Is Blood Really Thicker Than Water?

My Other Family

I am the product of teenage sex. An unwanted pregnancy. My biological parents gave into temptation, as teenagers often do. The result would soon be me. Having an unwed pregnant daughter in 1963 Tulsa, Oklahoma was more than my biological grandmother could stand. She gave her daughter a choice, give me up for adoption or find another place to live.

I can only imagine what my biological mother went through. She ultimately made the only choice she could, and gave me up for adoption. I can see this now as an adult. The one thing most adoptive children seem to have in common is a strong sense of abandonment. While I can rationalize this, I seldom deal with it effectively.

I was never orphaned – I was immediately adopted by my parents. My Uncle Perry, the doctor, arranged the private adoption. I’ve always said that while my biological parents are the reason I exist, it is my parents that gave me life.

My Mom let me know at a relatively early age that I was adopted. Why? I don’t know. It’s made life interesting. Doctor visits have become increasingly frustrating as I age and am having health issues. I am an island of one. Family history? None, I’m adopted. What’s your best guess, Doc?

When I reached adulthood, my Dad gave me my “family” name. He thought I had a right to know. I never followed up. I have always wondered what my biological parents were like. Did I look like them? Do we share the same characteristics? How much of who I am is environment, and how much is genes?

I fantasized about finding out where my biological parents were, and sitting across the street secretly watching them. Do they ever think of me? Do they want to know me? Or am I a living representative of a bad time in their lives best left in the past? Engaging them would be completely out of the question.

Now, the curious thing is that my one of my Aunt’s, my Dad’s brother’s wife, is somehow related to my biological family. Her brothers, sisters, uncles cousin once removed, or something like that. Every chance she had, my Aunt would try to get me to bite. Comments like “Blood is thicker than water” and “You almost look like one of us” became part of our ritual.

Several years back, during a visit to my Aunt’s home, she wore me down. I asked her for what she knew. She put me in contact with someone that could get me information about my biological family. Was I in for a shock...

I received a letter giving me my biological mother and father’s name, and last known address. Turns out they later got married, and had three more children. I have three sisters. Let me repeat that. I have three sisters. My biological mom, dad and sisters were living in Tulsa, although mom and dad are no longer together. Included in the letter were photos of the girls as children. I had never thought about siblings. Now the sense of abandonment feels more like betrayal. Yes, I know this is not rational. The feeling is there still the same.

I mentioned to my Mom and Dad what I had learned, and indicated I might at some point want to contact my biological family. This upset my Mom tremendously. I suppose from her point of view she felt I was saying that she wasn’t good enough. This couldn’t be further from the truth…I simply need to know where I came from. Based on Mom’s reaction, all information gathering immediately ceased.

Mom told me then that my biological grandmother had a change of heart after my birth and apparently turned my Uncle Perry’s life into a living hell - threatening everything she could to find out about her granddaughter. But a closed adoption is a closed adoption, and my Uncle knew without doubt that I was in a warm and loving home.

My biological mom is apparently a nurse. I found this out after I had seriously contemplated nursing school. I couldn’t keep the period table of elements straight, and the thought of injecting someone with a needle made me ill. Nursing would not be my career of choice.

The need to reach out to them has never quite made it to my “Must Do” list, nor has it entirely gone away. Tulsa is an easy drive from the Dallas area. I know that one day my curiosity will get the better of me, and I will find myself impulsively driving up I-35 with little or no plan on what happens when I get there, or what I will find. Quite often the best things in life happen when you break the mold and do the unexpected. That’s been my experience anyway.

Maybe tomorrow….or next year. Someday. Maybe…

Life Is A Highway!

Comments 14 comments

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

Sounds like you have great parents, although it's obviously still hard for you.

Did you parents adopt other children as well?

LorenaGerlach profile image

LorenaGerlach 8 years ago from Dallas, TX Author

Yes, I have a younger brother.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

Do you think your parents were right to tell you early on you were adopted? I've read before that people who aren't told as children have a much harder time.

LorenaGerlach profile image

LorenaGerlach 8 years ago from Dallas, TX Author

I don't know when a good time is to tell a child this information. I think elementary school is a bit young for a child to comprehend everything. It was for me. My Mom asked about telling my brother after she told me. I suggested she wait until he was older than I was. I'm not sure when he was told. Our relationship never changed.

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Upstatemomof3 8 years ago

Your parents seem great. Personally, I would have gone into a rage on the aunt who went around making those comments if you were my daughter. My son is adopted and I often find myself yelling at people for saying things like that.

LorenaGerlach profile image

LorenaGerlach 8 years ago from Dallas, TX Author

My parents are great. I never told them what my Aunt was doing - I probably should have. She didn't do this while I was a child. It started when I was a young adult. Sometimes acknolwedgement of this behavior is the worst thing you can do.

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Upstatemomof3 8 years ago

You are totally right. I often have trouble keeping my mpouth hut though. Iam from a big Irish family - none of us know when to be quiet. :)

LorenaGerlach profile image

LorenaGerlach 8 years ago from Dallas, TX Author

Ha! My Mom is French, so i totally get passion! I'm sure you are a great mom. It takes a wonderful heart to bring someone into your home and love them as your own.

KFOWLER profile image

KFOWLER 7 years ago from Broken Arrow, OK 74014


KFOWLER profile image

KFOWLER 7 years ago from Broken Arrow, OK 74014

Hi Lorena, I read your story again and again. If you ever start driving up I-35...let me know and I will start down I-35 and we can meet half-way. No plans here either..just wing it. I am very sorry to hear about your Dad...sounds like he was a wonderful man.

Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 7 years ago from Massachusetts

Lorena, I often read adoptees' stories because one of my grown children was adopted in infancy. Something that adoptees so often seem to think (and it isn't for me to second-guess this "across-the-board") is that mothers feel kind of insulted, insecure, or threatened if/when the matter of meeting the birth mother/family arises.

As an adoptive mother, I always wish adoptees would realize that sometimes mothers aren't at all threatened or insulted (or whatever) for themselves. They can be super-sure of their relationship with their child. What I found was that any ambivalence I had about my son's knowing more about, and meeting, the "birth people" wasn't about me. It was about my worries about what he would discover, whether his whole world would be "rocked" by discovering some really ugly facts about his beginnings, and whether or not these people (not exactly "pillars-of-the-community") would hurt him in some way yet again (which, in the end, they did far more than I had imagined). Adoptive mothers are usually pretty solid emotionally and grown-up. I was prepared for the "information/reunion thing" from the day I adopted my son. Adoptees shouldn't worry that their parents haven't processed this matter and aren't prepared for it.

Blood may have a thicker consistency than water does, but I'm not sure there isn't more to be said for the fact that water can have far more purity. I just know that with my own son and his two siblings (whom I had myself), it has never been about blood or water anyway. It has been about the bond between parent and child - and that's not water. :)

ceholmes profile image

ceholmes 6 years ago from Chicago

betrayal is very painful, I understand where you are coming from as an adoptive adult myself..even if it is not rational, great hub!! enjoyed the read.

instantlyfamily profile image

instantlyfamily 5 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing your touching story. I wish you all the best on your lifes journey.

WindingPaths profile image

WindingPaths 5 years ago from Michigan

please don't wait for that trip!! You can decide to never contact them again after the first visit, and you may not be warmly welcomed...but one of these days it will be too late. If I just had the information you have! I am an adoptee and I have both given birth and adopted, so I can see both sides of the spectrum. If you do go on that visit; please post and tell us about it!

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