Me & JenI live a public life.  I keep few secrets.  I rarely wear make-up.  I post my dirty laundry (no, seriously, actual piles of dirty laundry) for anyone to see.  I am imperfect, flawed, fearless and feisty.  Today I posted a plea to the world to help me find my birth family.  Folks have responded en masse.  With support came questions, great questions that I am happy to answer.  I asked for help publicly so publicly I will tell you why I asked.

I have the most amazing, angelic, supportive, adoptive Mom.  She probably told me I was adopted in the car on the way home from the hospital.  I would never be a dirty little secret and no one would ever have to hush their careless whispers at dinner parties while gossiping about how strange it was that Gail had never appeared to be pregnant.

My sister and I grew up polar opposites.  I leapt in front of the camera while she stood reverently to the side.  Strangely enough, we looked almost identical, only 18 months apart, which would make sense as siblings, except that she was adopted from a Northern Italian/Spanish mother and I was most likely Irish Catholic.  A lucky coincidence everyone said.

My reserved, calm and patient mother had dark brown hair and deep, sympathetic, brown eyes.  I was blond and blue eyed, barely able to sit still, constantly getting into one thing or another, bubbling over with dreams and confidence, bombarding this sweet lady with one idea after another.  She handled my impatient and energetic nature with the grace of a saint.

I knew then exactly what I know now.  I’m lucky to be alive.  I knew that the woman who bore me had made choices.  I might have ended up in a bad home, with a miserable couple, maybe a home without heat or heart, who knows.  In a place where I simply might not have been wanted, I could have simply, just not have been, at all.  But somewhere, some woman had the strength to go through a pregnancy AND labor just to hand me over to another woman who had waited in line – a woman not able to make me on her own.  I knew that I was truly loved and truly home.

But, as I‘ve often said, I’m me – and this me can’t help but wonder.  I’m curious, creative and have an endless imagination.  I am weird.  At 5’6”, 110lbs I wear a 10-1/2 shoe.  I sometimes know when things are going to happen before they happen.  Believe me or not, I can.  I can sometimes hear what others are thinking.  Try me.  I’ve had terrible nightmares since I popped, unexpectedly into this world.  I wriggle my ears, do crazy tricks with my fingers, I’ve had two, unexplainable, premature babies…

I know I have four siblings.  I need to know more.  I personally need to know.  It’s in my nature to root out the truth.  It’s in my nature to seek out the people who may, or may not, share these quirky qualities.  I want to go to the doctor’s office, and after being asked for the 800th time (that’s probably a pretty accurate number) about my medical history say, “Well you know what Doc, here it is!”

When my two special needs children go to the doctor, as they will over and over again in their lifetime, I want them to be able to respond with complete information.  My sons are extraordinary and deserve any and every chance possible to lead a healthy, happy life.  I’ve got the happy covered but could use a little bit of help with the healthy part.

I want to stare into the eyes of a genetically linked person the way I stare into the eyes of my sons, not to find a ‘new’ family but to find a little piece of the map that was torn to shreds the moment I was swept away from the woman who knew enough to let me go.  There are breadcrumbs behind me, almost too small for the human eye to see – but I will find them.  I have zero expectations where that path will lead, but to me the journey and the amazing people that have already helped me along the way are well worth the effort that has gone into this life altering search.

For every person I’ve met and befriended, those who have contacted me – sent a message of support or shared their personal story, I am grateful.  I’ve NEVER felt alone.  I’m not looking for another family.  I am simply looking.  Someone today said, “I wish you well but be happy with the life you were given.”  I easily and quickly replied, “I am happy, and that’s exactly why I would like to give thanks to the woman who gave me a chance at that life.”

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