If you have ever been abandoned, especially as a child, then you know how easy it is to feel “unloveable” and to feel like you are not “enough”. EVER.
But today, once again, I had an amazing experience that made those two feelings just disappear. And my sister, Patty, agreed that she felt the same way. We went on another adventure together and even though it was a long day and involved a lot of driving, we are so glad we did!! The rewards were so worth the effort!
Earlier this year, my Aunt Nan, gave me the phone number of one of her cousins named “Stevie”…Stevie being short for Stephanie. So we connected by phone and I immediately felt a connection with her and even though she is really a cousin, her being fairly close in age to my Aunt Nan, she let me call her “Aunt Stevie”. She and her husband run a veterinary hospital in Texas and even though she works 5-6 days a week, she still made time to phone me at least 3-4 times (some times more) per week, just to check in and make sure I was doing all right. She immediately let me know that she was glad I had found their family and that she loved me and wanted me to be part of her life. She also called me “Angel” from the first phone call…even though I felt like SHE was the Angel for reaching out to me the way she did and caring about me enough to call and check on me in the way she did. It reminded me of my sweet Momma, who often called, just because she hadn’t heard from me that day or just wanted to make sure I was doing all right. And while Aunt Stevie lives in Texas, she seemed much closer, and she, indeed, had relatives in Indiana, including two daughters. She told me they have a family reunion every year and she wanted to make sure I would come this year! And she told me to invite any of the other family members I had met, as well, which I did. So today was the much anticipated reunion day!
The only other family that was able to make it to this reunion was my sister, Patty. So she got up at 430 am on Sunday so she could drive 2 1/2 hours to my house, hop in the car with me, and then we drove another 3 hours to get to the reunion north of Indianapolis. Having never met anyone else who would be at the reunion, we were both a little nervous and apprehensive, but hopeful that it would be a good experience. But what we hoped for was nothing compared to what we were to experience?!
We were welcomed and greeted at the door by one of Stevie’s daughters and whisked inside like we were ceblebrities or something?! We were taken directly to Aunt Stevie, who could hardly hug us and kiss us enough! She seemed so genuinely excited that we had come. She immediately started taking us around and introducing us to everybody and their brother….And then some!! She went out of her way to make us feel like we truly were part of this family! And it was incredible. We must have told and retold our stories 20 times and everyone was just so kind, and so happy that we had found them, and they made us feel so genuinely welcome!
After a great lunch, we were invited to be part of the family pictures that are taken every year at this reunion….And after the photos were taken, Aunt Stevie got everyone’s attention and she was looking at Patty and me and started saying “Today, we have two new….”And her voice trailed off and she just started to cry. She asked her daughter, who was standing beside her, to finish the story and she tried, but she too teared up. So of course, Patty and I are both crying by this time, because we are just so touched by the sweetness of it all. Anyway, long story short…They somehow managed to introduce us. And anyone we hadn’t yet met, also introduced themselves to us and talked to us and welcomed us to the family. It was almost surreal.
We also met and got to talk with another family member who is very into genealogy and has worked extensively on their family tree! She spent some time with Patty and me taking notes about our families and the information we knew so that she could include us in the family tree and such. We told her about the DNA testing we had done and I shared with her my original certificate of birth. We also told her about the other siblings that we know are out there somewhere, and she said she would do what she could to help us with that search. We are, of course, very excited about that!!
As the day wrapped up, I think Patty and I both agreed that we weren’t really ready for it to end…It had been such a positive experience. And we knew it was one of those days that would not soon be forgotten!
We pretty much talked non-stop on our long drive home about how glad we were that we decided to make the trip and how wonderful everyone treated us! We both feel that we have really “lucked out” in the biological family search department, because we have felt welcomed and accepted by most everyone we have found, with the exception of a few. And we do realize that this is NOT always the case for people connecting with their biological families, especially when the family members are adults and not children. I mean, here we are, definitely well into adulthood, and we just kind of “show up” after 55 or so years…and we are just welcomed in, without question and without hesitation! Just. Like. That.
It is an incredible feeling!! So I dedicate this blog tonight, to our Aunt Stevie. Thank you for everything you have done to bring us into your part of this awesome family!