Most people who know me know that I am adopted. It’s not a secret, and that little tidbit of information helps people understand how it can be possible for me to have three sets of parents and eleven siblings. Sure, it still sometimes takes an intricately illustrated playbook for most people to figure out just exactly how I am related to everyone in my extremely extended family, but at least they get the gist of it.
What most people don’t know is how difficult it was for me to come to terms with being an adopted child. Author Alex Haley once said, “In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are, and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning, no matter what our attainments in life, there is the most disquieting loneliness.” I think that pretty much sums up the way I felt about my adoption back before I reunited with my birthfamily. In spite of having amazing parents, a great family, and a wonderful childhood, there was just always something missing.
I used to sit in front of the mirror and try to imagine what my birthparents looked like. I used to wonder if I would know them immediately if I bumped into them on the street. I used to study every line and every curve in my face, trying to memorize my features so I could search the faces of strangers on the street. For some reason, it was so important that I looked like someone, and it left me feeling alone and invisible when I didn’t.
Sometimes, even now, when I think about the reunion with my birthfamily and how quickly and seamlessly my three families blended into one, I think that it is all too good to really be true. I mean, really, how can one girl be this lucky? Three sets of amazing parents–heck, four counting my in-laws. Brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, neices and nephews. It is everything I dreamed about, everything I ever asked for, and so much more.
Some days, I still find it hard to believe that I am a mother. I mean, wasn’t it just yesterday that I was a little girl myself? It doesn’t seem that long ago that I got my driver’s license or graduated high school or left everything and everyone I knew behind to move to New York and start college. Now, here I am, happily married, pushing 31, and every morning when I wake, there is a little girl that calls me from her crib, a little girl with my face looking up at me and smiling and holding out her arms to be held.
Funny how things turn out.
Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to my little Mini Me, and to all of my amazing family and friends. Without all of you, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today. One of these days, I promise I will finish my book about it, because it is certainly one story that deserves to be told.