So I have 4 unknown biological siblings! Wowzers!…It’s interesting to learn snippets on these people but really as I have only met one, I cant tell you a great deal…but of course I have an opinion nevertheless!
So let me tell you what I know ….
My first Half brother resides in Jamaica. My BM was contacted and travelled over to see him for the first time since he was taken from her at birth. Imagine that, no clue how he faired until that contact 50 years on. So she did what came naturally and set about putting aside money and provisions and clothing for him to take with her . She generously gathered a huge box of clothing in what she presumed would be suitable styles and sizes. Given her two boys were over 6ft she knew she was looking at Large for clothes to be safe. She made the emotional trip over to Jamaica and was met by her first born son at the airport. She told me that when she saw him she figured actually it wasn’t him , he had sent someone to collect her. I asked her ‘Why would you think that?’ She replied ‘ Well I had been collecting all these clothes in size Large for my son and the man who stood before me was at best Petite!’ I said ‘ What?? Petite, what the hell is a Petite Man?’. We roared with real belly laughter. God only knows what throw back gene had kicked in with this one but nevertheless he was not genetically built like her other 4 offspring!!
My full blood brother is tall like his brother and my Birth Father. Seeing them both flank my BM in a glossy 15 by 8 was like staring into the eyes of strangers but also of people I knew instinctively. I had no intention of meeting or learning anything about these guys as that was not my mission. I intended solely to learn my Truth from the one person who held all the knowledge. Not add more drama and stress to my life by taking on the issues and insecurities of strangers! However and here’s the rub, you have little choice in the matter if it is a determined BM you have just popped the lid off! So I listened attentively during those hour long telephone calls , about them, their lives, their personalities and their good and bad traits.I don’t want to be unfair but as you know I am telling this stuff how it is and as I see it and there is no wrong or right way to put this out there.
So it seems my very slightly older sibling (by a few months ) is in construction…labouring by all accounts. So I figure he is physically fit. He is the image of my BF and apparently rejected an approach fairly recently deciding that he had done well enough to his forties without his Birth Father so why he didn’t need him now. I respected him for that one. Lets face it ‘Our’ BF had come into our BMs life, got her pregnant , legged it. Came back after his birth and wham, got her pregnant again….with me! ….and surprise surprise….legged it! Not the kind of man anyone could suggest would make the best Father figure . That said, from what I learned it might have been useful for my blood sibling to have had some form of guiding light in the form of a father figure to avoid his little stint at Her Majesties Pleasure. But then who knows, may have happened anyway…He is passionate about cars and hand builds racing buggies for a hobby in the hope it may become a job one day…He has my eyes, in fact, Jesus lets face this shit head on..he has a male version of my entire face! Yep,poor sod, he has my face! That freaks me out a bit…OK lets be straight A LOT, as I absorb the fact that our DNA is almost as close as it could get without us being twins!
Its fair to say I expect he was equally freaked out by this too so I took comfort in the fact…The idea that they both knew about me makes me squirm a bit, how long have they known? Did she only tell them once she was traced by both me and my half sister?
Bit awkward if they didn’t and I rock up giving it ‘ Hey Bro, I’m your long lost near twin!!
Not a question I have found the right opportunity to ask…a tricky one, amongst many others stored for an appropriate time…
Now if I didn’t already feel my age I sure did now. It seems my Blood Brother had a daughter of 19. Sadly much of her younger life had been spent in care, apparently her mother couldn’t cope so took the easy option of popping her into care. I am told this was without any consultation with the girl’s father or Grandmother . So my BM had to track her down herself and rescue her from Social Services. I was learning that this was her way. I try not to be too judgemental but need to paint a little picture for you here…My Biological Niece was the result of a coupling between my blood brother and a white woman, she decided to leave him and set up home in a predominantly white area, a fairly posh location outside of Manchester. I am guessing her mixed daughter with her spirited personality and lets just say, interesting turn of phrase, didn’t fit with this new middle class affluence . My conclusion reading between the lines was that her ‘inability to cope’ had more to do with this than just the hardship of motherhood.
