April 4, 2016

Adoption, Dying, Regrets and Curls Out of Control

Some people say they have no regrets and I’m inclined to think they are liars. Who doesn’t wish they would have done something differently? Saying you have no regrets is kind of like saying you’re perfect. Well, I’m not perfect. I have made mistakes and I have things to learn, and henceforth a few regrets.

One of my regrets is not going to visit my foster parents the moment I found out who they were. They were still in existence on planet earth and in their 90's.  They took care of me in the time in between my birth and the time my adoption was finalized. Through the adoption agency, I found out their identity last year. We connected through a phone call and they remembered me right away although it had been over four decades ago. I was able to find out things that helped me piece together the time in between my mother relinquishing me and my adoptive parents taking me home. I was so thankful.

I didn’t act immediately even when finding out about them. I know, that was really stupid. I was trying to juggle all the things I’ve been juggling, and I kept telling myself I’d get to a visit soon, but I didn’t.

This past week I called their daughter to say I wanted to stop by for a visit. She said, “I’m so sorry…Mom passed away and Dad is close to it.” My heart sunk. I had waited too late. Now I would never see them in person in my adult life. “Your call meant so much to them, Deanna…” she went on to say.

I sat there kicking my proverbial butt all evening.

Why the heck did I wait, even a few weeks? Well although it's no excuse, the simple answer to that is, I was struggling at times just to keep basic things done. Even so, time was of the essence and I missed the window. I had control of the situation and I blew it.

Contrast to that, a situation I do not have control over...    

I have taken every DNA test there is to take. Ancestry. 23 and Me. Family Tree DNA. GED Match.

Followed every lead that comes my way.

Have a search team of sixteen people helping me. (Three have just been added.)

And I still don’t know who my natural father is.

We have followed every lead we have regarding the name that was given by my mother to the adoption agency.  And we come up cold. Because NONE of those men, not even ONE of them in the United States of America with that name, has ANY Greek in them.

The sixteen people on my search team have looked at every man ever living past or present in the USA with that particular name. And not one of them checks out. Because none of them have a drop of Greek blood, and I am overwhelmingly Greek. Too much that could ever be ignored or explained away for any of those men to be my father. And my maternal sister DNA tested for me so that we could exclude maternal matches from my results, and guess what...my mother has not one drop of Greek blood. Therefore, ALL of it is from my father.

So we’ve come to the conclusion that my mother probably gave a fake name to the adoption agency. 

I believe my natural father's name is Gus. Why, you ask? Back in 2013 I was heavily praying about this situation. My prayer was, "God, I am in agony. My mother has died and taken his name to the grave. So just tell me what it is. Just tell me my father's name. You can do it. I know you can. So will you, please?"

And as I prayed, I kept sensing this name..."Gus" in my spirit, every time I prayed. 

Now, most people would just say, "You're crazy, Deanna." But the people who help me? No, they don't think I'm crazy. Or maybe they do but they love me enough not to say it. First, I told my friend Laura Dennis and my husband Larry what I had sensed in prayer. Then, I told Priscilla Sharp, one of the best search angels in the world who I'm blessed to have working on my search, about what I was hearing in prayer. I said, "Pris, I know I'm asking you to go on a search based on a prayer. But will you?" She immediately said, "Absolutely!" and we set about researching Gus's. Now, the plot thickens...

A year later, I had a conversation with someone in my maternal family and asked them to tell me anything they knew about my father. Anything at all no matter how seemingly insignificant. They said, "Deanna, I never met him, but to my best recollection, his name is Gus." I almost fell off my chair!

We have researched many men by the name of Gus and continue to. And, we will not give up. Time is ticking away and unless a total miracle happens, I will probably find a grave. Gus is elderly right now if he's alive. I won't have regrets if and when I find Gus or or whoever he is, because God knows I’ve tried so hard to find him and haven’t been able to. I’m the type of woman who has done most everything I’ve set out to do in life. But this escapes me no matter how hard I try. Even with sixteen people who know what they are doing spending a lot of their precious time helping me.

I hope those who withhold information from adoptees -  whoever they are – mothers, social workers, agencies (it’s different in everyone case) have some regrets. Because even as we try so hard to get to the bottom of where we come from, time goes by and so many adoptees find a grave, not a person. And some won’t find at all. They will die wondering, “where and who did I come from?” And how is that right? Why the needless pain and suffering?

I feel this way about finding my natural father and people respond with: “You came from God.” 

Yes, I know I came from God. (Sigh) So did you. So did everyone. But here on earth…who do I come from? Why do I get up every morning and try to tame curls out of control?   

“But you’re so blessed………”

The fact that I’m blessed has no bearing at all on the fact that I have a hunger to know where I came from.

Greece. That’s all I know for now. This is a scientific fact as to where my Greek ancestors came from, gleaned from my DNA results. 
But I want to know more.

And unless something really big changes, I will know nothing more. Or, I will find the grave of a man who came from Greece.