Monday, February 24, 2014

Life Changes via Text Message

Part 3 of the search for my biological mother begins...
In case you're just tuning in, check out Part 1 & Part 2 before reading this.

So...
It's been one week.
Exactly.

How can I even begin to write this?


Last Monday, February 17th will forever be etched on my heart.

Because... you see... that's the day I talked to HER!

I got the email from my case worker with HER name.
With HER contact information.

What did I do with that?

Well, I tried to go through the proper channels and contact my social worker so she could set up a time for me to call HER, but I tried calling three times and couldn't get through. I had waited 29 years. I couldn't wait anymore. So I did what any millennial would do...
That's right. I texted her...



Can you feel the nervous anticipation in the above picture? There is my first message to her, and the little bubble with (...) means SHE is typing a message to me! Can you imagine how breathless that wait was? Soon I would have answers. Soon I would again feel the connection again.

Now before you judge me for texting her- let me explain...
I knew she was probably at work, and I got a little impatient. I wanted to connect with her before I went to bed, but didn't want her to get a call from me at work!! No, no no!

So I texted her.

We chatted for about 30 mins via text and set the time for me to make THE CALL. We made it for 7:35 am Korea time since she (being in the US) would be getting off work.

I think I got about an hour of sleep that night. My alarm went off and I jolted wide awake and out of bed- totally not normal behavior for me.  I took my pillow, blanket and computer to my yoga room and laid down on the floor. I took a few deep breaths and tried to pull myself together. I opened Skype and typed in HER number with unsteady fingers. Why was it taking so long to input an 11 digit number!?

Me, being the obsessive person that I am, turned on the voice memo app on my iPhone to record our first  convo.  I wanted to remember everything- every single breath and every tear. Then... I hit the "Call" button. This is what happened...

video


What a totally Earth shaking experience. Her voice was so lovely, and so familiar. We talked and cried together... it really was a beautiful thing. We were on the phone for about 3.5 hours!

She told me about her life. She told me about my full biological sister that was born a year after me... She told me that my sister knew about me... She told me that when they would say prayers every night they would pray for me and send me their love. She told me that my sister would kiss her baby doll and say "Goodnight sister" to me. She told me... that... my sister succumbed to cancer when she was only 6 years old...

Now, I had known this since the previous week- the case worker told me. I have cried and grieved for ever since I found out. For my beautiful little sister Jessica... and for HER too.

We talked about my life growing up and my adoptive family. We talked about a whole other LARGE  family that I have that I never knew about- aunts, uncles, cousins, a grandmother. I also have a half brother and half sister from my father!!  They don't all know about me yet, but are slowly finding out. My parents are no longer together and have been divorced for some time but they are getting together tomorrow to discuss all of this and going to tell my grandmother that I exist. She's the one I wrote about before that is from Colombia! Can you imagine her utter shock!?

Since our conversation over the phone we have been texting non-stop! We've sent lots of photos to each other, but I don't feel like I should put recent photos on here to protect her privacy... this situation is still relatively new for everyone. But I will once everything is settled down a bit.

HER in the early 90's! Love the hair, love the red, love everything!


Me with the blonde afro I've had for basically all of my life and my sister Mollie.
The time difference does pose a bit of a challenge... we both haven't been getting much sleep... but I can honestly say that this week has been the most emotional and most happy week of my entire life. I feel like I am walking on rainbows wherever I go. I feel like I walk taller and more confidently on the Earth since I know my roots. Even my curly hair and the fact that I tend to find it impossible to be on time to places doesn't bother me as much now because now I know those things come from her.

It's such an interesting situation I am in. I feel like we should be "strangers"... we just only met a week ago. But I feel like I have always known her. In so many ways she understands me better than I've been understood before. This is in part because we share so many personality traits. It's really surreal to be understood so well by a person you have just met. It all comes natural. There is nothing forced.

As with so many things in my life, this whole journey has been blessed and put into place by a higher power. Example: The agency actually had been trying to get a hold of HER by phone, but they kept leaving very vague messages on her machine. She wasn't sure exactly who they were and was  skeptical to call them back. Then, they wrote her a letter. The letter... was dated.. the anniversary of my sister Jessica's death. *the signs*

The timing has also been impeccable. We are leaving Korea for good in one week. We will be doing a road trip through the entire US from California to West Virginia. It's been planned for months that we will be driving through all the southern states... where she just so happens to live.




