homesick.

it’s been 66 days since this all started unfolding.

4 life changing meetings in 3 days.

too many feelings to count.

a roller coaster of emotions with the highest peaks and deep, plummeting slopes.

I feel joy and true love yet somber and melancholy.

i’m on cloud 9 then feel a sense of depression.

poignancy: “positive and negative emotion mixed together.” it’s the ability to clearly feel two things at once without either being diminished. an accurate reminder that perfecting describes how I have been feeling and was brought to my attention by a new cousin when she reached out to me for the first time.

but the negative emotions surprise me.

new is unfamiliar and change is scary.

i have sat down on many occasions trying to blog about my first meeting with my birth mom, my first family event with my birth father and meeting my 3 sisters, nieces and nephews.

it’s been 2 weeks since i’ve been home and i am finally able to put a word to this rollercoaster: I am homesick.

homesick is experiencing a longing for one’s home during a period of absence from it.

i yearn to be with my new family. I hear and see their family functions happening around me that I can’t be apart of but this time only because of logistics.

I have always struggled with being homesick since i’ve left new mexico 3 years ago and the first time i left in 1998. family dinners, major and minor holidays, play dates with cousins, impromptu starbucks meet ups, company to the grocery store.

homesickness lessened about 1.5 years ago. i finally found my place in arizona. my group of friends are not much different than my family. for a while i kept finding excuses to not be homesick in hopes it would make it go away. it’s never gone away.

i have always been drawn to new mexico.

i have always called new mexico my home.

it will always be my home.

i believe i will always be homesick.

be brave.

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love not label.

I have talked about my continuously unfolding story to strangers on the street, people on the internet, friends over the phone, and new relatives face to face. I talk about this story the way I have been used my whole and more specifically since I entered the adoption world as a waiting parent. seeing birth mama situations, using “the baby”, “her baby”…

and after 34 years, I get to change the verbiage. I get to change the titles, the labels, the pronouns.

GET, not have to.

“the baby” is me!

I am a big sister.

I have living grandparents.

I get motherly phone calls.

their mom… my grandma

his brother… my uncle

his daughters… my sisters

her sisters …. my aunts

but lets stop right there. I get asked a lot by many if and/or when I will change my language.

I am in no rush to use or claim these adjectives.

I have no pressure to label these new relatives let alone label all these feelings and relationships.

There is [hopefully] no pressure for them to title me.

when I do use them, it’s because I want to.

it may be tomorrow, yesterday, today. it may be the first time or maybe the last time.

when I use them, I consider and acknowledge all parties who also use them and have been using them for their whole lives.

when I do use them, I feel honored.

I am not replacing anyone or forgetting about anyone.

I am a stranger walking in and I do not want to walk over them. labels can take people to places of hurt but also healing.

I am blood.

I am dna.

I am home.

“God opens millions of flowers without forcing the buds, it reminds us not to force anything for things happen in the right time.”

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her handwriting.

a lot has unfolded in the last couple months. new family members. new connections. news stories to hear. new stories to be told. friends and family have continually checked regarding my birth family reunions, mothers day, my moms anniversary. to be honest, it’s been A LOT. not bad a lot. but A LOT. over the past few days, as busy as I have made myself, I have had time to reflect on the reality of my life; where it stands now.

new family. missed family. people who get to fit in. people who are missing out.

this anniversary has been different from the rest.

I get to RETELL my story.

I get to RELIVE the love I have for my mom.

I get to REMEMBER the amazing memories but I also get to remember the trauma and hard times that have led me right here. all crucial steps in the grieving process.

the dust has settled. apprehension has lessened. I decided to torture myself by looking at photo albums my dad brought on his last visit here.

i’ve been so worried about forgetting her. forgetting our connection. forgetting her personality. forgetting the sound of her voice. her mannerisms…

…her hand writing. right there in front of me. a trait I haven’t seen in a long long time. I think my heart skipped few too many beats. handwriting seems like an oddly personal attribute these days and here, through and through the pages of these albums she’s narrating our life memories; illustrating her love for traveling + adventure.

then, to see my name in her handwriting filled my body with so much love. which was the most perfect way to close out this month of moms + memories.

this weekend as given me a different perspective about my past. it may just be for this anniversary but this is the one I need to worry about now. guys, ask me questions because i want to answer them. it’s okay to see me cry. it’s okay if you want to cry. it’s okay to feel the pain but to remember I am still healing. it’s okay to give myself grace. 18 years later.

be brave.

today.

today is my first year celebrating MY birth mom. the fact that I got to text her today is overwhelming + unimaginable. today is bringing up very surprising emotions for me- joy, happiness, excitement, peace yet sadness, guilt.

is it hers?

is it mama L’s?

is it my own?

is it my moms?

i’ve thought about my birth mom for my whole life. I’ve thought about this celebration as a potential. here I am left with many tears and zero words.

still processing all of this.

still sifting through my thoughts + emotions.

the most common word flooding my mind:

thankful.

thankful for her decision.

thankful for my life.

thankful for this reunion.

thankful for her bravery.

thankful for her honesty.

thankful for her openness.

thankful for her story.

thankful for her.

today, I know her favorite colors are turquoise and cobalt blue.

today, I know her favorite flower are sunflowers.

today, I know her favorite food is mexican.

today, I know she has a sweet tooth verses salty taste buds.

today she knows I am thinking of her and I know she is thinking of me.

today is much more than I thought it would be.

be brave.

may first two thousand and eighteen.

