I was given up for adoption at birth. When I was five-years old, my parents informed me that I was chosen by them because that’s how much they wanted me to be their child. I still recall the lovingly perfect way they told me about their reasons for adopting me. I have vivid and wonderful memories of the experience. What I specifically remember is that the kitchen counter was around my height and that I felt completely loved and wanted.
As I got older and entered into my teens, I began to feel totally abandoned by and resentful at my birth family. Like so many children who are given up for adoption, I felt an enormous void inside of me. (Later, I would realize my void had nothing to do with me being given up for adoption and everything to do with me being a teenager with baggage.)
My creative imagination crafted all sorts of dramatic scenarios about who my birth family might be. I figured, (was pretty certain), my birth mother had to be a drug addict or prostitute – probably both. I imagined my birth father was the game show host, Bert Convy. Yes, I’m serious. We had some information on physical attributes of my birth father, and Mr. Convy looked like the guy who just had to be him. Plus, he had really cute dimples.
I had great angst over being given up for adoption for many years.
Eventually, as I got older, a lot of not-so-good and good stuff happened and I got my life together in a really wonderful way. I no longer had that void of “being abandoned” inside of me. I was no longer resentful at my birth family, (my birth mother specifically), no longer felt abandoned, and was really happy things turned out exactly the way they had.
In my early 30’s, I decided it was time to try and find my birth mother.
I was finally ready to be rejected by her. It wasn’t that I was sure it would happen that way, but I knew I’d be okay if it went that way. That’s how I knew I was really ready to try to find her.
I wasn’t seeking a hug, or an explanation either. I wanted the health information we really didn’t have from the adoption agency.
I hired a private investigator and with the sparse information I had, he located my birth uncle in two days time. My birth uncle helped schedule a time for my birth mother and me to speak.
…More on that beautiful experience later.
So, this post is about my free sister, Ibby. I will go into the wonderful experiences I’ve had with my whole family of origin in a separate post, but in this post, I want to discuss the great gift Ibby Grace is in my life.
Ibby is my birth sister and today is her birthday, so she’s on my mind even more than usual. She’s my half-sister, as we share the same birth mother. For me and I think for her, we are all, full-on, “peas and carrots” type of sisters.
For some reason, before my birth mother ever told me about my birth siblings, (I have three that I know of), I just knew I had a sister. Not only that, but I already knew so much about her before I was even told about her. I just had a sixth sense about all of it. (Okay, but my birth mother is a total stand up citizen, was never a druggy or a prostitute, but a phenomenal nurse. My birth father was not Bert Convy. Dammit.)
The first time Ibby and I met, we were at the San Francisco airport. I can’t possibly write how it felt to embrace my sister for the first time. I do remember I had major diarrhea. I mean, not when we actually embraced, but beforehand and afterward. I was so nervous to meet her and became even more nervous when it became exceedingly obvious that she’s a total genius. Like, a for real genius.
On that day, I also met one of my birth brothers, but not the birth brother I met later and who I’m totally crazy about. (CARL!)
During that vegan and diarrhea filled meal, all I could think and obsess about was, “These people are literally brilliant.” I felt really stupid, really small and as if I’d accomplished absolutely nothing in my entire life. Yeah, it’s a good thing I don’t think in extreme terms.
Where’s the bathroom?
I excused myself, did my business, and called one of my best friends and cried to her. “How can I possibly share genes with these geniuses?” My buddy, Beth, talked me off the ledge.
It’s been more than 15 years that Ibby and I have been an integral part of each others’ lives. I take a small bit of credit (even though it’s probably not at all true), for getting Ibby and her wife, Layenie, my amazing sister-in-law, together. I also have two gorgeous twin nephews who we all love boundlessly. My family got much larger and much more beautiful the instant I came in contact with my birth family.
Ibby calls me the “pretty one” and the social genius of the entire family. I’ll take it even if none of it is actually true for me. We sometimes joke about what it would have been like to grow up together. We’d have created even more collateral damage as a pair. Plus, Ib’s pretty sure she’d have been thoroughly annoyed with me and my “perfect cleanliness and social prowess.” She says I might have been the favorite child.
Side note: Ib, I was a total slob as a child. Ask my Parents. They’ll tell you.
I’m not explaining the bonds that Ibby and I share very well and I think it’s because they can’t really be explained. They just are. I love and connect to my sister as if we’ve known each other forever. I also love my whole birth family that way, but especially my free sister.
I’ll end this post with gratitude for Ibby, my birth mother and family, who are amazing friends, and my beloved Parents, MoLo, for choosing me. I am very clear that all was as it was supposed to be and all is as it should be.
I am one lucky “chosen” woman and there is no other woman I’d choose above Ibby to be my sister… my free sister!