Found and Lost
It’s backwards from the usual but it makes sense here.
In a year when so many of us have experienced loss, 2020 gave me the opportunity to find. I have been able to find my focus in business, I have found understanding of some of my life’s situations. I found the woman who chose an adoption plan for me and better understand the magnitude of her sacrifice and the gift she gave to my parents.
I must believe that finding her was made easy through technology, government intervention and divine reason. I always believed that the search was going to be long, drawn out and would probably not end the way I hoped. Within a year of searching in earnest, mission complete and I now have an extended, new part of my family that can only enhance the person I am, through our connecting and sharing of our lives’ stories.
I have found not only my birth mother, but her wonderful husband and some people close to them (not easy in a time of social distancing and lockdowns). I am learning about my grandmother and what an amazing life she led, “Dahlink”. When beginning my search, a DNA test connected me with a gentleman whose last name I tried not to mess up, who was kind enough to take time from his busy life to help me connect some dots. Almost too good to be true, he is extensively involved in genetics and history, his understanding and contacts made the search end quickly.
Through DNA, a finally opened adoption record and his colleagues who knew what questions to ask, we determined that said gentleman was my uncle, he had two sisters living in New York and his father was still alive.
Once names were determined, my uncle asked his father who remembered a young post-war love – “She was beautiful!” He recalled, over seventy years after they parted. He knew of their daughter, but timings and circumstance did not allow them to meet. He was still living overseas after a well-traveled life, successful career, and long marriage.
My original contact with my birth mother arrived at her door at a complicated time. When I didn’t receive any correspondence right away, I of course assumed that this was indeed not going to go the way I hoped. I contacted my uncle and said, “If nothing else happens on my end, if we could at least get her to meet her dad – that would be great.” Life of course always has other plans and over the summer, my uncle and I both held off trying to contact my birth mom again. I knew that my grandfather was well into his 90’s and I felt bad that we had gotten this far – I feared for a lost opportunity.
Technology being what it is now, a Zoom call with my uncle and two aunts was an amazing introduction to three incredibly fascinating people. Millions of questions will be asked when we can all gather safely down the road, but we all wanted their father to meet his daughter. At the beginning of September, my second letter went out – as only I could – with a copy of the first (in case it was never received), some pictures and all the legal papers. Within a day of receiving that letter, I was on the phone for an hours long phone call with my birth mom.
Among the gifts I was able to be part of, my uncle and aunts got to “Zoom meet” their sibling (my uncle is happy that he’s no longer the oldest!) and arrangements would be made to have their father on a call with all of us ASAP.
A birthday video conference with all of us (with new cousins for me as well) and we were able to make a connection over seventy years in the making. Grandfather was very sharp and knew exactly who the two new faces were. He ended the call telling us he loved us and was happy to see us. An amazing day indeed!
Now for the lost… Grandfather’s brother died in the 1918 Flu Pandemic. He commented to his children how he lost him to something we were now going through once again. I had so hoped that we all would have been able to take a plane ride and meet in person, but COVID had other plans. Reading a Presidential memoir in French a few weeks ago, even surrounded by his books and papers when diagnosed, vibrant and sharp with clarity of a brilliant mind until a virus changed his course.
Grandfather passed last Friday. My new family celebrates the life of a father they knew, and I look forward to connecting with them and hearing of his life well-lived.
Jane connects powerful women with an international network of “Phenomenal Message Makers”. Resources, connections, opportunities and trainings to help them clarify their message or brand, increasing their visibility, and growing their audience. Join her Facebook Group, Phenomenal Message Makers, for tips & downloads on focusing & promoting your message. Read more of Jane’s writings at BrainzMagazine.com, in her upcoming collaborative book, Voices of the 21st Century: Resilient Women Who Rise (release date February 23, 2021) or at janeparmel.com.
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