Baby bird lost…

(this post may be very upsetting and even triggering for some. It’s just me working through some feelings, and while it may be dark, there is a proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel”)

When my kids were small, I used to read to them a lot.One of their favourites was a book named “Beaky” (sp.?) about a baby bird of paradise who falls from his nest as an egg and doesn’t know who he is. He tries being several different animals, including a fish and snake, before he sees another bird of paradise like him and realizes who he is.

I know it sounds silly, but right now I feel like little Beaky. Who am I? I keep thinking that, at age 47 I ought to know, and up until a few weeks ago, I thought I did.

Who am I?

I’m lots of things. I’m a mom to some amazing young adults who I am proud to now be able to call my friends as well as my kids, I’m a wife to a great guy whom I really love and I’m also a writer, as a hobby and by trade. I love to garden, look after my pets, travel and volunteer. I try and “do good” in in the world. I have fantastic parents ( although my mom passed away several years ago) and a brother, aunts, uncles and other relatives who I’m close to. I have a couple of undergraduate degrees and was a “military spouse” for many years until my husband retired.

I’m autistic and that does colour the way I see the world. I also have several serious chronic illnesses, but they are being managed well and other than being in pain most of the time ( and a bit cranky too…lol) , I’m able to function quite well.

This is me. There’s nothing spectacular, just average. Ordinary. Not really an outlier…until those few weeks ago. Now what am I?

A stranger to myself

That NPE result for me was just a few words. A few words that changed a lot. It’s not just a belief about myself that changed, it’s a whole lot more. It’s hard to explain, as really, it is only semantics. The problem is those semantics carry a huge weight.

Many times, if you ask about adoption, people think of a child who’s parents died, or maybe their mother and father were kids, too young to care for a baby. Either way, the new life was conceived in love, or at least a moment of consensual enjoyment. Many wouldn’t see how that could possibly taint the child.

Now, consider a baby conceived in circumstances like my mother’s. Sadly, there is a negative stigma attached to that baby. It is a child of incest, sexual assault and these words have no positives ( nor should they). Who hasn’t heard a joke about cousins who got married, etc.?

If all that is bad, then what does that say about me?

A dark place…

When you get right down to it, I suppose one of the parts of this whole “saga” is the fundamental feeling of rejection. I know there is no logic in that, but it’s hard not to feel that way. We’re always told how mothers love their children and will want to know they are doing well.

I don’t think mine does. If I am being completely honest with myself, I can understand why she couldn’t love me. What am I to here but a 47 year old reminder of her painful past. Would I feel any differently? I’d like to think I could, but I don’t know.

We’re also told our family will always be there for us. I don’t think mine will.
I don’t think I’ll ever see my biological mother or be held by her. This is something I think every child deserves, whether or not we stay with our biological mothers.

There is light in the darkness…

Just when I’m feeling really bad, something happens to let the light in. My dad calls to see how I’m doing and to talk. My kids come home from school or university and tell me about what they’re doing in their classes, my husband comes home and gives me a hug, my aunt calls for a chat, etc.

Those moments help bring clarity. I am very much loved, I do have a fmaily that cares and I was held by my mom. My real mom. The one who was there for me when I was sick, when I was growing up, when I was pulling the nonsense I did as a teen. She was there when I graduated high school and university, when I got married and when my kids were sick. I was able to be there for her at the end of her life.

I don’t even feel like I have a biological father. I just have a “sperm forcer” ( I can’t even call him a “donor”). My dad , just like my mom, was always there for me and still is.

That’s what really counts, and when I look at it form that perspective, I have been held by my real mom and dad.

As for who “I” am ? I am still the person I was before, and while I am not going to say I didn’t wish the circumstances of how I came to be weren’t different, they are what they are. I can choose to have the grace to learn to accept them, or I can choose to continue to be hurt,angry and fundamentally sad. Those are my choices, and the patch ahead is relatively clear.

For now, I’ll probably keep “riding the roller coaster” of the ups and downs of my NPE experience. My hope is that I can learn and grow from this and maybe even help someone else who is struggling.

And, of course, I would still like to meet my biological mother and family one day. I do think they’d be proud.






Another wave

I don’t know about anyone else who has received a finding like mine, but if they are anything like me, the feelings about it come in waves. There is no consistency. Just when I feel like I’m okay with it, I see, hear or think of something that brings back all the bad emotions, only worse.

