Been a while I know….So I am counting the days to reuniting again with my BF siblings..along with various cousins , uncles and children all related to me and my daughter by DNA… Biology is a strange thing…..on the surface I don’t feel any different than any other daughter, wife, mother adopted sister or otherwise….but deep down I know the blood coursing through my veins is the same as theirs. We share the same genetic makeup . It brings again into focus the question I keep bringing up..Nature V Nurture…which applies to which aspects of my life? I searched for my truth and found way more answers than I ever had questions!
It would seem my first naive assumptions have proven to bite me on the arse…in fairness there is plenty of arse to bite!
Let’s face it , this “shit show “otherwise known as my journey, causes me to twist and turn like a drunk teenager on a Helter skelter at the fair!
My assumption is this…and very much causes me some embarrassment ….when I think back to how I pictured my BM family…my siblings on her side ..so one is again “away”..this time for the foreseeable for a pretty heinous crime…another is only occasionally on the same planet as the rest of us although when sober seems quite bright so that’s a shameful waste of skin. He told me he was torn between wishing he had known me as a child and sister growing up and being glad I’d been adopted for a better life that him.
The other, my maternal half sister is ….well thankfully by now I understand, down under, and can stay there as far as I’m concerned….weighed down by a mahoosive chip on her shoulder I was amazed not to hear a report of the Oz bound Boeing 747 going down over the Atlantic but still….lets move on…
My BF basically left my BM twice …with child..myself being the second bump beneath her already broken heart.
He came into her life, loved her, then left her to endure pregnancy and birth alone …then breezed back in and repeat….I have however, learned more about him in recent months. Learned to see him as a loving father to the children he knew as they grew up and without prejudice have concluded that I need to meet him to satisfy my curiosity…..I understood from my BM that he was the love of her life so maybe it’s biology or romanticism, but I can’t justify hating him as she never did, so what right would I have to do so? To spare her feelings I have kept quiet my intention to meet him… not that I truly understand what those feelings are now. I was asked if she would allow a photo of herself to be passed to him and the fact she said No makes me think the conversation is over in this respect.
I honestly feel the time is right for me to lay a few ghosts to rest, dispel a myth once and for all and make my own opinion. I’m hoping to encounter a lovable rogue…a man who remains a ladies man with a twinkle in his eye, but likely has a good heart.
So onto the foolhardy assuming that I have been guilty of..it’s true I assumed that as my BM is such a good and stoical woman ,that my siblings on her side would be like me, not only visually but in character… however it’s become clear that in fact the dis-functional thread that binds them is so far removed from my own lifestyle, personality and beliefs that we could be from completely different planets let alone all grew healthily sustained and nourished in the same bloody womb.
In a conversation with my middle maternal sibling ( backed into another proverbial corner , ambushed into speaking to him ..the usual) I learned that although a wonderfully loving and caring woman ,our “birth mother “tried her very best but lost control and her son’s went monumentally off the rails. As I’ve said, the other daughter has her own issues as we know but that’s not even worthy of my writing prowess…So as far as nurture , they were nurtured but given no discipline or boundaries …which he views not to be her fault…so are they his? If so why doesn’t he get a frigging grip and grow the hell up and take personal responsibility. I took the opportunity to advise him, as is my way…I said “Know this, if you let yourself lose either your mind, body or soul you will never get them back…she needs you to step up. Her plight is partly down to her son’s behavior (more in due course) so grow a pair and pay back the care…He took it on the chin as claimed to be in awe of speaking for the first time to his big sister! My big brother’s value my support and guidance too sunshine so it’s nowt to do with age!?
So that brings us to the siblings on my BF side. My assumption was they would have lives as chaotic as mine but nothing in common…. That they would be as alien to me as the other side of my biological family tree. How wrong was I? To be fair it has been another emotional rollercoaster whilst amazingly easy to find a way to fit with my kin on BF side. Basically the ease in which I’ve fit into my role of “Big sister” has amazed me..and possibly them too…I want to protect all of them even if they don’t need me to!
I’ve got to know my two sisters over the last few months since a first face to face in April….both of these beautiful and incredible women and the youngest sister’s children are already so special to me..the boys too after just meeting them once. As my eldest little sister said..It’s as if I’d popped out to the shops and now I’m back. It really is that simple..like we’ve known each other all our lives. The same with my two younger brothers…my feeling of wanting to protect them all is so strong …maybe it is no coincidence that our shared biological Nanny had been born and died on the same day as my own Birthday?..they all say I am very like her….
So I wonder this…is it a coincidence that the prayer Footprints on my BM wall had such an emotionally profound effect on me that she insisted I take the little brass and wooden plaque home…then the first time I visit my siblings in their home town, the only framed picture on my sisters bedroom wall is the very same prayer…
So I ask if this prayer has special meaning to them..they say it was Nanny’s and the boys say they know it from somewhere too…how bizarre to me that it holds such special meaning to both sides of my Gene pool…and trust me I’m in no way a religious person, Christian raised but not practicing. In fact more spiritual to be honest, it’s just one of those prayers that touches me deeply.
