I decided to hit “Send”. I shouldn’t have. It had been impulsive. I had written something stupid like “I’m the person you’re looking for.” or a statement that was equally lame. I instantly regretted it. I didn’t get a response. I started wondering if I should send her a letter. I was able to find an address. I started the letter and then I stopped. I put the pen down, walked away and that was that. Or so I thought.
The summer passed. In September, I gave in to curiosity and created a FB page under my birth name. Nexy Jamin. I sent her a message, this time knowing that it would get her attention. She responded. I threw up a little in my mouth. We talked via messenger for a few minutes before she asked me to verify my identity. I told her what I knew. I was born in Wurzburg, Germany on a United States military base in 1981. I knew the birth mother’s name. I gave her the address to an apartment in NYC that had been listed as a residence on the adoption paperwork. That was enough. She told me that the apartment was where she had been raised whenever her mom was away on active duty. The apartment was just a few blocks away (on the East side), from where Justin and I had lived for two years in NYC. We had known that from previous investigations in to ancestry/family history but it was still weird to know she had been there at some point.
She told me that she had known about me for a few years. She had questioned her mother about always seeming sad on a specific day each year. My birthday. Her mom confessed to having given a child up for adoption. She told Myana the story. My story.
I eventually got up the courage to ask. Why was I put up for adoption? I was prepared for an emotional tale. I was not, however, prepared for the heartbreaking truth of it all. For her. My birth mother.
She had enlisted in the Army after high school. She was 19 and stationed in Germany. She had been assaulted by her commanding officer. She later realized she was pregnant and had decided to keep the baby. She didn’t tell anyone. The commanding officer found out about the pregnancy and threats were made. He had a reputation to uphold. She was a young girl alone in a foreign country, in a “man’s world” with a future to think about. In an agonizing moment of what I can only imagine was filled with fear and grief, she made a choice. For her safety and for mine. She would give me up.
Myana went on to tell me that her mom had regretted the decision and had stayed on for additional tours in Germany attempting to find me. The paperwork was in German and no one seemed willing or able to help her. She eventually returned to the US, moved on with her life, married, and had a beautiful baby girl. My sister.
My heart broke for her. My birth mother. I couldn’t even begin to imagine. My story has always been about my amazing parents who decided to adopt. Both my brother and I (not biologically related), are adopted. My parents were unable to have children and decided that didn’t matter. They would still be parents and created an incredible home for two children who needed one. We are their children. They are our parents. We are a family filled with love. We always have been.
My story has never been about her. If anything, I chose not to think about the person who gave me up, other than to say “Thank you” for giving me the life she thought she couldn’t. Suddenly, my story had changed. I was once again in the middle of a Lifetime movie. I was a child of rape. I am what society thinks they can argue about on a woman’s behalf. I am a poster for a woman’s right to choose. Her right to choose love in whatever form it takes. In that moment, I chose to just be me. A wonderful little ball of light in an insanely dark situation. A spunky little gal who refused, and continues to refuse to let life define her. In that moment, I understood Justin and my Mom’s reactions of “How cool!”. I had a sister. Who had wanted to know me. I had a birth mother who sacrificed for me. I had more of myself.
Myana and I are half-sisters, but there’s no point in using the extra word. She’s my sister. We share the same sense of humor and have both cultivated a wicked knack for sarcasm. Thank god. We are both night owls and quickly took to teasing one another and sharing about ourselves.
We are so alike, yet so different at the same time. She’s a police officer. I’m an actor. She lives in Waco. I live in Vegas. We both had chosen different original wedding dates, and then had to move it for one reason or another. We both chose October 5, 2013. She’s also an overachiever. She’s 4 years younger than I am, but is a stepmom and recently had her first child. She definitely beat me there. She has 13 aunts and uncles on her mom’s side (not including spouses). I have 1. She’s an only child. I have an older brother. She grew up in a variety of places, NYC being one of them. I did too. She’s mixed but has a wild Puerto Rican family that makes me giggle and also gives me a bit of anxiety when I think of what could have been. She’s proud of her roots and posts pictures online with a Puerto Rican flag on her phone case. She should be. It’s beautiful. I grew up being a part of under 1% minority in my school. I learned early on to blend in. It was easier to let people think I was black than to correct their mistake. I never embraced my heritage. I never learned about being Puerto Rican, it was just something I was. A boxed I checked off. For better or for worse. As I’ve gotten older, and lived in NYC (where they just know you are Puerto Rican) or traveled the world, I’ve learned to be more in tune with my heritage but still feel that it’s better to just be unapologetically me. As my college admission essay states, “I am a study in contrasts.”
There’s no end to this story. My sister continues to be a part of my life and we talk often. We haven’t met yet in person but it’s in the works. She’s the only one that I talk to and I love it. Her mother knows that she found me, or that we found each other, but has not reached out. I’m ok with that. In some ways, I’m relieved. I will always be grateful to her. Even more so now that I know what she did for me.
I was never Nexy Jamin Rodriguez. I was always Emily Dawn Agy. More importantly, I’m just me. Isn’t that who we all are?
*After reading this, you’re probably wondering what Myana thought about the whole thing. It’s not often you get to hear both sides. The good news is, you’ll be able to find out! Tomorrow’s post will be dedicated to her side of the story!