Follow me! Pretty Please?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lost Children

So, in case you missed my adoption rant a couple of entries back, I am adopted.  I know, I know… I don’t look adopted.  I seem so normal.  Yeah, I once actually had someone tell me that they were surprised by the fact that I was adopted because I seemed so normal… Oye.

Anyway, I have always known that I was adopted.  It was never a big secret.  It was a closed adoption, which I tend to think are better because there is less confusion for the child.  But, I digress… anyway, I never knew much about my biological family, as the family I grew up with was pretty much all I needed.  But there was always this nagging feeling that I was missing something.  Some important piece of the puzzle. 

When I was younger, I thought that piece would be found with my biological mother.  But the more I thought about it, I realized that I was more interested in meeting my foster family than my biological mother because they were the ones who could tell me all about what I was like as a baby.  She was M.I.A.  But still… it would be nice to know.  I was that kid in school who dreaded the “on the day you were born” assignments, because everyone else got to talk about the weather, where their parents were, how their mom’s water broke, etc.  It made me really uncomfortable because I didn’t know any of that. 

So, a few years ago I sent away for me pre-adoption records, and got a copy of my birth certificate.  I finally knew my biological mother’s name, as well as mine.  Oh, and mine?  Yikes.  I was going to go to the town records in Keene when I was in college there and try to track her down, but ultimately decided I didn’t need to know. 

On Friday, I went out, did some errands, stopped at the post office, and got a letter from the NH Department of Health and Human Services.  “What the??” I muttered to myself as I opened the letter.  As I read it, my eyes widened.  My jaw dropped.  My heart pounded.  Apparently, a 28-year old woman named Crystal was looking for family, and the social worker thought that she was my birth sister.  Well, knock me over with a feather!

I went home, called the social worker, and left her a message.  I didn’t hear back until yesterday, leaving my mind to wander and a million questions surface.  I knew I’d had older siblings, but had no idea there was anyone after me!  Well, when the social worker called and started talking about a whole group of the younger ones, and that there were about 4 of us or something, and my head started spinning.  I have her my email address so Crystal could get in touch. 

When I got off the phone, I just started pacing around the house in a daze, my hands flapping up and down, trying to process what I just learned.  I finally just sat down and started crying.  There were so many emotions going through me that I didn’t know what I thought, or felt.  Part of me was so excited, part of me was completely bewildered, and part of me felt a little terrified.  So, to distract myself, I went back to work on the dresser I was putting together, and consulted with the repairman who came to look at our fridge, and then I checked my email.  Crystal had emailed me.

Turns out, I have eight brothers and sisters.  Eight.  There are nine of us.  Oh.My.God.  I needed to get out of the house.  So, I grabbed my tunes and walked down to the Post Office to check my mail.  On the way, I ran into Mom and Dad who were returning from their vacation.  Mom immediately saw that something was wrong.  I told them we’d talk when I got back from the Post Office. 

When I got home, I pulled out the letter from the social worker and explained the situation.  Mom reminded me that while these people are connected to me biologically, Becky is my #1 sister, which: yes, Mom.  I know that.  I am a Brayman, my family is my family, and I’m also 34 years old.  Not like I’m gonna run away with my “new family”.  They seemed ok with this, although they need time to process it.  I want to be able to share this experience with them.  Dad offered to help me process all of this new information, but I think I need to do it myself.

And now all of the siblings are coming out of the woodwork to talk to me.  It is exciting, yes but incredibly overwhelming and confusing.  I am curious about them, and their lives, but to instantly be all “hey, it’s your sister!” feels off to me.  Yes, we are all connected, and I have a feeling I will be able to bond with them, but my sister lives in Enfield with her fiancée and daughter.  I know I’ve always said family doesn’t always equal blood.  But now my family does.  I want to know these people, to understand more about where I came from, to fill in all the missing pieces about my biological family.  But I need time.  I can’t just jump into it.  And so far, the siblings I’ve talked to have been very understanding about that.

I am sure I will be writing about this a lot over the next few weeks/months.  I now understand why I didn’t get a job that would take me far away yet – and even though I will still put myself out there for RD positions, I have a feeling nothing’s going to happen just yet – I need to stay local for a little while so I can get to know this new extended family in my life.  All I can say is, I am so glad this didn’t happen when I was still in college – senior year was stressful enough!

So, nine children were once lost to each other.  Now we have found each other.  Stay tuned for the rest of the story!


  1. OMG! Beth this is CRAZY! I can't wait to hear more... you should start writing a book! But keep the blog going! Who knows maybe this will turn into something soo much bigger than anyone would guess! I think when you are ready of course a "Family" Reunion will be inorder. This is soo exciting and yes scary and overwhelming to say the least.

  2. Beth, this must be really emotional news for you, both positive and stressful at the same time. I know how it feels to discover a sibling you never knew you had, and, at least for me, different emotions came in waves. You didn't have the extra stress of having your parents know about this hidden person in your life beforehand, but it is still a whole lot to process, especially since you are actually one of nine children! This will be an ongoing journey for you, and I wish you the best of luck. It is so great that the siblings you've spoken with so far recognize that you need time to debrief and find out where you fit in this whole process; sometimes shocking news that sends us into slow motion can actually feel faster than anything we've had to deal with before. I can't wait to hear how you continue to process this, and I agree with Nicole, crazy events like this do turn into some great writing material, and it also helps you brainstorm ideas of how to cope! Good luck with everything, and let me know if I can be of any help.

    ~Noelle :)