December 23, 2013

This Adoptee Will NOT Miss Searching

“Don’t you love the thrill of the search? And, won’t you miss it when it’s over?”

An adoptee friend said this to me recently.

No. I will not miss searching.
At all.

Photo Credit: Steve Snodgrass, Flickr

Maybe some adoptees enjoy the rollercoaster ride of the search. For me, there is nothing fun about being in the dark and having to pursue the truth if you want to know it.

I find nothing thrilling about not having the basic answers about my origin.

Knowing who and where a person comes from is a human right. Adoptees have been stripped of this right by a man-made institution.  Archaic laws have the potential to keep us in the ghost kingdom - the land of the unknown, unless we take matters into our own hands to search our way out into the land of the known.

The majority of people in the world possess basic information about themselves and have never had to give it a second thought. They don't know what it's like to not know. So, at times it's hard to gain non-adoptees' support or have their compassion because they've never known what it's like to be us.
When you meet someone who doesn't walk in your shoes as an adoptee yet has compassion and actually extends a helping hand, it's an amazing gift.

I received such a gift, this weekend.  

Tis the Season...of Miracles

On Saturday, I announced that I received my Christmas miracle. I should have qualified that statement a bit more. Everyone assumed we have found Mr. Greek. Although I can’t share all of the details yet, here is what I can share. 

Thursday night one of my Lost Daughters sisters, Julie Kelly, decided to work late into the night on my search. She was determined to find a new lead, and did she ever! 

I woke up on Friday morning and the first thing Larry said to me was, "Deanna, I had a dream last night. Two people revealed new information today about your search that was significant and helped the mystery about your natural father to be solved."

Do I believe in God speaking to us and confirming things through dreams? You betcha.

Larry's Dream Come True?

When I opened my computer and  checked my email, my search angel, Priscilla Sharp, sent new information about a man we have been researching since late August -- the one we strongly believe may be my natural father. 

His name just keeps coming up, again and again and again.

Pris was the first one to uncover his name as we went through the names of every Greek family who came to to Richmond, Virginia and were in the city directories during the 1940-1960's years. By process of elimination we would take away the names of those who didn't have sons old enough to be my father, or families who only had daughters. One man was just the right age that my father was reported to be at the time of my conception/birth.

Weeks later this man's last name showed up in my DNA results. So far it was only through very distant cousins, nevertheless, his surname was there. Actually it was there four times.  

This new piece of information Pris got on Friday -- something about his career -- further solidified our belief that we are on the right track. It was just one more piece of evidence to put on a list that was rapidly increasing. 

The next email I received was from Julie Kelly and contained information on a woman I will call "M".  (I will never share M's identity publicly -- even if we are proven to be related -- unless she chooses that option.)

M is directly related to this man. And... remarkably, she happens to look just like me.  

Julie tracked down M's phone number and address. I called on Friday and left a message for M.  This is what I said:
 Hello. I am trying to reach M. This is a personal call – I’m not a sales person or anything like that. I believe I might be a family member and would like to talk with you for just a few moments if you would be so kind as to give me a call. My name is Deanna.  I will try you back again tomorrow, but I will leave my number just in case you want to call back first.  My number is 555-555-5555. I will be up late tonight so please don’t hesitate to call. It would mean so much for me to get a call back from you.Thank you and have a blessed evening.

Then I waited for her call. 
And waited.
And waited some more. 

I was supposed to go grocery stopping but instead, I stayed at home and sent my husband.

I resisted the temptation to just sit by the phone.

I folded clothes.
I did the dishes.
I cleaned the bathroom and tried not to obsess about getting a call back.

M could just ignore my call and choose to not get involved.

I wondered for hours, what she would do.

I prayed.

Friends prayed with me that M would call me back. 

"Any news yet?" so many of you who read the Adoptee Restoration Facebook page would ask, checking in every few hours.

I realized that being Christmas time, M could be at holiday gatherings, or even  out of town. 

I called again Saturday and left M another similar message. 

It turns out, M wasn't ignoring my call or even struggling with this as a decision. She just hadn’t checked her messages. 

As soon as M got the messages on Saturday, she immediately responded. 

I was in the midst of Savanna's dance recital when she called and left a voicemail for me. She sounded so warm, even in a simple phone message, I already liked her!

I returned her call as soon as I got home from the recital and M and I had an immediate connection. 


Not only do we look alike, it appears we share the same personality and gifting. It's kind of eerie.

Although I consider myself a natural connecter -- someone who reaches out easily to people, I don't often feel such a strong connection so quickly as I did with M. 

M said, "I hope you don't think I'm crazy or something, but I've been researching you while waiting for you to call back..."

Of course I didn't think she was crazy, I was delighted.

As M did her online research, my photo popped up.

She took one look at it and said to herself, "Oh my....she's one of us." 

M went on to read half of My Story here on the blog.

By the time I called her back, she had perused my Twitter and my Facebook accounts. It was a long recital. Savanna's teacher felt it best they do 19 songs AND a long intermission.

M was already emotionally invested in my story.

She quickly become an ally, determined to help me in confirming -- or ruling out -- her family member as my natural father.

If M's family member is my natural father, unfortunately I have missed meeting him personally. He passed away not long ago. 

However, if he is my natural father, I will finally know the truth. And, I have been welcomed with open arms by M. And, she assures me, others in the family will welcome me too.

