June 13, 2017

The Story of My Life: Waiting on Another DNA Test Result

I’m waiting on a DNA test! Again!

I’ve been doing a lot of advertising in the area of Highland Springs - Richmond, Virginia, where I come from.  I have reached out to former classmates of my mother's, and anyone in the neighborhood who may have known her. I have even had a phone call with a 91 year old man in the community who reached out to me to help! He was a delight. In sharing the details of my story in the neighborhood – I have gotten literally HUNDREDS of responses and leads as to who my father may be. 

I saw advertising - putting everything out there in the community with names, dates, locations that I do know - to be a last ditch effort. But maybe this should be the first thing we do in a search? Perhaps we hold back because of fear. It's fear of what people will think. But that shouldn't be a factor in simply trying to discover truth. Truth that belongs to you and me. And the fear is unfounded. It’s amazing the people who have written, emailed and called me who lived in the neighborhood at the time (or still do) and actually knew my mother and want to help me.

It was interesting certain last names that kept coming up again and again. One woman who is related to my maternal family saw one of the advertisements and reached out to me to try to help. We have never met before. I sensed right away that I could trust her. I mentioned to her about one of the last names that kept coming up repeatedly among the leads. She was so excited and said, “Oh my gosh, that’s my husband’s family!!!” I asked if she thought someone in the family would DNA test and she said, “absolutely!!!”  So, I paid for the test and had it sent and now we are just waiting. I am hoping for a cousin match.

There are multiple men in this particular family who could be my father, some dead – and some alive! If a first cousin match comes back on this test, then I would need to start going through the cousins and having them test to see which one might be a half-sibling match. The person who tested believes if it comes to that point, everyone in the family will cooperate. We will see!

The two cousins I have spoken to are very excited about this and think others will be too. Of course you never know when you get right up on the moment, but I have faith. There are caring people out there. I find this out in searching, all the time. As many roadblocks as you face, you also meet so many kind souls that are willing to do anything to help another person. Sadly, many of them will immediately reach out to do more than your own family!

So here's a word for those of you who are running into obstacles. We are all familiar with these challenges if we've been searching for very long. Obstacles are generally "secret keepers" who feel it is their mission to protect what should never be protected. (They protect/conceal truth of who you are and where you come from.) People who even go as far to try to protect the dead in some fashion. Have you ever heard of anything so bizarre? Well here's the thing -- for as many of those secret keepers that are out there, there are even more kind souls with open hearts who will do anything to help. Find them! Keep going. Whatever you do - do not quit!

I’ve been through this so many times before, so I am trying to guard my own heart and keep it from breaking again if it's not a DNA match. And yet it's hard to not be excited about the possibility. So I consider what I will do in the event that it's not a match...

What will I do? PRESS ON. I will never give up and will advertise even more.  A few months ago I was so discouraged and said I didn’t know if I could do this again. My heart was shattered in pieces when the last DNA test came back not a match. There was a family in Virginia who sent me pictures at Christmas and said the only thing missing was me. They were already planning our vacation together in Gatlinburg. (No, I am not kidding.) They cried as hard as I did when the test came back not a match. In my lowest moment of bawling over this non-match, my husband looked at me and said, “You don't mean this that you are quitting. I know you. You will keep on. That’s who you are." He was right.

And I say this to any of you who are waiting for breakthrough in your own search and discouraged – I understand. But don’t give up. Press on. People are finding their truth all the time. And DNA is yielding more results every single day. Millions more are testing and every day holds the possibility of a match! And by the way, if you haven't already tested or uploaded your raw DNA to myheritage.com, do it today! I did and have many new matches I am working through. So far I don't have any close ones, but nevertheless I have some new ones.

Everybody pray hard! I may just have a reunion coming up, after 50 (count ‘em 50) years!!! In a few months I could be taking a train to meet family. 

I will never lose hope. 
Don't you lose hope, either. 
We got this.

June 8, 2017

When This Adoptee Faces More Than She Can Bear

I have an incredible life. I admit it.  

I have a fabulous family.

Loving and loyal friends.

A job I love that is more than a job - a ministry, a passion that sets me on fire.

A beautiful place to live.

And at the same time I have gone through so many changes in the past six months it felt like it would kill me at times. 

Where does it show the most? In my dress size. Just keeping it real. 

I can remain stable in loving my family...in managing my job like a pro, in leading a team...but trying to lose five pounds? Yeah, it's up there with asking me to be the one responsible to find the cure for cancer.  Or solve immigration. Or something equally as lofty.

I tell myself if I made it through the past six months of big changes, what else can’t I do?

Change is so hard for me as a person and as an adoptee it is at a whole ‘nother level.

Some people say they thrive on change. The truth is, absolutely no one I know thrives on change unless they are the one making it.  Who do you know that thrives on change that is completely out of their control?

For an adoptee change not of your own making can feel like the world is ending.

It’s not just uncomfortable, it’s terrifying.

Like you wonder if you will survive.

Or if you want to.

So here’s what I know about this. Sometimes we do have more on us than we can bear. 

Did you know the Bible never says we won’t have more on us than we can bear?

Yes,  I know Gospel singers say differently. I know lots of old wives tales and sermons down through the years say the opposite. But the truth is, the Bible never promises, “He will never put more on you than you can bear.” It says you will never be tempted beyond what you can bear. There is a difference between temptation and hardship, or trauma.

I often have more on me than I can bear and you know what? That’s why I need Jesus.

I am thankful for the power of the Holy Spirit that helps me every day through challenges and changes that I could not bear otherwise. 

There have been a lot of them over the past six months and every one of them He is helping me through. 

Now if He can only help me lose a few dress sizes. It will just take time but through a power greater than my own, I can do this. For a while there, I didn't even care. At all. The fact that my dress sizes were going up was inconsequential compared to the loss and pain I was feeling and the insane desire to feel better if only for three to five minutes while a piece of cake went down my throat. 

So here's to caring again.

I pray that while I'm starting to care again, big changes can just stop for a while.

Just stop.
Unless I like you...
Unless I asked for you...
Unless I welcome you...
just stop it already.    

Photo credits: All photos by me