My Family Tree | Health, Love & Fire

My Family Tree

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I haven’t spent much time on here talking very in depth about my family. Over the past few years, my family has really grown. I was adopted when I was a baby. My parents (and when I say my parents I mean my adoptive parents) brought me home from the hospital when I was 2 days old, and I’ve been with them ever since. There were some issues with the courts and legal stuff so I wasn’t officially adopted until I was almost 2 ½, but I was lucky enough to not have to be in the foster care system for those 2 years. I was blessed with 2 amazing parents and an amazing brother who we adopted from South Korea when he was 5 months old. They are all some of my best friends, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them!

This is my parents, brother and me at my college graduation in 2011

When I say my family has grown a lot in the past few years, that’s because 4 years ago I decided to meet my birth father. I had been searching for a couple years and finally came a crossed his facebook page online. After a few sleepless nights and many email drafts, I finally sent him a message. We talked back and fourth for a few months, and finally I decided to meet him in person. It’s hard to put in to words how it felt to meet someone I had spent my entire life wondering about, but it went better then I could have ever hoped for.

The day I was flying home from meeting him, I got an email from my birth mom for the first time. Talk about timing. It took me a few days to process everything and gather my thoughts to decide what I wanted to say back to her. Once I started the conversation, it flowed as easily as it did with my birth father. Four years later, I have met both of them and their families. I went from having one brother to having a brother and 7 half siblings (3 girls and 4 boys). I have flown to New York to spend time with him and his family once, and been to Ohio to spend time with her family twice. My birth mom and her family have even come to visit me and meet my family. To say it’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster is an understatement, but its left me feeling more complete and comfortable with myself than I’ve ever been.

Heres a picture of my birth mom and her husband and daughters when I met them the first time in 2010
My birth mom's daughters and me with their dog Woody when I was there in April 2013

Before I met them, I had this emptiness and sense of longing for more information about who I was and where I came from. Their presence in my life has filled a gap I struggled to identify before, and it feels so comforting. Even with that gap filled, there’s still a lot of ups and downs and unchartered territory to maneuver. There’s no adoptive/birth parent relationship handbook for dummies book to read. Everyone’s situations are different, so it’s hard to know how yours is going to work. Being states away from both of my birth parents has been helpful for me, because I really get to decide when we talk and when we see each other. Having those boundaries has been really comforting and helped me feel more in control of our relationships.

One thing I still struggle is seeing them as much as they want me to. I was texting my birth mom yesterday afternoon and she was asking me when I could meet up with them to meet her mom for the first time. I know I should probably work harder to make them a bigger part of my life, but it can be really difficult sometimes. Dan and I are so busy in our every day lives already that it’s hard to fit in extra stuff… especially traveling. With me just starting a new job two months ago, I don’t have much vacation time saved up. Has anyone else struggled with a relationship like this? Where you know you need to put in the time and effort, but you also know that it’s going to be overwhelming and emotional so you feel yourself pulling back. I am so thankful for the family and extended family (that’s how I consider my birth parents and their families to be) that I have in my life, but sometimes feel myself putting walls up or pulling back to protect myself. I need to remember I am lucky to have such great relationships with each of them and be thankful that I was even given that opportunity. I wouldn’t change my story or my family in any way. I feel blessed to have the amazing people in my life that I have, and embrace our unique family. I’ve always looked at my adoption as a blessing, and hope to be able to adopt a child of my own one day.