Finding My Place In The Family Tree

Finding myself. Finding my place. Finding where I belong.

I never imagined I would be almost 35 and still trying to figure this out. I spent my entire life wondering, dreaming, day dreaming, wishing and hoping. My entire life I felt out of place. Any time I was out I was scanning the crowds for someone, anyone, that looked like me. Searching for a hint of something familiar. Where did I belong? Who did I belong to? Where did I come from? What was my story? What is my family’s story?

I spent nearly 10 years searching for my answers. And when I thought I had them I felt more lost than I ever had. I accepted my fate that I would forever feel lost and out of place, something was missing. I vowed to myself that I would move on. And I did. I let go of my hopes and dreams for a happy reunited family. I let go of the idea that I would find some magical place that was right for me, where I belonged, where I was finally free to be me, to know me, to truly know me. To know where I came from, who I belonged to, and what my story was. I gave up and I moved on. I made my own happy little family. Forever missing a piece of myself, but I was happy, and content. The aching was still there, but it was a dull hum, no longer a loud thunder following me around.

And now here I am. I have my answers. My truths. My absolute truths. I’m learning my stories. I’m learning family stories, my family stories. But here’s the thing; I still don’t know where I belong. What if I never do? What if I am forever feeling split and missing.

I got sent a family tree. My family tree. And it was amazing. It was beautiful. It was absolutely stunning. It was the most wonderful thing, and it completely ripped my heart apart and took away my breathe. This was the family I was robbed of. This is the family I missed out on for the last 35 years. This is the family I lost and I am now just learning about and grieving.

For the first time in my life I could see in writing where I belong, where I came from, my family line, my family legacy. I was able to look back to see MY Great-Great-Great Grandparents. And you know what else I saw, no one I knew and no one that knew me. I saw family connections. I saw family stories. I saw a family legacy. I saw love. But I didn’t see where I actually belonged, beyond where the DNA told me I did.

My entire life all I have ever wanted was to feel whole, to know what it was like to know who I was and where I came from, to know who I belonged to. And now I do, but at the same time, I feel lost. Maybe its because this is all still new. Maybe its because I’m almost 35 and I’ve missed out on so much. I wish I knew. My heart, my soul, my mind, my body are all so tired, it all aches. It aches and longs to know where I belong. To for once, not feel out of place.

As I sit here staring at this family tree, trying to find my place, and realizing just how many family trees I am connected to and apart of. I don’t just have a family tree, I have a whole damn family orchard, and I’m getting lost among the trees.

~ Michelle

Silver Linings Necklace

I’ve been getting so many messages with questions about a new necklace I posted on my social media. So instead of replying individually again and again. I’m going to take this time just to write a post about it and share with all of you.

My adoption search, journey, whatever you want to call it, it hasn’t been easy. At times it defiantly didn’t feel worth it. At times I wished I had never even bothered with it. One time I even gave up with my search. I thought my searched ended 7 years ago. I closed that chapter and walked away from it.

In February everything changed. You can read about it Here and Here. Needless to say, it’s been a whirlwind of a few months. I am still trying to process it all and wrap my head around it all. It’s truly been so surreal.

Just before my 35th birthday I can finally say that I truly do know my roots, where I come from, and who I look like. And can I just say I still find it completely weird and surreal to actually look like someone else? To see pieces of me in other people?! Its so weird, and so wonderful. I never realized that seeing people that look like you could bring you such comfort. Like I said, it’s weird.

These last few months have been so emotional on so many levels. I can’t even properly put it all into words. Everything happening at once, learning that the family I thought I was part of I wasn’t, trying to figure out where I belonged, doing a DNA test, meeting my bio Dad for the first time and then put into lockdown and isolation. It has all been a lot.

So, that brings us to my new necklace.

My silver lining. Get it, because its a silver bar necklace. I know, so clever, right?! So here’s what my necklace is and why I got it. Its a silver bar necklace with the date of the first time I met my bio Dad, and on the other side are the coordinates to where we first met. This entire lockdown has been stressful and emotionally draining all on its own, mix in not being able to see these amazing new people I just found out I’m connected to, and its been a whole new level of hell for me. So I got this necklace. This necklace holds several meanings to me. It’s my silver lining. That, even though my adoption search was complete shit, that it was so hard and ended so badly (or so I thought) that there is a silver lining to it all, I found him and his/my family. That even though I can’t see my bio Dad at least I got to meet him once before all this, and that means more to me than I can ever express. Its for the first time I met him and my whole world changed, the first time I felt like I belonged and felt complete. It’s my silver lining, knowing that I can’t see him now, but at least I know who he is (finally), and will be able to see him again. It represents and holds meaning for all the things I can’t put into words yet, all the things that have changed for me. That day was so much more than just simply meeting someone for the first time. Everything changed for me that day, I was effected in ways and changed in ways I never thought possible. And it all comes down to that day and that place.

