“I have always struggled with making new relationships and connections. It is hard for me to figure out how to start conversations, how much to share, when it is appropriate to share details about my life, all of the things, I over analyze it. I love people (for the most part), and I love hearing about people’s lives, but the anxiety I am constantly plagued with causes me to fear sharing about my life. For the most part throughout the last few years, I have experienced acceptance and love, but judgement has been present as well. My life is far from a PG movie, it borders on being rated R for the most part. Over the last few days, I have stayed up long into the night, wondering how I am going to handle this newest venture in my life.
One day I might get the gumption up to write about the situation in its entirety, but at this moment, I’m still not even sure what the ‘real’ story is myself. The main thing you need to know before reading on is this: I never knew my biological father. My momma was dating a man, got pregnant, and they parted ways. She had me by herself, and she met the man I call dad not long after I was born, but I was not told about any of this until I was 12 years old. The day my parents told me about my biological father was the beginning of my downward spiral. I began acting out, I was angry at everyone around me, and I started making choices that impacted my family to the point where it ripped us apart. My parents were going through their own struggles at that time, and communication was not our strongest quality, so we all did the only thing we knew to do, we lashed out at each other over any and everything we could, never talking about what the real issue was. I felt rejected, so I coped by rejecting everyone around me. Again, that’s all a story for a different day.
Now, Fast forward to the present! After 15 years of wondering and daydreaming, I decided to try and find my biological father. I did a DNA test (thanks to Lizzo for the inspiration), and after a couple of months, I got the results back, with family member matches. Most of the matches were connected to my maternal side, but there were a couple of names that I didn’t recognize right off the bat, so I took a chance and sent them each a message explaining my situation and my desired outcome. After a week or so, I got a response from one of them, and she had a couple of additional questions for me, so after a couple of back and forth messages, I was informed that I was talking to my biological Aunt, my biological father’s sister! Y’all, I did it! I found them! I continued to talk to my aunt for a bit, and she helped with making connections for me. She told my biological dad about me, and after a little time, we talked on the phone for the first time in my 27 years of life. I still haven’t been able to find the words to describe what that experience was like, but I can tell you it was a feeling I will never forget. We were both nervous, but so excited, and the tone in both of our voices made it clear that neither of us knew what to expect, but we were ready for the adventure. We talked for a while, and the next day, we made plans to officially meet. I drove to Chattanooga that weekend, and the adventure began! Within 3 hours, I met my biological dad, one sister, an aunt, an uncle, a grandfather and his wife, and my oldest sister and her family. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement, but I was overwhelmed in a beautiful way! The interactions felt so natural, it felt as though I had known them my entire life. I sat there, absorbing every story, every voice, every laugh, every detail I could in the short time I had with them that day. We said our goodbyes, and I drove back to my home, the majority of the time in silence, just replaying everything in my head. By the time I got home, I was sobbing, because I felt as though I had finally found the puzzle piece I didn’t know was missing until I saw it.
I had a lot of anxiety about inserting myself into their lives. I mean, I had no idea if they even knew I existed, or if they did, did they WANT me in their lives? As it turns out, my bio family always knew I existed, but the way things played out, they had no way of even knowing what my name was, yet alone trying to find me. So, I was as big of a question mark to them as they were to me! This experience has come with an array of emotions, most of them ones I didn’t expect. People have asked me if I’m angry at my bio dad, and the answer is no. I am not angry at anyone in the situation. What I have felt though, is grief, on many levels. I had to let go of the image I had in my head of what my bio family was like. When I was younger and things would get bad in our house, I would daydream that my bio family would find me and ‘rescue’ me. I had to let that dream die, holding onto it only hindered me from living in the now. The biggest surprise in the emotions area was the sadness I felt from missing out on so much of their lives. I’m working on letting it go, but I keep finding myself wondering how different my life would have been if I had gotten the chance to know this family from the beginning.
After our first meeting, my oldest sister and I exchanged phone numbers and we have spent the last couple of weeks talking, getting to know each other and filling in the blanks from the last 27 years. I’ve got to say, other than finally knowing my bio dad, meeting and getting to know my sister has been the best part of this entire experience. I have 2 nieces, 2 nephews, and a brother-in-law that I have learned so much about, and my heart is overflowing right now. This weekend, I went back to Chattanooga and my sister and I had our first official ‘sleepover!’ It’s still amazing to me that I have an older sister, and even more amazing that she wants to know me. This weekend was one of the most relaxing and satisfying weekends I have ever had, and now, sitting at home with my worn-out dogs, I am content. One of the things I was told when I started this journey was to keep my guard up, because there was a chance, I would end up hurt, and rejected. I am content and joyful right now because what I felt this weekend, and the few weeks prior to this one, is acceptance, a sense of belonging, hope, and love. Hearing my sister introduce me to people as her baby sister brought a smile to my face every time.
Obviously, this situation has its share of complications, and some people involved are having a difficult time with it, but the negativity can never outweigh the hope and peace I feel from finally knowing my other family. This chapter in my life is just beginning, but I have a feeling it’s about to be one of the most beautiful chapters yet.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kayla Lemons. Visit her website here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here.Subscribe to Love What Matters on YouTube and never miss our best videos.
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