I know WHAT was just said but it hasn’t sunk in WHO it was with…

I spent a lifetime dreaming, three weeks in suspense and here we are.

investigating. connecting dots. searching. asking questions. playing detective. a lot of this I had set out for yet it also fell into my lap.

i have written many blog posts “to her”… and as I write this one I can’t believe I know she will read it. on purpose. most importantly, I can tell her. I can call her. I can text her. I can update her.

she revealed our story to my ears. mother to daughter, daughter to mother… she opened her heart. she gave me answers. she asked her questions. I heard sadness and relief. I felt grateful and thanked her.

she loves me. she thinks about me. she misses me. she is proud of me. all of this I officially know and is no longer a segway to find peace or distraction to make sense of what I never knew.

we laughed the same laugh. we shared our strengths and weaknesses. she updated me on current life and explained her past. we both loved dolly’s and playing teacher. we both struggled with our academics. we both have wavy hair. all in 2 hours. I didn’t want to stop talking and I didn’t want to stop listening.

to know her biggest struggle was my biggest blessing. I told her, yet I can’t reiterate enough, that she changed my life. she may not believe me yet but I will help her to find the confidence to truly believe that. her decision to place set me up for success, love, strength, hope. sometimes it can be hard to see that but I am proof that that is the case.

so much i want to divulge about our conversation but i’m guarding it with my whole heart. so many hearts involved. so many eyes reading. so many emotions unfolding. reality starting to sink in.

we are both open. open to see what’s next. open to navigate this new beginning with each other.

I found her. I found my birth mother.

be brave.

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dear mom + dad.

when I give Brooklyn my blessing to find her bio family when she is ready, like you gave us, I want to reassure her to never forget me. never forget our inside jokes, nicknames, favorite time of day to cuddle. I want her to know she can always lean on me if the road to her biological past gets bumpy, blurry or seems untouchable.

through my journey, I never want you two to feel like i’m forgetting you. that i am needing something more. nothing will ever be replaced. nothing will be lost. never forgotten.

I have never been more grateful for the life you have given me. the opportunities because of your endless love and huge hearts. the lessons I learned through trial and error and through your stories and experiences, will trickle down to my kids, biological or adopted.

mom, I want to be exactly like you. you were my best friend. I was scared as hell of you because you were so strong + independent + vocal. you were strict but loving. you were protective. you have been gone for almost 18 years, more than half my life, and I still can remember the softness of your hands and they way you wiped your mouth during meals.

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dad, I look up to you. your passion to live for other people above yourself is a quality that’s inspiring. you bend over backwards for people and never expect anything in return. you know how rare that is especially these days, right? you have taught me to never give up even when all the health and emotional obstacles hit me like a ton of bricks. you have been a huge advocate when I was struggling in school and my rock when i got my heart broken for the first time. being left to raise two teens girls on your own was no easy task but you always stood tall and loved so big. the love that you have shown Brooklyn is nothing short of natural and welcoming.

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no matter where this road leads me, to immediate blood or farther down the lineage, it’s because of you guys and the way you raised me that I can handle what’s ahead of me. you have taught me and prepared me for this part of my life. I will still need you; I will still want you, whether long distance over the phone or through my prayers to heaven.

you both are literally impossible to replace now and forever.

be brave.

happy BIRTHday to me.

to be welcomed. to be encouraged. to be informed. to be supported. to be validated. those were what I dreamt of when looking for my biological family. although never something I expected, especially on or near my birthday. the past few weeks my mind as been consumed with the potential of a biological mother especially with Mother’s Day nearing as well as my mom’s anniversary of when she passed. the thought of finding or even connecting with my birth father side seemed impossible and a thought that quickly left my mind as it entered.

Ancestry was one of the stepping stones that began my journey. 2016 I bought a kit to find my ethnicity. never thought it would be the link to a part of my heritage that I thought was impossible to find and there it was. an entire family within arms reach of me. searching and looking for the connections between me and them. I had been in minimal contact with one of my highest matches off and on since Feb of this year. a man already offering me information that may be helpful yet I had no feedback to give since mine was so limited. Fast forward to last week.

April 17, 2018 my life changed forever. After being encouraged to log back onto my account after a few months away, I dove head first into the researching centimorgans, clicking back n forth between profiles, looking at maps, searching names on google. everything starting to fall into place. this man, the man behind my highest match is my biological uncle likely on my fathers side! can you believe it?! 6 days into knowing this and I still cannot. I bluntly contacted him and told him that I had a strong belief he was my uncle and his dad is my grandfather. his response, “call me!” if you know me, you know I am not one to just pick up the phone but I didn’t think twice! shaking with nerves within minutes of talking everything seemed so natural. he was very open to helping me connect the dots. we talked timelines, siblings, cities, dates.

this family owes me nothing. this family already has given me more than I could have ever asked. the time. the effort. the excitement. the welcome.

I got to meet this wonderful man, and his family. stunned by our resemblances. mesmerized by our comfort level. fascinated by the instant connection.

my newly found uncle and son sat in the middle of Starbucks yesterday and sang me ‘happy birthday’ with a wooden toy cake in front of me. never would have imagined this would unfold let alone on my birthday!

the story keeps unfolding. keeps evolving. more hearts invested. more stories connecting…

to be continued.

be brave.