We have no set timeline and nowhere pressing to be this time. Usually on vacation we have to hurry back to work. But since we are moving to Ecuador soon and starting our own business, we can be flexible with our schedule. There is plenty of time for me to meet her without any constraints!

I never imagined that a single phone call could give me so much.
I have this amazing person that gave me the gift of life. She loved me so much that she did the hardest thing a woman can do to give me a better life.  She is so loving and so open to me. She is so considerate and kind. In addition to this most precious gift I have also gained or rather, discovered, all of these other people in her family that love me too. It truly is like discovering buried treasure.

I have about 3 weeks until I can meet her and give her that long awaited hug! How am I going to wait!? I'm actually really super nervous about it if I am honest. My stomach goes in knots just thinking about it!


My life is about to get a whole lot different.

So many new horizons ahead. I need to just stay focused on those horizons. If I start to look back at the past, I rob myself of both the present and the future. I can't do that... I've come so far!

Thank you so much for all of your calls, texts, and messages. It's been so wonderful to be surrounded by such love. I believe that all the prayer and positive energy being sent to this situation has gone so far to help on so many levels.

Aside from learning about the true power of love and what it can do, I have learned to
never live your life wondering...

FIND OUT!
Knowing and abiding in the truth is always better that hiding in fear and denial.

Step out in hope~

Live your life
The Empowered Way




A Word To Adoptive Parents:
I know I have friends out there that recently have adopted babies. It might be hard for you to read my 3 most recent posts. I get that. But please, let your child know where they came from. Be honest and open with them. Giving adopted children a stable and loving home is simply not enough. They need to have time to grieve for the loss of their biological family. Yes- even if they were infants when they were adopted. Please read the book "The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child" by Nancy Newton Verrier and understand what is going on inside of them, you simply have no idea.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mother Found.

If you read my LAST blog post,  you'll know that I've finally began searching for my biological parents. I'm starting the search with looking for my mother.

I just can't believe all the supportive messages, comments and phone calls that I have received during this process!! I am really stunned! I've had fellow adoptees messaging me, and [unexpectedly] BIRTH PARENTS, sharing their stories and their hearts. What a beautiful time this is.

So on Monday, it was exactly one month since the Adoption Reunion Registry received the forms.

I get an email from my case worker on Monday night (Korean time).

"I have an update on your case" she says. "Call me in the office."

I call right away- only a few minutes after her email was sent....




She tells me that the agency found HER!





That she has talked to HER!





That she has been looking for me too and wants to have contact with me!!


Elation!!!!!



But...

there were more details that I never expected to hear. I tried to prepare myself for all possible scenarios. I actually came up with 23 different scenarios and outcomes of this mission. Would you believe that the actual outcome wasn't one of the ones that I had created and "prepared" for?

How could I have ever thought of this outcome in a million years?

I feel SUCH sadness for things that my biological mother has had to go through since my birth.  I've cried and lost sleep over it.  I have a renewed since of love for her that was dormant until now.

Of course I am SO THRILLED and so thankful that we will soon be able to meet. I feel like I've been given a second chance at having a family. This is seriously the one thing I've wanted as long as I could remember- But something that I always had to hide because my adoptive mother could never have handled the truth.

My birthmother asked my case worker if I still had the blanket (that she made for me!) and the letter that she wrote me..... NO.  I never had either of those in fact. They were never passed along to me! It's really devastating. It would have made all the difference in the world to me. My adoptive mother never saw fit to give those things to me OR to even tell me they existed. :(   But it doesn't matter. It didn't stop the love that I felt coming from her. She told my case worker that she has been praying for me for my whole life. How special it was to hear that. For all of my life, I had no idea that prayers and love were being sent to me. I guess that could explain all the ways that I have been protected in my life in certain situations.


So after finding all of these things out, I basically stayed up all night. How could I sleep!?

I called my best friend in the US and she sat in the parking lot of a grocery store and talked to me for almost TWO HOURS.... My best friend that lives in Korea is on vacation in Hawaii and she took a break from paradise to call me as soon as she got my message.  I texted two of my aunts, talked to my mother-in-law on Skype and my sister-in-laws on Facebook.  I'm so lucky to know such wise and wonderful women. Each of them has their unique role in my life- each of them are so unique and bring another piece to the puzzle.

And... my husband.... what a man! He is so strong and so loving even when he doesn't know how to react or what to say.

It was such an emotional night. Wow! It was so hard that I had to take a sick day from school the next day. I felt like I couldn't move. I had no physical or emotional strength.