My mother is always using the term ‘Cycle of Deprivation’ and I am thinking this is where we are here. You see during the first 2 years of my knowing my BM this child had two children of her own, by two different Daddies. Yes, she popped out two babies in two years. Is this a familiar tale? Sadly both these babies reside in the care system as we speak 😦
Moving on…my second Half Brother is only known to me in descriptive terms. I only know he struggles with drink and has possible depression but have not met him. Am told trauma in his life ref his own father may have contributed to his current malaise but who knows . Personally I am a great believer in dusting yourself off and cracking on with it and had assumed as his own Mother had clearly done just that multiple times, he would have seen that as a guide?
I decided it best not to meet him as I cant imagine having me in his life will be of any benefit to either of us and certainly not help matters much can you? We do look slightly alike but again really only in the eyes…
These two lads I understood had been raised to become healthy and personable so she did a good job. On one occasion she told me their toes were damaged. She had bought them steel capped shoes as she felt this would be a saving on several pairs of normal shoes. They wore them even with their feet growing so their toes were forced to grow wonky. I know they had struggles but am not naive enough to think my life would have been a picnic had I been kept and not put up for adoption. Yes, I am grateful and remind myself every so often that actually the choices made for me were the right ones at the time, but lets remember they were choices made FOR me , not BY me.
I will repeat this in future chapters and you will get exactly why this statement is so important.
I kept hoping my Siblings looked after their Mother. Cant say either way to be honest but I am sure there is mutual love there and I would hope a deep respect for her struggle that enabled her to keep them. I doubt as blokes they are particularly interested in me but they do their best to humour my BM!?
My Half Sister – ES
It might not seem scarily freaky to you BUT to me it was clear that me and my half sister decided it high time we trace our BM. At the same bloody time?!! Both in our 40’s and in a stage in our lives when we both felt it the right time! What were the odds?
Think back to the point where I told you that my BM was residing in the very address I found her 6 months AFTER my erstwhile SW decided we had hit a dead end.
Again I don’t blame him entirely, and he was lovely in a protective way…BUT I am more blaming the fact it left me having to go massively off-piste and then go full circle and find her there after all.
The 6 months wasted energy, heartbreak and utter frustration will stay with me for my life. You see, its not easy to just ‘KNOW’ something but struggle to prove it to others without looking like some desperate …well lets face it desperate Twat!?!
Do the Maths, had I actually found her 6 months or so prior then we would almost have crossed our contacts in the post!? Imagine two letters landing on door mat with the same enquiry enclosed! Wow!
Yes folks we could very easily have had our letters arrive within weeks of each other, imagine it!
I can hear my BM saying it now…
‘Honestly, Daughters ! They’re like buses! You wait 40 odd years and nothing. Then BAM, 2 come along at once, isnt that always the way! Ha!! ‘
And so this Half sister of mine had the same curiosity or maybe a personal crisis that lead to her need to find her past and learn her own truth.
Letters were exchanged between her and my BM in the same way there were between me and her. Photos enclosed as if enough to make up for all those years of nothing. Years of not seeing face shapes change, teeth fall out and come in bigger and stronger. Legs losing their puppy fat and becoming gangly. Cheek bones becoming defined within a previously pudgy baby face. Years of not knowing favourite colours, food likes and dislikes. Years of absolutely nothing. Although this might sound sad it isn’t meant to. It is meant to make you aware just how little we could know about our BM yet we took the risk , the plunge to find out the answers to the most basic of questions. Shoe size? Well as it happens we have the exact same shoes size..bonus.. as she gave me a funky pair of pewter kitten heels that didn’t quite fit right her left foot! We also have the exact same double jointed Thumb that my child hates and is grateful was not passed on to her too!
Truth is we both sought to put together a jigsaw we thought only had one piece missing.Then we found that there were many other pieces knocking about that made that puzzle remain incomplete. You see now I have a burning curiosity to find her!! Damnit!! Can I do this again? Hell Yes! How hard can that be? Actually not that hard you see what you don’t know is my Half sister and I are in the same industry! I kid you not. Again, What are the chances? I wont go into what that industry is but suffice it to say she is connected to me as a first level connection on LinkedIn and has absolutely NO CLUE who the hell I am! 🙂 The power of social media know no bounds right?So another one to stalk! Yes!!!
