Wednesday, September 1, 2010

From Where We Came

About 5 years ago, my adad started doing a lot of family history research. He decided that all of his children needed to know where they came from. He found cousins that he never knew and learned all about great, great great, great great great and even great great great great grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. He compiled all of his hours of research into these binders with pictures and biographical information and gave each of his kids one for Christmas one year. The binders were titled "From Where We Came". He was so proud of them...and he should have been. He put a lot of work into it. The binders were very informative. He felt so strongly that his children needed all of this information so they could know about their genealogy and where they came. I agree. I was just waiting for him to pull out MY binder with MY genealogy in it. Lucky for me, I didn't hold my breath.

That Christmas, I will never forget sitting down with my brother and sister and flipping through the pages of Great Great Great Grandpa George and his brother Fred and Fred's wife Helen and their 8 children.... As everyone was oohing and awing over their family, I couldn't help but feel more and more separate from them. The more pictures we looked at and the more information I read, the heavier my heart felt. The more curious I became. I wanted to know about MY genes, MY family and where I came from. But, I never said a word. I just quietly flipped through the pages of another family's history and imagined what it would be like to know half of this information about my own.

Since my re-reunion with my mom, I have kept my kids out of it, for the most part. I was a little skeptical if this was for real or not, so I wanted to give it some time before I got them involved. I can risk being hurt, but I try my best to protect my children.

I have talked to my oldest about my mom. She still vaguely remembers her. She talks about her dog and jumping on the trampoline and playing with her older cousins at her mom's house. She knows that she's my mom and I grew in her tummy. She seems to get all that. Well, my daughter's birthday was a month ago and my mom sent her a gift. I was surprised at my daughter's reaction to the gift. Not so much the gift itself, but who it was from. She was thrilled to be receiving something from her natural grandmother. She told me several times that she could not believe that she remembered her and she needed to send her a thank you note. A week or so later we were with my amom and my daughter brings up the gift she got from her "other grandma". I cringed when I heard her start talking about it because I knew the direction it would take. I was just waiting for my mom to blow up. But, she didn't. Right then and there, my daughter starts asking more questions about her, why she didn't keep me, where has she been all these years, and so on. I answered them and my amom just quietly listened. My daughter ended the conversation by saying that we really need to go see her. Wow! Like they say..."Out of the mouths of babes..." I'm sure that will not be the end of it, as far as a reaction from my amom, but I'm also glad my daughter brought it up. I'm glad that she was not afraid to speak up, ask questions, and be heard.

I say this a lot, but it's so, so true. There are too many times in my life that I want to scream out loud how much I hate adoption. Whether it's sitting on the couch staring at someone elses family tree or explaining to my daughter why my own mother couldn't keep me, the conversations and confusion that arise due to it never, ever end. It affects so many people. The bottom line?...EVERYONE wants to know where they come from and who their family is. Even as children, everyone is curious. Not that it's a new revalation for me. It's always been important to me. However, unlike my daughter, I was always too scared to speak up. I never had a voice of my own, but I'm so glad that she does and I'm even more glad that she's not afraid to be heard.


  1. Aren't daughters amazing?
    So sad for you with the geneaology books, what a shame they weren't tactfully given at some other time and individually.Where we came from is so important, I never seem to stop saying it.

  2. Jen, I loved the post. To me, family is the most important thing. My father taught me that, even though he often did not live it. I took the lessons to heart.

    My family is huge, continent encompassing and so diverse culturally that it is a little weird to look at the family lines. We have a world tree.

    I wish my daughter was interested. I was sure that she would be so happy to learn that I had placed her and her husband(s) on the tree, along with her children. But when I try to talk to her about it, she is not interested at all.

    Sadly, every time she cuts me out of her life for whatever reason (usually one I don't know), she cuts out all of the family. Even the ones that she did meet. Her sons, they will never get the chance...she made sure of it.

    Find out about your family. It really is the only roots a person has in this world.