I'm much better now, after the initial shock of it all. But still my mind is preoccupied with HER. I have so many other things I need to focus on: graduating, selling our stuff in Korea, planning for our US road trip, planning to move to Ecuador.  But all I can do is think and pray and meditate... searching my memory for her face, her voice, her laugh. Hoping that while I'm doing these things, she is too and we will meet in our thoughts. I believe in things like that, you know.


So what's next?

The Reunion Registry will send forms to my birthmother. She is to fill them out and have them notarized and returned to the office. The process is said to take from 2-3 weeks. Atlanta is actually having this freak winter storm at the moment... The whole city is covered in ice and snow. SO, the office has been closed for the past 2 days!!! Seriously- what are the odds!?

I'm trying to document and be open to all my emotions in this process. Very shortly, we will meet. A cycle of my life will be over, and a new one will begin. So many unknowns, but I will try to live in the present. I want to fully remember this time in my life. We leave Korea in 2 weeks and 4 days... maybe, just maybe, I will get to speak to HER before then!


ALSO
On an interesting note- Has anyone out there seen the new Disney movie, Frozen?
I tell you.... these kids are OBSESSED with it! In case you haven't, Princess Elsa has this strange ice and snow power that she tries to hide. When she is emotional or upset, her power becomes harder to control. She ends up accidentally freezing the whole town!!

Like this.


I can't help but feel like Elsa. WHY you ask? Well, my city in South Korea NEVER snows.
NEVER.

But the day I was an emotional wreck took a sick day, it snowed!!! ALLLLL DAY!

It even stuck to the ground! See...

This. Never. Happens.



Sorry to everyone that was inconvenienced by the weather that I made happen. :)


It was a strange day, all-in-all. I feel like some emotions that have been "Frozen" for almost 30 years are beginning to thaw.


I think I'm starting to warm up,

Elsa

Meg




PS:
If you'd like to follow this story and The Empowered Way, you can subscribe by typing your email address in the box to the right. You'll only get an email when a new post is up!

PSS:
Love this song!!! hehehe




Monday, February 3, 2014

The Path to THEM



I'm usually a private person. I don't share the intimate happenings of my life online. But this is a story so important that it needs to be documented.


So as I said in my last post...

Things have been CRAZY in these past few months.

Yes, I'm finishing up school and doing..

All. Those. Case Studies. (for my degree in Holistic Nutrition)

Yes, we are also preparing to leave Korea- our home for the past five years- and planning a 2.5 week road trip across the US.

Yes, we are preparing to pack up again and move to Ecuador in April...


But the true whirlwind of crazy started on my birthday in November.

My birthday sort of unexpectedly threw me on this path that I knew I'd be traveling down one day. A path that is wrought with emotion, joy, fear and anxiety.  The path that virtually every adopted child thinks about going down--

Finding their biological parents.


For my birthday present, Dave got together all the documents to find all the "Non-Identifying Information" from my adoption file. It turns out that due to a law change in Georgia a few years ago, it's super easy to find out information on your otherwise "closed adoption". More info on that down below.

So, I waited and waited and waited to hear back from the case worker.
She basically gets an adoption file from the state and weeds through all the information. She then types up a document in which she summarizes everything that she can tell me that does not in any way give the identities of my birth family. This could be family health history, physical appearances, details about my birth, details on foster homes (if there are any), basically you could get any information that was given up to the point of your adoption being finalized.


The four weeks I waited, I truly felt like I went through a "dark night of the soul" so to speak during that time. I was a mess. This was affecting me... it had some strange power over me. I never thought being adopted affected me until I started digging. Turns out.. it does. I dealt with a lot during those few weeks.

Then, one night as I was getting ready to sleep I checked my email one last time with heavy eyelids. And BAM! There was the summary in my inbox! My heart raced and my hands were shaking. Was I ready to read what this email contained? Was I ready to face my reality? I had always made up crazy scenarios about how my life came to be, and who my parents were. But once I read this, there was no going back. I'd finally know.  Dave was asleep, I had to go at this alone. So I opened it!

As I read through the THREE page summary of the circumstances that lead to me, it was surreal. I learned SO MUCH! I learned about my biological parents' physical characteristics, their relationship, their parents, their siblings, their hobbies... so much more than I ever dreamed of learning!!! I even learned my ancestry.. something I've longed to know for as long as I can remember!

