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…