Monday, July 7, 2014

The Update You've Been Waiting For… Meeting THEM.

This is going to be LONG. It just has to be that way. I hate reading long blog entries, so I will try to break it up with pictures…

 I have received so many emails and Facebook messages about what has been going on in my life since my surprising last 3 posts. (Read these before continuing FIRST POST, SECOND POST, THIRD POST)

 Sorry to leave you hanging, I just needed some time to think and process everything that has been happening in my life. So as most of you know, we are now in wonderful southern Ecuador!!! We left South Korea in early March, stayed for almost 3 months in the US, and have been here in the Andes mountains for a month now. For some reason I felt that I could not update my blog while being in the US. I had to totally get away in order to gain a good perspective. So here I am on a rainy Monday, in my adobe home, nestled high in the moutains, ready to share my story.


The Literal "Road to Reunion" 

So, as you know after leaving Korea, we flew into Los Angeles and David's parents met us there. We rented a big van and began our trip across the US! It was really a great trip and no one killed anyone- however close we might have come.

 The highlights for me were basically all in New Mexico! That place is totally magical! We saw the Earthship Biotecture in Taos, Chaco Canyon, The Four Corners Monument, and lots of other breath-taking scenery and sacred ancient sites. We ate some of THE BEST [vegan] food EVER… if you follow my instagram you know what I mean… VEGAN BACON CHEESEBURGER!?

From upper left to right: The Hollywood sign, VEGAN BACON CHEESEBURGER in TX; Chaco Canyon, NM; The Grand Canyon; A HUGE Earthship in Taos, NM; Rosewell, NM; The Four Corners- New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Arizona; VEGAN portobello "Cheese steak", Las Vegas, NV.


 We traveled through desserts, forests, snow, rain and 11 states before arriving at my destination- Aiken, South Carolina!

The Meeting

 On a rainy Sunday my husband and in-laws dropped me off at a crowded coffee shop in downtown Aiken.




 I was alone.

 It was time for me to meet HER face to face. I got there early so I could prepare myself and not forget to BREATHE. She came in the cafe, we made eye contact immediately. She smiled, I didn't know what to do. I think (hope) I smiled back. I waited for this moment for so long, but I just turned to jello. I'm not sure what we said to each other, I think I blacked out. All I remember is that she smelled good.  This cafe didn't seem like an appropriate setting for our first meeting at all. So... we left.  We drove back to her house and talked for a few hours- exchanging photos and short anecdotes of our lives.

For dinner that night, I met her sister (the one that was there when I was born), and her adorable family. She made me the most amazing scrapbook of family pictures, newspaper clippings, and even included her father's life story that he had been writing. SO cool!


The next day, I met my HALF-SISTER and her wonderful mother and step-dad. Coolest folks, ever.

The lovely sister. This was our first pic together at our first meeting at Moe's! Notice the
pose… TOTALLY not planned at all!! How crazy is that!?


Oh and let's not forget… I also met…. HIM (my BioDad). We met over lunch. I stick out my hand in effort to say "nice to meet you". He bypasses my hand and gives me a hug instead. Halfway through our lunch, his delightful 80 year old mother (the one from Colombia, South America) comes in the restaurant. What a cool lady! She drove her stick shift truck all the way to come meet me.

I also ran into her while shopping at Kroger! This is our only pic together!


After a whirlwind couple of days in SC, I rented a car and drove back to West Virginia... alone. The drive was easy and quiet. Too quiet. Quiet enough that I had to deal with everything that was happening.  It was the first time I was totally alone for about three weeks! I am the type of person that NEEDS alone time. So, although I HATE driving for long periods of time, this drive was especially therapeutic for me. It was perfect.




After the First Meeting

 When I got back to West Virginia, I de-activated my Facebook. For some reason, I just could't handle it at the moment. Lots and lots of wonderful Facebook friends and people from various stages in my life have been following my story and were curious about everything. I didn't even know what I thought yet so I couldn't really explain or articulate the magnitude of what happened inside of me to others.