Last night’s trigger

I’m a mom, and my older two are in university and writing their finals. Last night, I was sharing tea with my older daughter, and we were talking about an incident at her university where a student was followed home by a guy and had to run to the nearest building for help. We were discussing how frightening an experience that may have been, and I thought for a minute how I would feel if it had been one of my kids who had been in that situation.

I thought about how frightened I was be and also how angry at whoever it was that had hurt my child. I also thought about how terrible it would be for her.

Then it hit me. My biological mother may well have experienced something just as bad, and, truth be told, it was probably even worse. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have been assaulted by a member of her own fmaily. I know it sounds awful, but in some ways, I would rather believe she and a brother were innocently “exploring”, and it went too far. The other possibility is awful.

What was it like for her?

I feel terrible for what my biological mother may have gone through. When she found out she was pregnant, how did her mother react? If it was just consensual “exploration” with a brother, did the rest of her fmaily know the truth? What did they do when they found out that she was pregnant with me?

If she was being molested, did her mother know? Why didn’t she put a stop to it? How did she react when she found out what her son or husband had being doing? Their fmaily was really big, so I wonder how this impacted her siblings? Was she made to feel guilty and like it was her fault?

How would I feel?

After I went to be last night, I did a lot of thinking. How would I feel if it had been my daughter who became pregnant this way? How would I feel about the baby? I’d like to think I could somehow separate the child from their origin, but maybe I couldn’t? Would I be able to see or even think of them without the connection with how they came to be?

Reconciling ( sort of)

I plan on exploring the impact this #NPE finding has had on me as a person in a later post, so I’ll be brief on the topic.

Trying to reconcile who “I” am with how I came to be on this Earth is taking time. Intellectually, I know what happened to my biological mother isn’t my fault, but I can’t help feeling guilty. Quite frankly, it’s upsetting to know how much pain I caused for so many.

I know that, after a while, I’ll be okay with this, but it’s going to take some time.


Where I’m at today

So now you know my story. It’s not exactly pretty, but it is what it is. I found that out about a month and a half ago, and since then, I have been on the damned emotional roller coaster, which I can’t stand. It’s so confusing. Sometimes I feel like my genetic background doesn’t matter, and sometimes, I think it does. Most of the time I feel empathy and sadness for my biological mother, but every so often, the anger creeps in. I don’t want that. It’s not so much anger at her as anger at the whole situation.

Medical and health details please…

A big part of why I want to find my biological family is that I’m sick. I have a several serious autoimmune diseases, and the medical information could be really helpful. I could send away to the Ontario government, but from what my doctor told me, it tends to be loathe to release much information, and even if they release the scant medical information they have, it wouldn’t help. No one knew to look for these types of diseases back then.

Aside of knowing this information for myself, I would like it for my kids. For example, if I had known depression runs in my family, I may have been better prepared to watch for signs of it in my children, and my oldest wouldn’t have spiraled down the way she did. I would have known to watch for the signs of an autoimmune disease in my younger daughter, and she could have started treatment before the damage was done. She wouldn’t have been accused by an ER doc of using drugs and we could have gotten her treatment started sooner.

But you have some background already!

No, what I have is a sheet full of false details. I wasn’t born at 40 weeks gestation like my redacted birth certificate says. I was born two months premature. I was smaller than my redacted BC indicates, and the name of the women listed as my biological mother is also a lie.

The social history ? Why even bother. It’s nearly all made up. A fantasy either crafted to protect my biological mother, her family and maybe even me, although I doubt my feelings were high on the list of considerations. The story of a teenage romance that ended before my mother found out she was pregnant may sound nice and maybe even a bit romantic, but who does it help?

No one. That’s who. Why even bother saying anything at all?

The search begins

For anyone who would like to know, yes, I have started trying to find my biological family. I admit it’s both for medical reasons and curiosity. Ms. More was able to help me track them down and she and her team were even able to make me a family tree. It’s actually ironic in a sense because I, the unwanted child that many in the family/extended family don’t even know exists, know a whole lot more about the family and it’s genealogical background than many of them do.

Some might say that should be enough, and it could be that it will have to be.

Why?

