Paternal Family Reunion: It Just Might Be Happening...


My last post was about always being the bridesmaid and never the bride in regard to finding my natural father, and paternal reunion. Well, it appears I may be the bride as soon as the end of February! How quickly things can change.

I've been on this rollercoaster ride more than a time or two, and I've taken so many people with me. That gives me pause for thought to share about this. I hate being disappointed but I hate disappointing others even more. So I try to hold the information in. And yet, anyone who reads here for long knows my pattern...I can't help but blog about it!

I'm at the end of the line with leads except for this one. This is my very last hope where it concerns the name my natural mother gave the adoption agency as to who my natural father was. I realize it's not the end of the line altogether -- there is always something more to do and it's never the end of a search until you've found. But as far as this name? It's the end. I will have exhausted my search for men by this name in the USA.

Ironically this is the man my husband thought was my natural father all along since we first discovered the name in my adoption agency file. He fits 95% of all the information I have. He fits the exact name, height, weight, hair color, eye color, all 3 occupations, location at the time of my conception and birth and more.  But I thought there was no way it could be this man, for several reasons. Now that I have connected with this family, I would be shocked if it isn't him despite the one or two things that give me pause for thought. The overwhelming thing that caused me to doubt was what I found so far in researching this man's family tree. It doesn't fit the ethnicity mix given to me on the DNA sites. HOWEVER...I have done a lot of reading on this lately and discovered that while matches with people can be trusted as totally accurate, the ethnic mix given on these sites is not necessarily an exact science.  

So first things first...he's deceased, as I expected. However, the family has welcomed me. In fact I feel about this family stronger than I have felt about any I have ever contacted in my search.

Remember "M" from my past search who I thought may be my cousin? She and I had a real connection and she hoped as much as I did that we were a match. But I didn't have a connection to others in the family as I did to her. Anyone  I have ever contacted in my paternal search who has seemed possible and taken a DNA test has said, "We hope for your sake that this is a match so you can have some closure." However this is the first family who says, "We hope for all our sakes that this is a match." They really seem to want to be a match with me as much as I want to be a match with them. It's really an overwhelmingly wonderful feeling.

If this is a match, everything makes so much sense.

Everything.

My possible (hopeful!) cousin says to me, "This just feels right."

But I know everything isn't decided on feelings, so...

The DNA test is on it's way, and we should know by end of February. However in the meantime I'm putting pieces together. And, if this is my paternal family, I have figured things out.

If this is not my paternal family, I will be back to square one.

And I will be okay.

In the meantime I have met some absolutely wonderful people who didn’t hang up on a stranger.
  
Photo credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net

Reunion: When You're Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Bride


Thanksgiving Day found me 32,000 feet in the air on my journey home from a missions trip to Africa. While we were traveling over the Atlantic, I received a Facebook message from a stranger. (Thank God for technology that enables one to be online on a long flight.) She said, "This may sound like a strange request, but I believe you may be related to my long lost cousin..."  She wanted to know if I could give her any insight to connect with him as they were close as children and she greatly missed him. 

I quickly realized, the woman's long lost cousin happens to be my step-father. He is the husband to my first mother (birth mother) who is now deceased. I could help her reconnect and was glad to. 

Knowing my stepfather well (those of you who read my blog know him as "Tom") I knew without even asking that he would be overjoyed at this connection and welcome her call even on a holiday. She proceeded to pick up the phone and call him and a few hours later, circled back with me. “We were on the phone for over an hour!” and said. “You have absolutely made my Thanksgiving! Thank you sooooo much!”

At the airport with my friends who accompanied me to Africa
I am more than glad to help people in this way.  I can’t even count the number of people I have helped by pointing the way to their family members through various means. Some of them were my own relatives whether birth or adopted. And others, I am not related to at all. However, I have connected many people with the right search angel who helped them, or someone in the adoption community who led to the discovery of their long lost family member. I have had a small part in so many people’s story who thank me for making their reunion possible. And I’m happy for that. I really and truly am.

And at the same time with each one of these situations I think to myself, “Will I always be the bridesmaid and never the bride?”


My traveling companions and I were on our next layover and so glad to be eating American food again when I decided to pop a question. I never shared what had just transpired with my facebook message on the plane but I simply asked them, “Did you have the experience for a long time of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride?”

“No,” each of them answered, “I didn’t have that experience." They all shared that they either hadn't ever been a bridesmaid or were rarely a bridesmaid -- or, they were a bride in the period of time when they wanted to be.

It reinforced what I was feeling.
And what I still feel.
Alone when it comes to this.

It seems like everyone else is finding and announcing their impending reunions. 

Every day on DNA Detectives I see another person with a breakthrough.

I check my DNA results on all the sites every week. 
Same thing, nothing new. (Sigh)  

I come to grips with the fact that I may never walk down the aisle of reunion on the paternal side.
I’m running out of time.
I may forever watch others reunite, while I never do.
I am happy to help others but I wonder, "will this ever happen for me or will I just help others and see their dream come true?"

Many people have helped me on my paternal search and for this I am grateful. I hesitated to even write this post for fear of making any of them sad. Because they have been so good! My friend Gayle has tried so hard to make this dream come true for me that sometimes I think her heart hurts worse over it than mine has.  I have also had several complete strangers have compassion on me and take DNA tests for me in hopes of helping me. And yes, that's amazing.

For as many who have helped me, many have also slammed the door. I am currently trying to get information from a man who may well be a paternal relative. There is so much that points to the possibility of us being related, but he is reluctant to tell me anything and has stopped talking to me altogether. I am sure it's because he knows if we are indeed related it's going to be extremely painful for at least one person in his family. I understand that but still want to know the truth. 

I wonder why the same grace and help I've given to others doesn't always come back to me. I keep holding on that some day, it will.

Another side of me chastises myself with, "You had a reunion on your maternal side. Thank God for that blessing and stop focusing on what you don't have."  I do that for a while but my heart still longs for the truth no matter how much I focus on my blessings.
One of the big keys for me while waiting is to keep a  good attitude. I remind myself to be happy for others. And to continue to be willing to help anyone I possibly can, even if I never get the desire of my heart. That’s what a loving person, a healthy – whole person, does.  Although the longing in my heart doesn't go away, it does do my heart good to see another person's dream fulfilled.

I want to be the person that continues to support others and keeps a good attitude about it even while my own need goes unfulfilled.   I know I’m not alone – there are many of us who are always the bridesmaid and never the bride. And we are surrounded by friends who were brides in the time frame of their dreams.

I ask God to help me me stay loving and supportive. To stay soft and sensitive, not hard and calloused. "Make me better, never bitter" is my prayer.  I want to love big and be happy for my friends, no matter what.  God help me.