Excited and nervous and then a wrong turn and I ended up at a gas station on the outskirts of Baltimore. I looked at the time on my phone and took a breath. I still had a better than average chance of being on time. Just to be safe though I made a call, “You’re not begging off on me are you?” he asked playfully. I assured him I was definitely on my way but that I missed the turn and was now in Baltimore. “Great. I can’t wait to see you. Drive safely.”
The gas station guy gave me excellent directions and I was on my way to Renaissance Faire with time to spare.
Those moments are the beginning of the love affair of my life. Within the hour I met the man who is now my husband. I was 42 years old and felt in my heart and gut that this relationship would be different because I was different.
Years of picking poor partners had me doubting myself. I’d had enough therapy and spiritual healing to recognize the pattern I’d put in place from an early age was a reflection of my adoptee M.O. I desperately wanted to be connected and to be loved, but I carried a secret, like a little pebble in my shoe, that said I was inherently flawed and would eventually get my heart broken.
Let me be clear. This is MY stuff. My parents are amazing and never made me feel that I wouldn’t be safe and secure for my lifetime. My extended family never treated me like I wasn’t one of them, so much so that sometimes I wanted to tap them on the shoulder and whisper, “You know I’m adopted, right?” I didn’t believe that I deserved all that love and affection. I suspected that it was all a farce that would eventually come crashing down. I’m now 52 years old and there are still random moments when I remind myself that I’m not going to be abandoned.
When I met my husband I knew I needed to face my own fears and my reactions so that I could have an altogether different relationship than I’d ever had before. I came clean on my fears of abandonment and my innate distrust of people who say they love me.
As our relationship grew I found myself in wistful moments wishing that we’d met earlier, counting the years that we didn’t have together and feeling angry that it took me so long to find him.
That same feeling rushes through me now as I think about the time I could have had with my biological siblings. I grew up with cousins and friends who had 5 or more kids in their family and I always wanted that too. (I know my parents would have gladly had more children but it didn’t work out that way.)
Finding my biological mother’s family has been a miracle of joy and laughter tinged with the longing for the time that we missed together. It’s hard to explain that I miss memories with people I only just met, but I do and the only other time I felt that way was when I met M.
With my siblings, I can either focus on the moments I’ve missed (weddings, births, illnesses, job changes) or I can stay present to where we all are today and let these moments build to their own memories down the road.
As someone who always wanted a huge family with many siblings I’ve gotten my wish and I’m so happy that they have accepted me as one of their own.