The feeling of loss was not something I had ever prepared myself for. In all honesty, I always imagined her and I would have reconnected at some point. The sting was even worse considering just the weekend prior to finding out, I had had a heart to heart with friend discussing my desire to seek her out. My friend had convinced me "if not now, when?" to which I agreed and decided I was going to finally reach out to her, little did I know she had passed away just two weeks prior. I think the timing of it all is what is the most unsettling to me. If I had just come to this realization days earlier I could have maybe had the closure I had always hoped for.
Now, everyone's adoption journey is different, and mine is no exception. Unlike some adoption stories I've heard about, I've never yearned for a relationship with my birthmother. Don't get me wrong, I've fantasized about what she was like, if she had my sense of humor, my temper, my crooked right pinkie, but I never felt that my life was missing a mother because it wasn't. My adoptive mom is my mother. But, when I found out she was gone... there was a sense of loss. Oddly enough (well not that oddly, if you know me), one of the first things that came to mind was a scene from Friends, where Phoebe plays a trick on Rachel when she finds out she's pregnant. Originally Phoebe tells Rachel that she isn't pregnant (when in fact, *spoiler alert* she is) and Rachel is upset and says the line "How can I be upset over something I never had".
This sense of regret is what prompted me to be bold. It's no surprise that the internet has made finding information and people easier than ever. Through the power of the internet I had previously found a potential half-sister of mine. I had also found that my birthmom's memorial hadn't yet happened. I had to reach out, like my friend said "if not now, when?" And that's exactly what I did. With the help of Danica I constructed a Facebook message to send to this potential half-sister of mine. It took some motivation from Danica... but I hit send. And she responded! She was warm and friendly and apparently had known about me all along! I couldn't help myself... I asked if it would be alright if I attend the memorial, and she extended the warmest of welcomes.
And so... I went, with my mom riding shotgun, we made the hour and a half drive to Victorville and I attended my birthmoms memorial. Just typing about it now, the anxiousness fills me again. I walked in and froze. Thank god my mom went with me or I probably would have walked right back out of the door. After a couple minutes my half sister and I make eye contact... from there everything is sort of a blur and I swear I even blacked out a couple of times but we exchanged a hug and said our first in-person "hello"s. I couldn't stop staring at her. The whole thing was so surreal. She asked me how I wanted to be introduced to people and I had no idea. I didn't know who knew what and just how much they knew. But before long I was being introduced to people, to be honest, I couldn't tell you how she introduced me but the most impactful was meeting my birthmoms husband of 24 years. He told me that my birthmom talked about me often and even cried on my birthday. It was hard to hear and yet, at the same time, somewhat comforting. I was so warmly welcomed by everyone that I met, almost all of whom, already knew who I was. On the drive home I told my mom "That really couldn't have gone any better". Obviously, not knowing my birthmom personally will forever be a regret of mine, but getting to know the people that knew her best is the next best thing and I'm so glad that I did it.
Afterward I got lunch with my half sister and we talked about my birthmom and our lives in general. The sense of relief I felt knowing that I wasn't some dirty little secret, and not only did everyone know about me... they knew me by name. Do I wish I had gotten the chance to actually meet and talk to her in person? Of course, but I can't help but think that things happened the way they did for a reason, a reason that I maybe don't understand now and maybe never will, but I'm sure there is a reason.
November is National Adoption Month with National Adoption Day falling on November 21st. Adoption is a wonderful thing and I consider myself lucky to have an adoption journey of my own. It has made me who I am today and I am so grateful for it. As always, I am an open book as far as my adoption goes, if anyone reading this has any questions or would like to discuss my adoption further or just adoption in general, I would love to hear from you.