Who would have thought one small necklace could mean so much? Pretty crazy, huh?

For the people messaging me and asking why, because I already got the adoption tattoo. I got my adoption tattoo long before I even found my birth mother, let alone my bio Dad. So yes, well he is automatically represented in my tattoo, I felt something else special needed to be done to recognize the date I met him and for everything else that changed for me. And honestly if the world was open I would have ended up with another tattoo, which I will probably still get at some point. But for now, I have my necklace.

So stay home, stay safe. Wash your hands. And hopefully soon we will be able to be with friends and family again.

~Michelle

Finding The Final Pieces

I think its safe to say my adoption search for my birth parents is finally over. 17 years after my search first started. 7 years after finding my birth mother, I finally know who my birth father is. For the first time, at age 34, I can finally answer the most basic questions, who’s your birth father and who do you look like.

See, two weeks ago shit hit the fan. You can read about that here.

The last two weeks are a blur. In two weeks everything changed. I lost the family I thought I had, and found a whole new one. I’m still trying to process it all. What it all means. All the new connections I have, all the new family members I have.

Adoption

My Adoption Tattoo

How can you even begin to process all this?

I know there are adoptees and birth parents and adoptive parents that read my blog and reach out to me. And how I wish I had some words of wisdom here. But the truth, I have no freakin idea what to do, how to process this, what the next steps should be, how to handle them.

I have so many conflicting emotions, all the feelings, its hard to sort them out and see clearly. I don’t know which to follow, which will subside, I don’t know what to embrace and what to let go.

Maybe if this journey had been spread out, and I had more time to deal with the feelings as they came on, instead of everything happening in one day.

In one day, everything changed. Then I had to wait two weeks for results from a paternity test. The longest two weeks ever. It was torture. I was talking to a stranger, spending hours every day talking to him, getting to know him, not knowing what the DNA test would say. I was mad at myself every day for getting attached to this person that could potentially turn out to have no connection to me. Then we got the results. We match. We are without a doubt Father and Daughter. And now here we are. Here I am, trying to process. Trying to figure out what I want and need, while considering everyone else. Yes this is my story, my journey, but it doesn’t just affect me. It affects my kids, my husband, my family, my birth father, his wife, his family. My circle just got so much bigger, and I want to take care of it, and do right by everyone.

Everyone keeps asking how I am. And I say fine, good, alright. Every answer, but the truth. Not because I’m lying, but because I don’t know. I honestly can not tell you how I feel. Part of me wants to run to these people, part of me wants to hide, part of me is happy, part of me is scared. So very scared. Scared something bad will happen. Even scared something good will happen. Figure that one out? If you do, let me know, because I can’t explain that one. You get the point. Every conflicting feeling, I have it right now.

The last time I found a birth parent, it didn’t go well. I thought I had all my answers. I thought I had all the dots connected. And I was ready to close the book on that chapter and leave it behind me. I basically did. I had walked away. I had gotten on with my life and came to terms with it. I was not prepared for all this. I never dreamed this was even a possibility.

And through out all of this, all I can think of is the damn song from Frozen 2: “Into The Unknown”. And also “When I am Older”. Because maybe one day this will all make sense and I will understand why things happened the way they did. Why I had to go through so much pain first. Why I had to wait till I was 34 for answers. Why it happened this way.

~ Michelle

I took a DNA test and found out that my adoption journey and search isn’t over yet 7 years after I thought I found my birth family.

If you have been following along with this blog you will know that adoption is near and dear to my heart. I am adopted, you can read about that here and I am also a birth mother, you can read about there here. I even have an Adoption Tattoo.

Adoption

I knew my entire life that I was adopted. There was no moment that stands out as “the moment” that everything changed and I found out. My family talked very openly about it. When I turned 18 I began the legal search for my birth mom and hoped that she would lead me to my birth father. As my birth father was not aware of the adoption, or me, he was not on any paper work, or at least thats what my paperwork said. It took nearly 10 years to track down my birth mother (Don’t even get me started on the government and the stupid ways they handle adoption and records). That was about 7 years ago. She was able to tell me about my birth father. Finally I would get answers and learn about my roots and where I came from.

Finding out about my birth father was a hard pill to swallow. Finding out that he did in fact know about me my entire life and wanted nothing to do with me was hard. Dealing with that rejection was hard. But at least through him I did find a half sister. We bonded and got to know each other. For the past 7 years I’ve talked to her off and on, watched my nephew grow. I’ve talked to other relatives, aunts and uncles and cousins. Then my birth father died. I had never once talked to him or met him, but still I mourned his death. I was so angry with him for so long. For years I held so much anger towards him.