Some of you may be asking why I feel this need to know my genetic heritage (for lack of a better term). My honest answer is that, aside of the medical information, I really don’t know why I want to know. I already have my adoptive fmaily whom I love very much. They are my mom and dad. My biological mother, right now, is nothing to me. She’s a stranger.

As for my biological father?

In the ‘social history” prepared for me and my adoptive parents when they adopted me,my biological father was dating my biological mother. He was a nice guy and a good listener, but was a bit older than she was ( a couple of years). There was a physical description of him as well as his age and the country he lived in. I used to joke he came up this way as a draft dodger. Boy was I wrong! The porblem became the lack fo information beyond this allowed my mind to build up all sorts of scenarios, some good, some bad. I never thought the truth woudl be what it was.

When I was in university, I took a sociology course, and one of the topics covered was serial killers. The assigned reading was a text about the psychology/social development of a psychopath, and in the back of my mind I would wonder, ” what if one of these men is my biological father…what would that mean for me? Will I end up like him?”.

Turns out, the reality isn’t much better. While my biological father may not be a killer, he’s still a pervert ( i don’t know the correct term for a man who molests his daughter and gets her pregnant or a brother who molests his sister and gets her pregnant, so I’m using “perv”. While I’m no “perv”, I cna’t help but wonder what all this means , long term for me and my kids, two of whom are now adults.

So what now?

So here I am, stuck in the middle of trying to come to terms with all of this and also attempting to figure out what to do next. I have made a couple of small attempts at contact, but I’m not sure what the best approach to all of this is.

If you’re reading this and have any advice, I’d be more than happy to hear it. Right now, I can use all the help I can get.





Why so glum?

The day I found out about my NPE is one I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I had been looking around on several research sites, and found Genesis, I uploaded my raw data and waited to see the results. I had no idea I was taking the lid off Pandora’s Box.

What’s with all the red, green and blue?

One of the utilities I could try was ” AYRP” . Without paying much attention, I uploaded my kit number and waited the two or three seconds for the results to appear. At first, I had no idea what all the green, blue and red meant. All I know is there sure were a lot of those colours.

Why are my blocks so big?

What the utility presented to me was my pairs of chromosomes and whether or not they showed what are called ” long runs of homozygosity “. Areas on the chromosomes that match show up as green and if they are long areas that match, they show up as blue.

For most people, the colours are mostly red with tiny sections of green spread out. There is no blue at all. Mine were so different! There was a ton of green and an awful lot of blue.

What did that mean? I got my answer at the bottom of the page.

What the @#$% ?

As I read through the results, I wasn’t making heads or tails from it, but at the bottom there was the explanation that would be my NPE surprise.

There, in plain, dry black and white language was the answer.

My parents are related.

Needless to say, I freaked out. What did “related” mean in this context? Were they cousins or even closer? Had my biological mother been sexually abused? If I did try and find her, what would I even say to her? Would she hate me? What did that mean for my health and the health of my own children?

I had no idea the roller coaster I had just bought a ticket for and how much it would teach me about institutionalized deception, abuse, the adoption process and also that there really are an awful lot of really kind and generous people in the world.

An open invitation…

As I have mentioned already, I welcome input from anyone who is going through their own perosnal NPE experience. Whether r you are an adoptee who found out your biological parent aren’t who you thought, you have experienced an unexpected paternity result or you have been impacted by an NPE in some other way, please feel free to share your story as a guest poster.

I’d also love to hear form a woman who has been in the same ( or similar) shoes as my biological mother. Your story needs to be heard too.




So What’s Your Story Anyway?

I’d prefer to remain a anonymous, and when you find out why, I think you’ll understand.

In the beginning…

A little less than 47 years ago, I was adopted as an infant by my mom and dad who already had an adopted son. They were really wonderful parents, and I had a normal enough childhood.

They had always told me that I was adopted, and the way my parents framed it was they had wanted a little girl to love, and when they saw me, they knew I was the right little girl for their family. I knew right from the start I was adopted, and my mom and dad told me my biological parents were young and couldn’t care for a child. They felt that giving me up would give me a better life, so that’s the decision they made.

The early years…

When I turned 12, my mom and dad gave me all the records and other information they had regarding my adoption and we went through it together. They told me if I ever wanted to start trying to find my biological family, they would help me in any way they could.