Which brings me to the title of this post…what exactly is my legacy?..I know from feedback my writing has and continues to touch many who read it…is the written word my legacy? I’ve done a half decent job of raising my step sons , daughter and adopted son…will they be my legacy?
My ever expanding long lost family only know me as I am as an adult today. So we have no real clue of the journey any of us took to get here, yet I feel almost newborn in their eyes as we learn what makes each other tick…
The thing that struck me most about all these new characters in my book of life was how alike we all are..shared laughter and the same sense of fun and humour…my youngest sibling brother suggested we have a group photo in order of our skin colour…just the kind of quip I would come out with.. hilarious face swaps on our phones also caused raucous raptures and I’m not gonna lie..I may have peed a teensy bit over the fact I really rock a goatee!? #oopsmoment
As I’ve learned over the last few years that where my Mum is concerned full disclosure (Ok… to a degree…on a need to know basis) is the only way to keep the peace and maintain the good place in which we are these days.
So I shared some details of my reunion including the amazingly colorful photo of our happiness which actually appears in the order of the Chakra . With me, the eldest in red at the centre. It really is an awesome photo.
Her response?!😯😝 Did you get out a photo of your real brothers to show them?
Oh yes, I forgot it was all about them? Jesus wept…like if I’d produced a photo of two random white guys like Pierce Brosnan and Bruce Willis it would have been just as ill timed and inappropriate.
I just wish she could let me own this stuff and stop acting like it’s a direct threat or undermining what I know to be my “real” family .Like the time I was pulled up for allowing my daughter to proudly claim to be “half Jamaican” Apparently this was plain wrong and she should be told she’s BRITISH..At this I calmly explained that as I am the biological child of two Jamaican born parents she is in fact correct and to suggest otherwise is rude,insulting and beyond fucking ignorant. Surely it was a good thing that her granddaughter felt comfortable in her own skin and proud of what she now knows to be her roots? Clearly not…this episode still gives me hives so I try to forget it and humour her… She foolishly suggested that my brother agreed with her stance and was embarrassed when I asked him directly if this were so. As expected he knew nothing of this and was infact as shocked as I was.. I am reminded on a regular basis albeit it in subtle ways..how lucky and grateful I should feel…the message is always loud and clear…even using the same tack with my boy..I fucking get it but this was Not the time or place to share my own adoption .They have their own stories to share as and when.
We shared this moment and I moved on as could see old wounds starting to appear and mentally and emotionally neither of us can afford to let them open up again .
So you see my assumptions proved to be misguided and unfounded….the siblings I expected to reject me as an interloper found me themselves and have welcomed me with warm hearts and open arms. The ones I expected same response from are distant, guarded, suspicious and self absorbed to the point of paranoia..I can’t help but feel they see me as some kind of threat..This couldn’t be further from the truth. All I ever wanted from my search for my BM was answers and to piece together the incomplete jigsaw of my life…I achieved this and much more as my relationship with her is as if we are best friends. Her children, however connected to me by blood of varying percentage , sadly are not going to add value to my life in any way….
And so my second assumption…
You know when you take time for granted ….assume all the time in the world to piece together the mysteries that make you whole…,? Well all I can advise you is don’t.
Life can be proper scary and kick you square on in the teeth… Drama has a way of unfolding out of control. One such drama continues without any sign of respite for my BM and in turn for me too. Back in May 2018 a number of Whatsapp messages and voice mails went unanswered. As time went on and after about a week I started to feel anxious..a sinking feeling of dread deep in my gut. I’d shake it off but it kept coming back…rather like the heartburn I’ve written of in the past. This was different though…like nerves fluttering before an interview. I put off chasing for a response as something told me I’d not get one. Then one day a call to her landline reinforced the feeling of dread as I was greeted with “the mailbox you are calling is full“.Now anyone who knows me knows that talking and communication are my super powers ..inherited in part from my BM and taught in another part by my Mum. So to imagine how on Earth my BM could get to the point of not clearing her telephones full mailbox made nausea rise in my throat.
What the fuck was going on? I knew something was very very seriously wrong. There was nothing for it, I needed to track her down and fast. I made a call to E, her best friend and neighbor..she is also very dear to me, almost like a precious aunt.
The last day I spoke to my BM she told me how much pressure she felt, mostly due to the ongoing needs of her sons. Their constant begging for her money, their issues with the police etc were really starting to effect her blood pressure and her general health. I’d talked to her and listened at length with the right level of sympathy, gritting my teeth to stop myself slating those needy baby-men and suggesting she let them sort out their own shite. Men in their mid to late 40’s should take care of her and not the other way around..take personal responsibility for their own decisions and own their own shit. Can you tell I am more than a little pissed off with these grasping childish boys?…I wont call them men as that’s not how I view them.