I already have two pictures of this man.

One photo is from when he was in his twenties, and one in his middle to later adult years. Some of our features are so similar, everyone would be absolutely amazed if he's not my father.

He looks so much like our son, Jordan, it's mind blowing. 

We have shown the photo of this man and myself side by side to strangers -- to people who know nothing of the search or who either of us are and ask, "What do you think the relationship is between these two people?" and they immediately remark, "Well, they have to be related. The similarities are absolutely striking. Look at the nose! The eyes! Even the brow line!"

Finding M

Finding M was a total miracle in itself. The way it happened is simply astounding.  What caught Julie Kelly's eye was her photo! When she was searching the internet she came upon M's photo and realized that M and I could pass for twins.  Then she realized M was related to the man we are researching.

When some of my Lost Daughters sisters saw the photos they were moved to tears.

This past weekend, I showed a side by side comparison photo of M and myself to a number of people, some even strangers -- and three of them said, "That's the same person on both sides, right???"

There are so many facts that point to M and myself being family, it would be the most bizarre set of “coincidences” I have ever encountered if the DNA tests prove otherwise.

I know that stranger things have happened, and who knows...God could just want M and me to meet for some other reason. 

But an important point is that there is DNA evidence that I am connected to M's  family, we just don’t know how closely. 

Back in August, his last name came up in my DNA results four times.  The other surnames connected with their family have also come up in my DNA, though distantly related. No close family members (sister, brother, aunt, uncle, close cousins) have tested yet with the DNA companies. So, it is this that M and I are working on at this time. 

If this man is not my natural father, it is very possible another man in this family is. There are other men in that family that are possibilities but not with the same profile as this man.

 M is willing to do a DNA test. But there is another closer relative who could prove paternity, a sibling of the man we believe may be my natural father -- but we do not have their permission yet to test.  

Several people who are aware of all of the facts believe my search is coming to a close very soon, based upon what we already know.  But we can't be for sure. And until we are for sure -- the search is still reality.

Oh... and did I mention...M says that all of the family are musically talented including the man believed to be my natural father? 

Not only is he the spitting image of my son Jordan...but he played the drums!

 What Will Life Be Like, Post-Search?

I don't know yet. 

I’ve never known a life without wondering and searching.

I don't know what it's like to live in this kind of freedom.

Never have I had the privilege of living life without the necessity of searching to know the basic facts of my origin.

I do not know what it is like to live as a normal person in this regard.

It’s so overwhelming to think about I can hardly wrap my brain around it.

So many new things are possible as a result of a search coming to an end. 

On Saturday night we had a family meeting in our living room about this news and my talks with M, and the  kids are excited about finally completing a real family tree and so much more. Jordan has texted me several times from work today, talking about the search -- hoping for answers, soon. This matters to the children of adoptees. It really does. 

Learning more and more about M’s family, I suddenly realized all the things I would know about myself that I never did, should this be my paternal family.

Needless to say I got little sleep this weekend.

Photo Credit: Amsler Pix, Flickr
Hurry Up And Wait

It’s going to take a while to get a DNA test and receive the results back to get this confirmed or ruled out.

Meanwhile M has come alongside to help me and is fully invested in the process. Even without the DNA test, it seems she has already welcomed me as a family member and is eager to meet me in person.  I am in awe of this amazing gift. 

We've already decided, we're getting together on my next trip to Richmond, whether we're family or not! 

Strangers to Friends to Family?

Before this past Friday, M and I were just two strangers in this world who had no idea of one another. By the time the weekend was over, I can’t imagine not having M in my life. 

M has become someone I really care about and want to stay connected to, regardless.

Last night with tears running I said, “What is becoming a challenge for me as we move forward is that if DNA doesn’t come back like we think it will, I am going to be devastated that you aren’t my family member. Because you're just so amazing."

She answered back: "Look, you're amazing and I'm amazing. So that means we just have to be related, right?!"  [Insert both of us laughing, here.]

It seems M feels the same connection to me. We’re not going to lose touch even if the DNA results don’t come back like we think they will.

Several people who know all the facts and have worked on the search have said that they can’t fathom it not proving true with all of the circumstantial evidence that is piling up.

The List

Last night when I was stressing over the search, my husband said, "Make a list of all the evidence, Deanna. Give a list of reasons why you think this person is NOT your natural father."  

I wrote a list. The left hand side was filled with all the evidence for this person. The right hand side was blank.

I couldn't come up with one reason ruling him out but a long list of reasons why he might be. The evidence is so compelling and just keeps coming in but we need absolute proof.

God has blessed me so much with a new friendship with M, either way and with amazing support from those who are helping on the search.

But I will not miss searching.
At all.

And I pray that soon I never have to do it again except helping friends.
I cannot wait to lead a search-less life.

It will happen.
Oh yes, it WILL happen.
Because I am relentless and will never give up.
Even if M is not my family member, I will not give up.


Everyone tells me this is all over but the shouting.
To relax, breathe, it’s almost over.

I’m holding on to their words.
I hope and pray they are right.   

I can’t imagine a world where searching is not a factor, for me.
But I want to live that life.

O how very much I want to live that life.

Whether or not that life is mine sooner rather than later, I have a new friend walking this journey with me.

M, I am so thankful for the amazing gift of you.