I didn’t feel the need to. I felt secure in my family, and didn’t feel any real sense of curiosity. In my mind, I built up a picture of what my biological family was like, what they were doing and where they lived. It was nothing special, just ordinary, but it was comforting to know they were out there somewhere if I ever wanted to look.


What changed?

I lived my life. I finished high school graduated from university, got married and started a family. Due to being a military family, we moved around a lot, and eventually moved to the city with the base that would be my husband’s last posting. We started to put down roots, bought a home but then my mom got sick.

My mom passed away from cancer, and then, one by one, my kids started getting sick. Then I became ill, and it was all autoimmune related. We weren’t getting many answers about why this was happening, so I decided to try and find some.

I sent away for my original birth certificate and signed up with a site to have my DNA tested to try and find some relatives. I had to wait a few weeks, but the results eventually arrived.

I admit I was getting really excited, and even my husband, kids, dad, and aunt were also on pins and needles. I got my birth certificate and a few days later, my DNA results were in. I thought I might get some answers.

The elation

I logged into Ancestry and was greeted with lots of matches. All of a sudden, I had a whole slew of biological cousins! Without understanding that a fourth, fifth or sixth cousin is actually quite distantly related, I started contacting as many as I could. They were all friendly and kind, but couldn’t help.

That’s when I started to notice that, compared to a lot of people, I had relatively few cousins, but I didn’t know why. I brushed it off and decided to take a closer look at my birth certificate.

That was the first sign something was wrong.

The deflation

When I compared my original birth certificate with the one my parents had been given, I learned several things. First, I learned I had been born two months premature. My second birth certificate lied about that. I also had my mother’s last name and some other information, but it wasn’t adding up at all with what my family had been given.

I looked for women with her name from the community listed as being her home town, and found nothing useful. I tried reaching out to people with her last name, but all I ended up doing was consoling a man who was my age and who had just found out he was adopted. I was able to help him a bit, so I guess that’s one good thing from this whole mess.

I sort of had this image in my mind that I would find my biological mother and we’d connect. I could ask questions of her, she could ask them of me and we could go from there. I thought the same things about my biological father. I wasn’t expecting sunshine and roses, but it would have been a positive experience.

I had no idea it could get so complicated




What Makes an NPE so Upsetting?

Some people out there may be wondering why and NPE would be such difficult news? After all, it doesn’t really change a person. They will still be who they always were, and after all, your life is what you make of it, isn’t it?

Yes and no.

While it is certainly true that many of the important things in life are self determined, on a very fundamental level, our DNA is what makes us what we are. It’s the foundation for all of the rest. Disturb that foundation, and it can really shake a person.

What’s it like when this happens?

In was adopted. That was the world as I knew it. I was fine with with somewhat nebulous idea in my mind of what my parents were like. In my imagination, they were a nice couple, in love but not ready to have a child. I liked to think they thought it was hard to give me up, but did it because they knew it was what was best for me.
While it’s possible, at least in the case of my mother, this was true, my reality is now very different.

For me, finding out that my biological family isn’t what I thought it was took away what was a very comforting fantasy. I never pictured my biological parents as being anyone important, famous or even out of the ordinary. They were just average.

“The Unpleasant Realities”

A friend of mine who was also adopted and I jokingly refer to ourselves as”the unpleasant realities”. Like me, she is a NPE. Her mother was sexually assaulted by several men, and she was the result. She learned all this when she decided to look into her background and found out the truth.

My origin was under different circumstances, but the end result is the same. A person in their late 40’s trying to understand where they came from.

How does it feel?

I can’t speak about how anyone else feels, just myself. For me, it completely blew away the scenario I had in my head of what meeting my biological family would be like. While I didn’t think it would be easy, I had thought it would be a positive experience.

Now, I’m not so sure. If I do find my Biomother (biological mother), it may well bring up some very traumatic feelings for her. Add tot hat the fact that I have no idea if she even knows I’m alive, as some women who gave their child up back then in what is referred to by some as the baby scoop era” were told their son or daughter was either stillborn or had passed away during the birth process. It was though to be easier if they never got to see or hold their baby.

Can I really approach this woman, out of the blue, and tell her I’m the daughter she gave up all those years ago?

I’m debating that right now.

If you’ve been in this situation, what did you do? If you found your genetic parent, what happened? What it positive, negative or neither?