Seven & Eight
My little sister was given up for adoption when she was born in 1992. She is my mother's eighth and last child. To think I have been trying all that I can for the past 15 years or so to find an unknown person is sometimes so crazy to me. She could totally hate me, but I am going for it. Through the whole process, I just wanted to know that she was okay. I wanted to know that she had a good life and a good family. I always focused my search on finding her parents, because it was never my place to tell her she was adopted. I never wanted to hurt anyone. For many years, I felt like a failure. All this technology at my fingertips, and I still couldn't find her. I even applied to be on a TV show. I was in contact with the show for a little while but ultimately, they couldn't find her. “Where did I go wrong?” I thought. It wasn't until 2017 that I realized all that I had learned from trying to find her. Starting this journey opened a whole new world for me. My love of genealogy. I am sure it was always there, but it was flourished because of her. I have used all this knowledge to help so many people over the years. Some with great success and some with no solution at all. I decided to start my little side quest and Genealogy Girl was born! Since then, I have been able to help even more with their genealogy, finding family members, hunting graves, and returning photos/documents from estate sales/vintage stores to the original families/blood lines. It has been an amazing experience so far! For me, she is more than my blood sister. She became my inspiration for the amazing things that I do now to help others. I decided to buy a DNA kit from Ancestry.com. It took about eight weeks to get the results in which felt like forever. When I finally got the email that my results were in, I shrieked in excitement! I had about 3,000 matches. I just knew that one of those had to be my sister. I was so disappointed when there were no sibling matches. I was devastated. I just knew that I would never find her. I didn't even go through my matches for weeks. When I finally did, I found so many new connections. I was able to build my family tree so much more. I had contemplated buying more DNA kit from other sites, but it just didn't feel right. I slowed down on looking for her. I felt like that was a sign for me to take a break because it would happen when it happened. My half-brother decided to research his DNA and medical traits using a DNA kit from 23andMe.com in 2019. He and I have the same mother so I figured his DNA would pick up on any sibling matches. Unfortunately, there were matches for siblings. Since he and I are not full blood siblings, I explained that sometimes sibling matches can come up as a first cousin. It comes down to how the DNA matches according to the centimorgans in the DNA. Honestly, it is super scientific and I'm more artsy. So basically, I needed him to keep an eye out for sibling and first cousin. Fast forward to January 1, 2022, I still had not found my sister. I had the day off from work for the holiday, so I was being lazy lounging in bed. It was about 6:15p.m. when I got a message from my cousin on my mother's side about a DNA match from her account on 23andMe.com. She messaged me that someone was trying to find their birth mother and she figured that I could help. When I read the words “She was born in 1992 in Florida.” I lost my breath for a moment. I immediately began to cry. I couldn't find my breath or my voice. I texted my husband who was in the other room and he came into the bedroom and said, “Are you serious?” We were both in shock. Fifteen years or so of researching, joining groups on social media, registered with multiple adoption reunion groups, interviewed for a TV show, DNA testing and I still couldn't find her. She found me. Our first texts to each other were very guarded. I didn't know what she knew or didn't know, and I wasn't sure how much of my information was 100% accurate. Within a few hours, we were sharing pictures and a list of our favorites. We met at an airport in Pensacola, FL where she picked me and my daughter up for a trip to the beach. Meeting her and her family has been so rewarding. I cannot believe how similar we are in the most unusual ways. About six months later, we are so close. We talk multiple times a week and cannot wait to share things with each other. We are not afraid to have the hard conversations, but we are always transparent. Over the years I have read so many articles and blogs about the emotional toll that finding an adopted sibling can take on a person's mental health. There are so many things that can happen or go wrong. I was prepared for anything. I was prepared to hear the words, “I don't want anything to do with you." I was also prepared to cry if I heard those answers. It has been an emotional roller coaster for sure, but I have been waiting to get on this ride for a long time.