 I got to talk about everything that was happening and things that I was thinking to my closest friends and my very wonderful and caring Aunts. Let me tell you, do I ever cherish those people! I've never really been a person to share too much of my inner emotions with others, so I'm not very good at it. But boy am I glad I have some pretty special people in my life that LISTEN and offer their love.

 After about a month in WV, I went back down to SC to stay for TWO WEEKS!!!! Some people thought it was risky to stay so long with people that I don't really know, but the usually overly cautious me didn't even give it a second thought. I had to stay longer because I wanted to meet as many people as wanted to meet me. I have a pretty HUGE extended family, so I wasn't sure if I'd meet all of them or just a few. I was cool with whatever situation. Plus, I would only be there alone for 1 week- David would be coming down to join me for week 2.

One of my bio father's sisters flew all the way from Colorado to see me! My bio mom's brother from California and brother from Columbia, SC came in to see me as well! I had no idea that all these people would want to know me! You see, when I started this journey I didn't even know that my biological parents would even want to know me. That is the risk we adoptees take when we start to dive into our past and it doesn't always end happily.  :(

 I'm usually a deep thinker in the sense that I like to over analyze and try to connect with my true feelings about things. But I couldn't in this situation. I felt myself realize the depth of what was going on and who these people I was surrounded with actually were... and I couldn't. I couldn't make myself realize what was happening, so I just treated them like any old people that I was meeting for the first time. Somehow NONE of them felt like strangers to me. I felt an ease and a comfort level that I have never felt around "new people"... EVER. It was totally weird, totally unexpected, and totally a relief!

Since I know you all want to know all about this family that I found, I will give a little info on them. It would be impossible to describe each and every amazing person that shares my DNA, I will for now stick to the BioMom, BioDad and my Sister.

Them

BioMom: She is caring. She is very generous and sensitive. She is artistic and creative. She is thoughtful. She is open to new ideas (I easily convinced her to make bacon from eggplants, come on!) She is funny. She is smart. She is great at her job! 



Our amazing homemade vegan eggplant bacon!! Some are a little burnt.. I need to perfect
the recipe before sharing it, but you will LOVE this… guaranteed!! No more "I can't be
vegan/vegetarian because I <heart> bacon" excuses! hehe


BioDad: He is hilarious. He does good impressions. He likes antiques. He loves growing things in the soil. He likes to work hard outside. He likes building and restoring things. He likes old cars. He likes sports. He owns a cute little B&B!


The veranda of the B&B near Aiken, SC.  It's the perfect place to stay for the Master's in Augusta, GA or if you just want a little southern
 weekend getaway. Email/message me for details!! 


Sister: She is GORGEOUS. She's smart. She's VERY artistic. She's fun. She's so thoughtful. She's kind. Such positive energy radiates around her. She has great style. She can do weird things that only I thought I could do- we both have this weird thing we can do with our thumbs… and other hidden talents.. hehe 

One of my faves from our car photo shoot.
Our weird thumb thing. Kind of hard to capture in a pic. Check out our awesome matching monogram bracelets. She also bought me the sweeeeeetestttt "sister" bracelet. That girl is so thoughtful.


 I saw different parts of myself in many of the people in my family- both physically and personality-wise. Most of you out there aren't adopted so you don't know what an amazing experience this is, but trust me... it's mind boggling to us adoptees! People look like ME?

After our painting party! Pictured, you can see my BioMom, 2 of my BioDad's sisters, 3 cousins,
2 great cousins, and my sister. We all had such a great time! Other aunt (Biomom's sister) and cousin left before
this picture was taken. They are pictured below.


Some Weird Truths

 Believe it or not, I also realized SOME traits that I picked up from my adoptive family. I would say that the "traits ratio" of biological family and adoptive family is roughly 70% BIO and 30% ADOPTIVE. I honestly didn't think I had much from my "nurture", but I realized that I AM a product of my environment in some ways. These ways don't exactly match up nor would be recognizable to the average person. But it's like... I am who I am because my adoptive family was who they were. I spent most of my life "countering" what I was experiencing in my environment.