And then last year my son I gave up for adoption did a DNA test on one of those sites. He was curious to see what his ethnicity was. Because even though he knows who his birth parents are, both of his birth parents are actually adopted as well. So even though I am in my sons life I can not give him certain answers. A few months later my sons mother offered to buy me a DNA test on the same site so that we would be able to determine which side of the family comes from where. So I did. I didn’t think anything of it really. I didn’t expect much out of it. I figured I knew. I was doing it for my son.

So I got my results. I didn’t really check the DNA matches since I figured I knew what would be there. But then I noticed something as the matches started coming in. No one had the same last name that my birth father had. So I searched through the over 6000 matches on the site, no one had his last name. It didn’t even show up in peoples family trees as a distant relative. The truth started to sink in. The man I believed to be my birth father, the man I had been so angry at, the sister I had gotten to know, they weren’t actually related to me at all. She’s not my sister. He’s not my birth father.

A part of me didn’t want to deal with that. A part of me just said “hey maybe no one in that family has ever signed up on this site. Thats possible. They all know each other, so why would they.”

One morning I woke up to a message “Hi, it looks like I’m your cousin” and she proceeded to fill me in on so much family history that that was clear that she was not related to my birth mother and no possible way to be related to who I had believed was my birth father.

I tried to talk to my birth mom about it. She insisted that he was my birth father, until I told you about the DNA test site. And the truth came out.

And now here I am, at the age of almost 35, and after 10 years of searching, 7 years of accepting what I thought were truths, getting to know people, mourning a death, I am back to square one. I have no idea who my birth father is. I never thought this would happen. I never thought I would search for so long for a family just to have them taken away again and start all over.

So apparently my adoption story is not over. Not even close. My journey continues.

And now I deal with trying to find my actually real birth father, and possibly being rejected again and going through that all over again.

Michelle

I Am A Birth Mother, That Does Not Make Me A Bad Person

I have an Adoption Tattoo on my arm. I don’t try to hide it. I am proud of it, and I am proud of what it represents.

Adoption

I am an Adoptee and I am Birth Mother and I will share my story with anyone who asks and will listen.

When people see my tattoo they are always interested to know what it means. As soon as they find out I am adopted it brings on a slew of questions and remarks, always good things. Some such remarks I have heard are “Wow that is amazing. You are so lucky you found a good home. That is such a beautiful story.”
However when those same people that get so excited and happy that I was adopted as a baby find out I am a birth mother everything changes. Those same people will suddenly take a step back, look me up and down, shake their head and walk away. Sometimes they will even say things like “How dare you! How could you do that to your baby?” and storm off.

As long as someone views me as some helpless baby that got “taken in” or “rescued” its sweet and cute even. However as soon as they learn that I gave up a baby for adoption I am suddenly a bad person. I am here to tell you that that is not the case, not even close.

Birth parents are not bad people. We are not heartless. We do care. We do love our children. We did what was best for our children, even if that wasn’t what we wanted to do, we had to put our children first.

I had my son when I was 17. There was no way I could give him the life he deserved. I wanted the best for him. I wanted to give him a better chance at life. I wanted him to have a life that I knew in my heart that I could not give him.

Did I want to keep my son? Did I want to be the one that he calls Mom? Did I want to be the one he cries for when he’s scared, hurt or sick? YES. A million times yes.
Did my heart break into a million pieces every day of my pregnancy knowing how it would end? Did my heart completely destroy itself when I had to walk out of that hospital empty handed while I watched another woman walk away with my son, her son? YES. A million time yes.

I sacrificed my own heart, my own feelings and my own dreams so that my son could have what he deserved. So he could have more than what I could give him.

I am not heartless, I am not mean, I am not a bad person.

I am a birth mother. I put my sons needs before my own.

I sacrificed everything so my son could have a better life.

So next time you find out someone is a birth mother, think before you speak, find out her story.

~ Michelle

Adoption Tattoo 

3 years ago I got my first tattoo it is of the Adoption Symbol. The three sides of the tattoo represent 1. The Birth Parents, 2. The Parents Adopting, 3. The Child. All included in the one heart for the love they all share.

I got this on my left forearm, right where my baby’s head was cradled the very first time I got to hold him before he was placed for adoption.
I’m Adopted and A Birth Mother so this tattoo represents SO many people. First off it represents my Birth Parents, My Parents, and myself, it also represents my Son, the amazing Parents that adopted him, and again myself.

For personal reasons there is no coloring, no extra images, or flare to it. I didn’t want anything to take away from the meaning of it. And didn’t want anything to ‘glamorize it’ as being a Birth Mother is not an easy thing, it’s the hardest thing I have ever had to do and don’t find anything ‘glamorous’ about it.

~ Michelle

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