I downloaded her profile picture ( er of course!!?!!) which oddly is taken at such an angle her right arm looks pure white. Now this threw me for a while as I thought it was a really bad prosthetic arm and I started imagining all sorts of tragic accidents …
Pretty sure that’s my twisted imagination and not the case at all but it is a weird photo though . However, never mind the arms….it does show how similar we are. Facially its there again. The eyes! Unmistakable. Those family Eyes looking back at me from the screen as if to say ‘ Yep, we will meet one day and look each other in the face!
My BM traded letters for a couple of months with ES and as we were regularly on the phone and texting all day now I got a feel for her moods and temperament. One major skill Executive recruitment teaches you is to gauge a mood on the phone or in a simple message. One particular day the mood of her texts changed. She went from chatty to down in a few short messages. We had a loose arrangement that I would visit in the Spring of that year so she said ‘Oh it can wait till we meet! I said ‘Er No it cant , tell me now or I will keep asking what’s up!’ She did. She told me that she had received a letter from ES which in a nutshell was a Dear John. It read that her current situation meant she had to take a step back and no longer communicate with VS. She was gutted. I quote ‘Felt Like when you find a precious piece of jewellery and then lose it again’ And so I found myself in the unique position of comforting our newly found BM as she wept over the loss of her child for the second time. Initially I felt anger towards EC but then realised I had no right to feel anything at all. Her life was alien to me and mine to hers yet here we were , linked by this woman as well as secretly linked on LinkedIn!
A few weeks prior to this VS actually met her other Long Lost Daughter ‘by accident’. You see she was adopted I assume by a middle class family only in the next town! Her current career suggested she had been well educated and had a profession linked to my own. Another weird coincidence? Or again are we looking at Nature and Nurture working in tandem?
VS regularly attended her chosen Church. By another weird coincidence, ES experienced the loss of someone relating to her job. The deceased also attended the same Church as VS.
So my BM is sitting in the back of her Church on the day of this funeral (one of many she and her friends attend as a pastime, more of that another time) . In walks a tall lady , well dressed and neat. VS says to her friend in a hushed tone, ‘Thats E!’ Her friend says ‘How can you know?’ Now despite old photos she says ‘I can just tell, the way her hair is parted on the left!!’ Whhhhhaaaaatttt? Really? Apparently so! It was as simple as that…
Outside by the grave my BM approached E and calmly says her name out loud. She turns to her and confirms that she is her daughter. Its fair to say that this came as a bit of shock to both women and sadly with my BMs already slight paranoia she has decided she did something wrong and had upset her. If fact she said she felt her long lost daughter was disappointed by meeting her in the flesh. This made me sad for her . Her mind worked overtime imagining all manner of reasons why she lost touch with ES. I tried to reassure her that any issues she had were likely nothing at all to do with her. If they were she would never know anyway. I made a point of asking for her address for my own records so you never know we may meet?
I was gradually learning more and more about my past and that of my BM. I have said many times this isn’t a fairytale, you might lose sleep, sanity and even weight (I wish) over the things that rear up in your face like a horse spooked by a noisy moped.
I learned that my half siblings’ Father was, lets just say, not a nice guy and made the lives of the boys and my BM even harder than they deserved. He took his own life , and this was witnessed by his son. An answer perhaps to his adult demeanour. I wont go into details but it shook me in my core and made me take a step back. For a few days I cut myself off from everyone and closed my ears and eyes to anything remotely ‘Journey’ related. I was doing absolutely fine until a call from a very good and supportive friend . She knows who she is as she’s reading this. She simply asked me How I was doing and I lost it. Broke Down,fell apart, meltdown central had arrived. Reason being? All the information good and bad was suddenly just too much. I was overwhelmed. Bogged down and thoroughly washed out with it all. Too much scary and frankly harrowing news that made me realise I actually could only handle this stuff in bite size pieces. After my meltdown I had to ring BM. I explained that I did of course want and need to learn all of this BUT could she temper it and give it to me in smaller portions from now on. You see I suspected that all her old news had been delivered as New news in the same way to ES …and she had run a mile and not looked back. One day soon I may pluck up the courage and contact her myself to ask but for now I left it alone.
Always remember these people are still complete strangers to me and there is such a thing even for someone as smart as me as System Overload!!…
Thanks for Reading