Are you ready for this?
I learned that my grandmother was from Colombia! My friends growing up always said I didn't have "white girl hair" (Click HERE for pics) and boy were they right!

I'm 1/4 Colombian! WOW! I have always loved the Spanish language and latin music. We've also been planning to move to Ecuador for over a year.... Ecuador is.... BESIDE COLOMBIA!!!


A HUGE piece that I didn't know was even missing has been replaced. Since learning what I know I have felt so different inside.  I know where I came from! I know the blood that runs through these veins, I feel it's pulsing culture and tradition. This is something children who aren't adopted take for granted. I know there are people out there that share a part of me. To me, this blows my mind.

When the summary talked about my birth parents hobbies, personalities, and physical characteristics I couldn't believe it! I am truly a mix of them both!

I have never been anything like my adoptive family. PERIOD. If you know them, you know what I mean!

But now, I "make sense" so to speak! There is just so much joy in knowing the details. I've always felt like nature won over nurture in my life- and this just confirmed it!

What's next?

Well- now that I have the non-identifying information, I am beginning the process to FIND THEM! Families First in Atlanta, Georgia partnered with the Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry offers a super easy process to locate your biological parents, siblings, etc. There are a couple easy forms to fill out and you have to write a letter to the person you are searching for. They will contact the person on your behalf and read your letter to them. Then, if the person is willing, they will arrange a contact information exchange and you will be on your way to that first meeting.


The documents ready to be sent out!

So, I've completed and mailed in all the paperwork. That means....

I had to write a letter to my birthmother

It was certainly surreal as I sat there on the first day of the new year writing to a person I didn't technically know, but a person that I thought about so often- the person that made me- the person that I grew inside of for all those months!

I wrote through blurry eyes and I composed my letter. What should I say? How could I put down into words what I felt? When it was all said and done, I had a page and a half. This could be my only shot at communicating with the person that carried me and brought me into this world, so I had to be very intentional in my writing.

I had a few objectives that I wanted to accomplish in writing:
  • I wanted to tell her about me, and let her know what a beautiful life's journey I'm on.
  • I wanted to let her know the purpose of my wanting contact.
  • I REALLY wanted to encourage her to agree to contact, without scaring her off.
  • I wanted to let her know that I have always felt her love for me and I've never felt "unwanted".
  • I wanted to thank her for giving me life.
  • I wanted to help bring healing to her. It must be so hard to do what she did.
  • I wanted her to know that she will always be in my heart regardless of her response to my request for contact.
So with my page and a half, I hope I have accomplished this. 

This process is supposed to take anywhere from one to six months! Today marks the one month mark. I just called in and they said they have not found her updated contact information yet! UGH!

Families First and The Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry have a 90-95% success rate in finding people they search for, and of that group about 90-95% agree to contact. But, I'm trying not to get my hopes up. There are so many scenarios that could come out of this, I need to protect myself and be ready. I'm so happy I have my husband and some of the best friends a girl could have to help me during this time. 

So many unknowns coming up in my very near future! But this is going to be such a transformative year for me in so many ways. 

The Year of the Horse on the Chinese calendar has just begun. Is it a coincidence that both of my biological parents cited their love for horses in my adoption records? I personally, think not. I think it's a good sign of things to come.


Won't you send some positive energy, thoughts and prayers my way? If it's for the better good, I really hope to find her before we leave for Ecuador in April.


I'm healing.
I'm journeying.
I'm opening painful scars in attempt to heal them.

This is why I have created this blog. Things are hard to deal with. But our actions can bring us healing if we will it to be. Healing gives us true freedom.

I see no other way to live.

Everyday, I try to live.....

The Empowered Way!

Stay tuned for good news!

Oh and you can get my blog updates sent to your email by typing your email address in the side bar to the right! You're not going to want to miss the coming months!!


Meg

Any adoptees out there reading this? Have you found, or do you want to find your biological parents? We need to talk!

UPDATE HERE!


ADOPTION INFO:



If you were adopted from Georgia and are interested in finding your biological family, please contact The Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry HERE. They offer services to adopted children, birth parents,  siblings separated by adoption, and adoptive parents.
The fee for non-identifying information is $35.
The fee for a search is $300 per person.
There is free in-depth consultation available as well.
If you need financial help, they offer that too!  It really is such a great organization! I can't speak highly enough of them.

If you are thinking of starting this process and have questions, send me a message: Megan(DOT)Rushbrook(AT)gmail(DOT)com