[ If this is your first time reading my Adoption Story, it is a fascinating journey told in pieces. For your best experience, start from the beginning at:Adoptee with a Note]
Meeting Tina in Florida felt like the last formality in solidifying a relationship that had blossomed over the previous seven months. Our hearts were connected. We had the same blood in our veins and we shared more than DNA. Tina is a compassionate, intelligent, loyal, fair minded, maternal and reasonable woman who makes choices based on her heart and her sense of love. In her presence, I feel at home.
The moment we first saw each other was intense. We met in a parking lot around the corner from my father’s Florida home. It felt like finding a long-lost love that you never knew you lost. It wasn’t a connection, but a re-connection to something deep and meaningful and beyond explanation. An interesting and humorous dynamic about meeting with a blood relative for the first time, is how you search each other’s faces, voices and expressions deeply, hunting for recognition to yourself or anything familiar. It must be an odd ceremony to witness as two people intently gaze at each other, scanning, finding and celebrating small oddities like the same bone structure, nose, eyes, laugh or voice inflection.
Tina and I spent a day in Del Ray Beach tirelessly walking and talking and sharing our story with anyone who was willing to listen. We bought matching necklaces, took numerous Snap Chat photos that we bombarded our families and Ben with. (Ben knew I was meeting with Tina and asked for an update on how it was going. Tina and I went above and beyond on the updates. Tina and Ben felt a connection to each other through this experience, even though they weren’t related, there was a shared experience of connecting to a stranger who shared their blood.)
The first day concluded with Tina meeting my Dad and his wife, Barb, and all of us agreeing to meet for coffee the next morning. I met Tina’s family at dinner the next day. It was a perfect stereotypical dinner of Italians and a Cuban (Tina’s husband) talking and laughing loudly, conducting competing simultaneous conversations and sharing amazing food. It was what I always pictured an Italian family dinner to be like, including the musician playing an accordion. He serenaded our table and we all sang “O Sole Mio”. Yep, even me. 😊 The time with Tina went by fast, but it was very quality time and it is a memory I cherish as one of many that we will create in our lifetime.
After I returned home from Florida, Tina and I continue to communicate regularly, and she has grown to be one of my closest and most cherished friends. Her fierce loyalty, her integrity and her loving viewpoint of humanity and the world are inspiring and comforting to me. Everyone should have a cousin or relative like Tina. I’m sure grateful that I do!
Ben, his wife, Alex, and I continue to stay connected. I’ve had a conversation with my half-sister on my father’s side and had a texting conversation with one of my new nieces, Ben’s daughter. I’m looking forward to having a face to face experience with the Andersen family one day. We are trying to get that on the calendar. Linda, Ben’s mother, is coming to terms with the news of me and I’ve been told she once referred to me as her “step-daughter”. That fills my heart. I hope a time comes when Linda will feel comfortable enough to share the wonderful details about my father that only a soul-mate could know.
I see a relationship blossoming with Ben and Alex much like my relationship with Tina but in a different way. Ben and I reside together in ways such as logic, reason, dry humor, intellect, emotional intelligence, love of words, integrity, openness and acceptance. Such wonderful possibilities exist here, and I have high hopes for our evolving connection.
For now, I’m letting go of expectations around my birth mother, Angela. It also saddens me to think I have half siblings on her side that I cannot reach out to, but perhaps that will all happen in its own timeframe.
So, folks, this catches us up to where we are in my journey. Thank you so much for riding along with me and sharing in the unbelievable discoveries and clues that existed the whole time within my reach. This journey made me realize how small the world is and illustrated how complicated we are as humans. Each of our life journeys are so unique and so filled with challenges and obstacles. And how beautiful it is to witness love lift us over those obstacles when and if we choose to let it do so.
I’m excited to say that I’ve been inspired by this journey and this blog to bring the story into another form. I’ve begun the process of writing a book about my life and my adoption story. I’ll keep you posted on its progress. Wish me luck. 😊
Thank you to all the people who have encouraged me with each entry and validated for me what an incredible story it is.
I’ll keep writing blogs, about what I’m not yet sure, but as for this Adoption Story Blog, it is complete.
With Love and Blessing and Gratitude, I'll ride off into the sunset now...or paddle my kayak into the sunset....that's better. Until next time...