be friends."
So something along those lines and I hit send.
I held my breath for about 3 days and realized that because it went to her "Other" folder on Facebook, she probably won't see it.
I've tried finding her before online once I was married and settled in. But there were so many people on Facebook with the same name, and I didn't know if she was married or not (or changed her name) - so I had a hard time tracking her down.
But I wasn't too stressed about it because if it's meant to be - it'll happen. If not - keep truckin'.
Then for no reason other than to avoid some confusing Finnish homework and also to challenge myself in finding someone in the world - I did a search on Google for her name as I knew her and her graduating university.
A graduation registrar came up and I took that name and searched for her. Instantly I had who I was looking for and then I found her on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
Through the Google listings, I discovered I had a half-sister! Wow!
And possibly a brother (turned out to be her spouse)...again - double wow.
Will this change who I am or how I view her? Nah not really. So I sent that email off and waited.
Note: I didn't want to be one of those people sharing and exposing my face while holding a sign and a baby photo of myself (which I have none here) asking the millions of users on Facebook if they knew who my biological mother is. Not that there's anything wrong with searching for your birth family - but for me - that wasn't quite my style.
I got an email last Sunday evening from her and I was lying in bed waiting for M-Girl to sleep. (It was also the night before V-Man had his tubes surgery - so I was waiting to go to sleep too.)
I was asked some security questions to confirm my identity (when my birthday was, where I was born and where I grew up) and after I answered those - I held my breath.
I got a response confirming it was her and she was thrilled to have me contact her.
It was of course a shock for both of us but I'm learning a lot about her family (3 half sisters...!!!) and for her - I suppose a kind of insta-grandma status.
I don't know what would shock me more - 3 half siblings and a ton of cousins/uncles and a couple aunts being thrown in the mix - or finding out I have three grandchildren.
Probably the latter...yeah?
So it's been a few days and I'm simply in shock and happy that I finally found her- and we are taking things really slow.
We haven't Skyped yet -mostly because 2/3 of the half sisters don't know about me yet and that's fine for me.
I am continuing to call her by her first name because I think it's awkward for myself to call her "Mummy/Mom" and she understands that and is fine with it.
I went into this with 0 expectation because I know and have heard of people putting their children up for adoption because they didn't want to have a connection or because the child was created out of an unfortunate situation (ie rape) and while that wasn't my personal situation - I didn't know what to expect and I didn't want to get my hopes up. I also wanted to be respectful that she may have no interest in wanting to connect because it's been nearly 30 years and she has 3 daughters to care for and so on.
I'm learning now that it is possible to be friends with a relative and am very content with how things are going so far. It's given me some closure - although, yes I could probably have not searched and been just as content with my life.
It wasn't a life or death situation for me if I didn't have contact with either biological parent but I'm glad that I have because I've learned a lot from both and it helps me identify some things in myself that I couldn't understand before.
We have agreed that if we do fight over something or don't see eye-to-eye - then we will calm down and discuss it in a mature manner as we both don't want to toss away this connection over something petty - like what happened between my biological father and I.
I also told her (and am sharing with you here) that had she tried to find me and reached out when I was younger - I would have been mad.
"Why did you leave me? Did you not love me?" You know - hurtful questions would have flown out of my mouth.
But now that I'm older, I'm calmer and more mature and able to understand that it's not easy to give up a child or resist looking for them and contacting them because you don't want to interrupt everything they've ever known.
For me, it's not so personal that she left me with the parents I was raised with - I was raised well and I was loved and turned into a fairly decent person - so I think it's fine.
I had made myself a promise that if I ever did find her (or she finds me) - I would listen and be as understanding as I could be.
So far, it has been smooth sailing and there's no anger or stress - which helps a lot.
Everyone has their own lives to run and perhaps others to care for - so it can be upsetting or confusing to have to adjust your lifestyle to allow someone new into it.
I guess the biggest thing is to be realistic - nothing wrong with being hopeful - but certainly keep your toes on the ground when attempting to find your biological family.
So as much as I have a love/hate relationship with the Internet - I will admit this has solved some puzzles and has been a fairly positive thing.
Internet - you get +10 points.
PS - And in case you're wondering - no, this doesn't affect my relationship with my parents (who raised me) - at least in my opinion. They're still "Mom and Dad" - I just happen to have connected with another person in my life and am seeing where it goes.