I’m not sure how to begin this story but I’ll start with the day I spit into a test tube and sent it away to Ancestry.com in 2017. I was adopted and just wanted to see how Irish I really was, and what else might be in my mix. Several weeks went by, I got the results, and I cancelled my membership.
I spit. I sent. I’m 96% Irish. The end.
Ha! The universe decided to add a few more acts to this drama. Almost 2 years later, on December 30th, I was checking my email and there, staring back at me, were 3 inbox messages from Ancestry.
“Hi, I’m working on my family tree and I see that you and I are closely related. I was wondering if you could help me figure out our relationship. I was adopted through Catholic Charities of Maryland in 1957 and have been searching for birth family for about 30 years. The records are still court-sealed in MD so it’s been difficult. I’ve had an amazing life and was placed with a wonderful Mom, who lives with me and is 90 now, and a great Dad, who passed in 1990. I also have an adopted brother. You and I are very closely related according to Ancestry ~ in fact you’re my second-highest match! I would love to communicate further with you. Sincerely, Julie”
“Hey Regina, I am reaching out to you because I think you are my first cousin. I didn’t even know you existed until about 5 years ago. I think you are my age 51-52? I would love to speak to you. We are having a family reunion in Cherry Hill, NJ and you have a lot of blood relatives who would love to meet you. Thanks for your consideration. Lorraine”
“Hello Regina. According to Ancestry we are first cousins. Not sure if you are interested in knowing more about your biological family but if you are I can give you any information you want to know. Sincerely, George”
I can only use one word to describe my reaction… “gobsmacked!” Followed closely behind by “skepticism.” My first thought was, “Is this a scam?!” Then after rereading the messages I thought, “How does George know I was adopted? That information isn’t even on Ancestry.”
Rewind to the year 1995.
At that time I had looked into finding my birth family and received some limited information from the adoption agency. I was given my mother’s first name and told that she had a family with 4 children. I was 27, happy with my life and was concerned about any possible drama, so I decided not to pursue a meeting. I simply closed that door.
But after receiving the messages from Ancestry, I decided I would have to message them back and find out more. Julie, Lorraine, George and I went back and forth with several messages, me asking MANY questions. We continued to message back and forth, and then I finally worked up the courage to call and speak with two of them.
After more messages and a few more conversations, I found out that Julie was my half-sister. A half-sister I didn’t even know existed! She was also given up for adoption, 10 years before I was born. I was in shock!
Lorraine and George are my half-cousins. They informed me that I actually have 43 cousins! Many living in the Philadelphia area.
On January 6th I met Julie, my half-sister, and it was incredible. I expected the meeting to be a bit uncomfortable – I was super nervous and even a bit on guard. But instead, I saw her and felt this instant connection. It was honestly the weirdest, most incredible thing I’ve ever experienced. As soon as we saw each other she hugged me and said, “I’ve been looking for you for 30 years… I can’t believe I found you.” She and I just cried in each other’s arms.
I’ll be meeting my other half-sisters this weekend.
Life is a wonder that never ceases to amaze me.