I remember when I was younger, my mom was the one who I played dress up with. She was the one that I had camp outs in the living room with. She was my best friend who I couldn’t wait to get home just so I could watch movie with. Even though I love my mom, I always felt some type of loneliness. I would see my friends with their siblings, and no matter how much they seemed to annoy each other, I was jealous. I wanted someone my age to annoy. Someone my age to laugh with.
Then came the time when my mom said I should live with my dad so that she could better herself financially. I was around 8 or 9 and was so excited. Not because I was leaving my mom, but because I would get to have my brother around (he is actually my step brother, but my dad had raised him). I loved the idea of having someone my age in the house. But not having been around each other for so long, it was awkward at times. We were two very different people, with very different interests. But no matter how different, he looked out for me no matter what. Something I came to appreciate more and more as time went by. I had my sibling and annoyed him as much as possible – as a little sister should.
Fast forward about 4 years later. I’m 12 and my mom wants me back. I will say that I did not want to. I was accustomed to living with my dad. And I didn’t want to leave my brother. We were only 9 months apart in age and hung around the same social group. I cried but inevitably ended up moving back with my mom and her new husband. I was back to being alone. I came home, did my homework and had no one to goof around with like I did my brother. The feeling of loneliness returned. That is until my mom gives me some great news – she’s pregnant! I’m so elated and can’t wait for my new brother or sister to get here.
Summer comes around and I take my yearly trip to New York to visit my Titi (aunt) and my Ma’ma (grandmother). I get to be with my cousins and my vacation is going amazingly. That is until I get a call from my mom – she had a miscarriage. I can hear it in her voice that she is heartbroken and I’m so far away that I can’t do anything to help my mom. It tears me apart. When I get back home, she’s acted like nothing happened (my mom’s irritating defense mechanism).
Eventually, I move back with my dad and life goes on from there. I graduate high school. I graduate with an associates in criminal justice. I meet a great guy (who will eventually be my husband and the father of my child). Everything seems to be falling in to order.
Fast forward to early 2011. My mom asked me to come to an appointment with her psychologist. My mom has always told me that she suffers from PTSD, so I figure she just wants me there for support. When I walk into the room, conversation is light. I don’t feel like this is really anything I needed to feel nervous about until my mom hands me a picture that I’ve seen many times. She carries it in her wallet everyday. In the picture she is holding me and smiling. I ask her why she is handing me my baby picture. That’s when she tells me that the baby in the picture is not me. I laugh because I’ve seen the picture so many times, and I’m 100% sure it’s me. Sure, I’ve never flat out asked her if it was me. But what other baby could she be holding.
Then my mom tells me the last thing that I would have ever thought. The baby in the picture is not me – but her first child “N” (just a note – I won’t be using names). I won’t go into the details because it is not my story to tell. All I will say is that life can really put you in a dark place. A dark enough place that you are forced to put your daughter up for adoption no matter how much you don’t want to.
Hearing my mother tell me this completely turned my world upside down. I cried for my mother, but was also furious that she would keep something like this from me for so long. We talked for hours and eventually I came to understand where all of my mother’s pain came from. She explains how she tried for years to find “N”. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be put in a situation where you are forced to separate yourself from your only child.
Time goes by, and life gets back to normal. One day I’m cleaning out some boxes when I happen to come across some paperwork that is written in German. I don’t know German, but having the names of my mom and “N” all over it, it doesn’t take long to realize that these are “N”s adoption papers. Curiosity gets the best of me and I make a secret copy for myself. The next few months involves me using Facebook and the Internet trying to get more information on “N”. Eventually, I make a submission on an adoption forum. I give little information so that I don’t have random weirdos contacting me. I check it often with no response. In the back of my mind I’m hopeful, but in reality I know there’s no chance I’ll find her. I come to terms that she may not even want to be found and I let it go.
July 2014, I get a private Facebook message from a girl named “E” I have no idea who she is so I don’t respond. The world is a cornucopia of weirdos – she could have been one of them.
September 2014, I get a private message from “N”. My heart is literally pounding. There is no way this is happening. Well, it is. “N” and I talk and feel each other out. She finally tells me that her name is really “E”. Yes – “E” who sent me a message months ago but I was too paranoid to even respond to a stranger! She had enough sense to create a page using “N” name to get my attention. Frickin’ genius!
We talk in depth about what my mom told me happened in regards to her being put up for adoption. We send pictures. We laugh. She tells me about her family, I tell her about mine.
*Fun fact! “E” and I got married on the same day on the same year! Whaaaaaat?!*
I get up the courage to tell my mom about “E”. Things don’t go as planned. But I’m okay with it because I got my sister. For a while I didn’t even know what to call her. I mean biologically we are sisters. By definition we are sisters. But we were raised by two different families and had no connection to one another until talking on Facebook.
My feelings about what to call her changed in just a split moment during a small interaction with my husband. I was texting “E” and was laughing about something she had said. My husband asked me who I was talking to and I immediately said “my sister”. That is the moment that it clicked. It didn’t matter that we didn’t have a relationship in the past. All that mattered was that we had one another now. I wanted someone to laugh and joke around with like a sister all of my life – and now I had one.
When I talk to “E” there is nothing but joy, laughter, and pure awesomeness. She talks so highly of her family. It would have been amazing to grow up with her, but the way she speaks about her family – I can’t help but to admit that I would not have wanted it any other way. The minute I started talking to her and I felt the love that she had for her family, any negative thoughts of how she came into existence vanished. Before speaking with her it was in my mind that “I have a sister who unfortunately came into this world under dark circumstances”. I was wrong for thinking that, for I now know that I have a sister who was a gift to a family who I know loved her the minute they saw her.
“E” and I have the talking thing down, so the next step would be meeting face to face (which we’ve joked would probably entail us staring at each other like idiots). Seeing as how my automatic reaction is to laugh when I’m put in a nerve-wracking situation, I’ll probably just laugh in her face the minute I see her, at which point she will run away and tell her family that I’m nuts. Ha! But in all seriousness it is a moment that I look forward to and can’t wait for.
I have a lot to be grateful for in life. I have 2 awesome kids. A great husband. I love my job. And I have found the one person in my life that I have always felt I needed.
The person that “E” has become has shown me how an ugly situation can have a beautiful end result.
She is not “N”.
She is not the product of negativity.
She is “E”.
She is the beauty in the darkness.
She is my sister and I plan to cherish, laugh with, and annoy her for as long as humanly possible (which I guess would be when one of us is on our deathbed, at which time I will probably poke her with a stick or something just to get the last laugh).
So the final thoughts that I will leave you with are that life is exciting. Life is unpredictable. But at times it can also feel like life is the complete opposite. The struggles and negative moments we come to face all become miniscule when life takes a drastic and unexpected turn, at which point you find something beautiful and meaningful. And when you find yourself in a situation where life throws something amazing at you, be sure to hold tight, don’t let go, and make the most out of every minute that you have on your adventures.