“…let your mom and sister know that they are family to us now too. If they want to come “home” with you, I want them to know they are welcome. Them being your family connects them to us as surely as your DNA does. It’s not a game of tug of war to see which family is more “yours”. It’s a newly minted chain with you being the link that joins the two families into one. “

A word for word quote from a newly found birth cousin.

I’ve talked a lot about the value of family lately. I meant ALL family. Blood, or simply love, the people who claim you, make you. And I’ve been claimed by the best.

When I was little, my cousin Val, an accomplished gymnast, would flip me and my sis around like agile, fragile rag dolls.

We ran from Sylvia’s aggressive goose (and the occasional ghost in her attic)!

Every year we’d head to Maine for our family reunion. In between volleyball sets, my cousin Stevie and I would sneak into the woods to grab a cig. (not proud – just fact)

Barely a teen, I BS’ed our way into Jaws 3. My cousins Kim and Cindy were older but I think I grew the tallest the fastest and truly believed I was much older than I was.

My cousin Dean tagged along with us to Niagara Falls. That’s when he introduced me to Aerosmith.

My O’Connor cousins put up with my craziness each and every summer. First and last time buying penny candy just up the lane…

I had a GREAT upbringing. Yes, there were bumps in the road. My Dad and I went at it. My Ma and I couldn’t have been more different. My sister tolerated me to the best of her ability. But bottom line – we loved each other.

Everyone knew we were adopted. Everyone knew I would look for my link til my dying day. I have had nothing but family support since I began my search.

I’ve found more personal peace in the last few days than I ever thought I would. DNA and unexpected friendships have kicked down decades of walls and given me the opportunity of a lifetime.

I’m Polish. I’m Irish. I come from artists and folks with BIG feet. Dysfunction, loudness, in-your-faceness and all the other things I thought only I could find great seem to swim through the fabulousness of my newly found heritage – kinda everything I was hoping for.

There is so much more to the story. I have so much more that I can’t wait to tell. But for now we wait for some more results and in the meantime I will celebrate with my family – ALL of them. Because you are who1913889_163777204606_4203263_n you are made of and the people who made you. I am so proud to finally know both.