And so as I’m told by E to sit down and brace myself I know in that split second I’m not going to hear good news. The week my gut was nervously anxious about her , my sixth sense was serving me well. My BM was suffering a serious and life threatening brain haemmorrage.
I felt sick. My eyes filled and tears spilled onto my burning cheeks. My head was spinning and a Menopausal hot flush was burning me up from the inside.
How the hell did that happen? What was she doing when it happened? Who was with her? Oh my God, could she die? I’ve not had her long enough? This can’t be happening? It’s a bad dream I’ll wake up in a minute surely?
Nope, no nightmare of a fitful sleep. This shit just got very real.
Without going into the detail I’ll wrote of at another time..she is still in hospital, unable to breath without a Tracheotomy and is unable to speak. I’ve visited once and an emotional yet funny episode it was too. Warrants a whole post of it’s own so I won’t elaborate here for now. I’ve rung her to promise ill see her again soon. With me babbling away non stop and the rasping sound of her heavy breathing on the other end of the phone was a hard phone call to fathom. Almost like a reverse stalker. I collapsed in tears when I hung up the phone. Amazing how drained I felt when the call was over. I’m going again soon armed with a tablet so we can Skype. At least then we can see each other. Just hearing her deep breathing through a tube was quite distressing.
What I will admit is my deepest concern. She may never chat merrily to me again as in our past weekly phone calls. There’s a chance she may not have the capacity to even write to me again. Our daily messages have come to an abrupt end ..her number on my phone is left wanting…I’m left feeling a mixture of loss and fear…. my instinct is to help sort her life out..to wade in all guns blazing and get involved..Believe me it’s hard not to shake my fists at certain parties who seem to be working to control her and dress it up as God’s work. I’ll admit to having made a call to a certain Church Pastor and expressed my displeasure regarding a level of control I felt uneasy about. Basically told him to step back and let the woman recover. Without identifying myself of course….but made it clear he didn’t want to ignore the warning as his belief of Hell was about to be realized if he didn’t. God’s work my arse ….anyway more of that another time..
And so to conclude, the reason I am asking myself What is my legacy? I feel it only right to mark this period of my life in some meaningful way. In just the last two years I have brought home my baby boy , opened my heart and my home to a son who I view as of my own flesh. Whatever your opinion of Adoption, I am an adoptee so to adopt is as to give birth as far as I am concerned. He knows me as “Mamam” and is as adored by his family as if he were my flesh…a couple of nobodies who don’t view him as part of our family don’t matter in the least and can live in their own shame, they of course are no longer considered family.
In the last year I have been reunited with five siblings, learned I am the fourth eldest of a total of 14,maybe more… the eldest of the UK siblings, I know so far on my BF side, one of several internationals I am unlikely to meet…. big sister to 4 on BF side (at least) and 2 on the other. My BM has been hospitalized for over 7 months to date, my own Dad is deteriorating before my eyes and all in all its been one hell of a year.
I felt it high time to draw a line in that sand of Footprints and mark this time in my life as pretty bloody momentous. So what better way than to acknowledge how far this journey has taken me than with some ink. Yes, I’m getting my first tattoo…in fact I’ve already planned my second too.
This month , in the company of my daughter, my sisters and perhaps the brothers if they can be persuaded, I will endure my first tattoo. Based on the Adoption symbol (The triangle’s sides representing Adoptive Mother, the Adoptee and the Birth Mother, surrounded and wrapped in love, the Heart) I am adding both mine and my mum’s favourite flowers, a Bumble Bee representing the town of my birth, Manchester, and first name initials of all three of us. Inextricably bound together by Adoption.
My second tattoo is to be a line of the Footprints poem with a pair of footprints , fashioned as bracelet.
I am hoping my siblings will do similar as the Prayer clearly is a key to much of what binds us together.
My daughter is to be with me, Its time she embraced my history and felt the all engulfing love and acceptance of her biological family…its no longer just me and her, shes part of a world of colour, desperate to meet her and welcome her as they have me…in time my son will be embraced by them too… of course she thinks she is coming with me simply to meet her blood relatives, but in actual fact it is so that I have something substantial to bite on during the pain of having my tattoo?!
I strongly believe that we are all placed where we should be in the world and the stars align to ensure we meet those who matter, at the time that matters most.
Trust in the universe to show you light in the darkness…allow yourself to dream as if it were reality..have faith that what you get is what you deserve….
Above all, take courage to leap into the unknown, it might just be exactly what you need to live the rest of your life without regret…
Thanks for reading
As always, much love
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