The Monkey Is In.

So be prepared. Bring a banana.

I'm a writer of horror and dark fiction. I've been doing this since 1999 and believe me when I say, it's cheaper than therapy and safer for the world at large.

WHAT THE WHAT??

About a year ago, I signed up on the Ancestry website. I figured I’d get one of those DNA tests to get a little more definitive info on what the heck I am (Irish and Italian, mostly). I also figured that, knowing some of my birth father’s info, I could trace his family and find someone who might know who my birth mother is.

I should probably preface this by saying I was adopted when I was about 7 weeks old. I had a great life with my parents (when I say parents or siblings or aunts or uncles, I mean the family that took me into their life by choice and raised me) and I never wanted for anything. I was very, very loved and can honestly say my life was probably much better off than if my birth mother had decided to keep me and raise me alone.

I was never all that curious about my birth parents as I grew up. When I was about 5 years old, my dad and mom told me I was adopted as a baby. Apparently, I just nodded and went on about my day. The only time I searched for information was in 1993 when I realized I should have what’s known as ‘non-identifying’ info of my birth family (i.e. medical history).

After a brief time of being pissed off at my birth mom for giving me up (apparently it was necessary to state TWICE how excited she was to get back to work once she popped me out) I filed the letter away and never really thought about it again.

Fast forward 13 years to 2006. By now my mom, dad, and brother were all dead. I could have started searching for my birth parents after my dad died in 2004 but I really didn’t want to disrespect his memory. Does that make sense? Part of me thought he might get a hoot out of anything I found but at the same time, he meant the world to me and I didn’t want him thinking I was looking for his replacement.

So, in 2007, after a few emails and conversations with the adoption agency, I was told my birth father died back in 2000. But here’s his information, including social security number and oh, by the way, your birth family was from Massachusetts, you knew that right?

Um, no. No, I did not.

Um, no. No, I did not.

The agency sent me his listing from the death index in Massachusetts and, though I can’t find it, I’m pretty sure they sent me a copy of his death certificate, too. Lo and behold it was filed by his daughter, L, my half-sister. Shortly after that I wrote to her and we corresponded a few times, talked on the phone once or twice, before I headed out to Massachusetts to meet her. It was…surreal to say the least. We do look similar. I think most people would assume we’re related in some way. She also gave me a couple pictures of my birth father to keep which was nice. She actually knew I existed but in her search, she looked in the wrong area of Michigan (and possibly had the wrong year, I honestly can’t remember) which is why she never found me.

Aside from that one meeting, a few messages on Facebook, and one late night drunken panicked phone call from her about her mother and step-siblings (which had NOTHING to do with me), I kinda pulled away. She might be reading this right now and if so, I’m sorry I’ve distanced myself. But I grew up with an alcoholic where, as a child, I had no choice but to deal with it the best I could. I’m an adult now and I just don’t want that drama anymore. I know you’re working hard on changing and growing and improving and I hope with all of my heart it’s working out for you!

Fast forward again to the whole Ancestry thing. Did the DNA test and loaded the results to my profile. Along with creating a tree for my family (again, the ones that raised me), I started one with my birth father’s info in the hopes that maybe I’d find someone who knew my birth mother. Had a hit or two on some distant cousins or perhaps 1st cousins removed a few times but not much else. Then just 5 days ago a woman, K, contacted me there. She got a DNA match with me indicating a possible 1st cousin relationship. She gave me some family names and I went to look through my research.

Though nothing came up we kept messaging. The more we talked the more apparent it became that our lives were connected in more ways than possible cousins. As of me typing this up, she’s still doing some digging to confirm our suspicions but at this point, it’s about 98% positive that her mom is my birth mother.

K sent me a few pics of her and her sisters and a couple of her mom. It’s pretty fucking uncanny how similar her mom and I look. If she is my birth mom, I now know where I got my eyes, my sparse eyebrows, and my round cheeks. K and I have the same eyes/brows, too.

I know, right?

I know, right?

As you might well imagine I’m freaking the fuck out right now. Yes, I did want to find my birth mom. I think almost all adoptees, at their core, just want to know where they came from. I’m not expecting any kind of relationship with her or anyone in her family. It’s actually the farthest thing from my mind, though it would be cool to develop a friendship with K and anyone else if they want. I have a wonderful life now and great friends and family but at the same time it’s exciting to realize that I might have discovered my origin story.

Like a super hero but without the radioactive mutations.

And now, as I wrap this up, I got a FB message from K stating that her mom won’t confirm anything. Weird thing is, though, she’s not denying it either. K says that’s her mom’s way of admitting without admitting. We’ve all been there for one reason or another, amirite?

So, despite the coincidences and similarities and all the information I know that matches her life PERFECTLY, it’s pretty much done at this point. Hubby says at the very least I now have a new friend and that’s pretty cool. Maybe things will change in the future; maybe this woman will eventually reach out; maybe the world will fold in on itself and we’ll all be transported to an alien dimension where we will become slaves and put on display for them to point their tentacles at and laugh.

One never knows.

 

Being Creative Every Day

For the past couple of years, my artist buddies have posted about INKTOBER. Every day in October someone (looks like Jake Parker - not sure if he does it every year though) comes up with 31 prompts to inspire artists to draw a different picture every day during the month. For some reason this year the prompt list inspired me to think this would a great idea for writers, too! So I share it on my FB page and folks from my writers' group picked it up and ran with it.

The basic premise is simple - look at the word for the day and write a short story, flash fiction, drabble, poem, two-sentence story, or anything else that you'd like! We started a few days behind but aside from getting a little too tipsy last night (I was busy during the day, okay?) I'm on schedule. If you want, share your creations on your page(s) and use #Wordtober and don't forget to tag GLAHW

There's really no incentive. No publishing promises or accolades for being a clever girl/guy. Creativity is itself an incentive, especially for people in the arts (painters, photographers, writers, sculptors, et al). And who knows what will come from this exercise? Maybe nothing. Maybe the best thing you've ever done in your life. You won't know until you try!

Check out the picture below and get creating!!

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