 My WHOLE life.. as long as I can remember.. I have spent looking at my [immediate] adoptive family and thinking "I'm not like you", "I'm not going to be like you". "my birthparents are better than this". Now I know I've raised a few eyebrows, especially of people that DON'T TRULY know my adoptive mother, but no judgement please. Not everyone knows what goes on in a family regardless of how things appear on the outside. I assure you that this way of thinking helped me so much in my life. This was something that kept me motivated, and kept me wanting more. It was always the mystery in my life that I would solve "one day".

 Now that that day is here....
What are my thoughts?
 Well, honestly, I'm torn.

I just feel a little sad knowing all that I missed with my biological family. What would my life have been like had I stayed with them for these 29 years? How would I be different? What would I be doing now? What would my voice sound like? What would my name be? Would I still have the same interests and hobbies?  What career would I have chosen? How would having divorced parents and a sister that died of cancer early in my life impact me? Would I be married to David? Would I have traveled the world? SO. MANY. QUESTIONS.

 Want me to blow your mind even more?

 Not only do I think about my life with my biological family, I think about the couple that was supposed to adopt me BEFORE my mom did. That's right! I was originally supposed to go to a COUPLE (opposed to a single mother) after being born but they didn't want me because I was born prematurely. WHO would I have been then- being raised by a mother AND a father?

ALSO

What if the original baby my mom was going to adopt before me didn't die in an orphanage in India before I was adopted? Would I have went to yet another family?

So there are at least FOUR lives I could have had in the very beginning of my life before the one I ended up with.

Somehow this life was the one chosen for me. I said I was torn because being adopted does always make you wonder "what if"- it's just natural and normal- BUT the life I have now is pretty freaking amazing too. My good girlfriends, my husband, my extended adoptive family, my life experiences, my career, my belief systems.... these are the things that I cherish most. It highly unlikely that these things would be present had I NOT had the life that was chosen for me in the very beginning.

So I don't dwell on what might have been… things happen the way they do. I actually DON'T believe that everything happens for a reason as if it were all pre-destined. I just believe that things happen. Period. We learn to make the best of them and adapt accordingly.

What is Next?

All I can say is "Thank goodness for this internet age that we are living in!". Living on another continent is much easier when you can stay connected to friends and family. I went into this whole search without and expectations and I just plan on letting relationships happen as they may. 

I definitely don't want to force my presence into anyone's life. I just want any part of my newfound family reading this to know that I am always here and open for contact. You don't "bother me". This is a strange situation that we have now, and there are no precedences for this situation that we have experienced. So, I think we all don't really know how to act.

I really enjoyed meeting you all and I would like you to know how wonderful it felt to be accepted by you so openly. Thank you for helping me find the missing piece of myself and fill in the big questions I've had for so long. I never imagined in these 29 years how incredible my biological family would be and how lucky and at ease I would feel after I got to know you. 

To fellow adoptees 

Feel free to message me at anytime and we can discuss the finer points of reunion. It is hard for me to share too much [emotionally] on here, but I would love to hear from you. We can discuss more one-on-one. During this process I have, for the first time really been involved in the adoption community. I have read and watched videos that explain so much about myself and how adoption has shaped my life. I strongly encourage you to do the same. I believe that if I would have read up on adoptee issues throughout my life, I would have understood myself better and been a little easier on myself.


Now that I have "The Post" wrapped up, I can really get back into my life! I feel like writing this has kept me at a standstill. There are so many exciting things coming up with The Empowered Way!

Be on the lookout for:
A much needed blog facelift
Regular VIDEOS
Life in Ecuador
Fruit of the Andes
Recipes

And MORE coming in the weeks and months ahead. So don't forget to subscribe to The Empowered Way and have the latest post straight to your inbox!

ALSO-
I'm thinking about doing a Q&A video on this whole process. If you have any questions about this process, or any personal questions for me, I will answer them in a video in a week or if there is enough interest. You can post your question in the comments section here OR on The Empowered Way's Facebook page OR on my Instagram post OR you can email it to me at megan(dot)rushbrook(at)gmail(dot)com. Your questions can be about anything and can be anonymous if you would like. I will be as honest as possible.

At last. I am at peace. Healing is happening. I am where I need to be.

Sending you love from the Andes,

Meg