This past week there have been a number of things I wanted to write about.
There was a very interesting article on Blaine Bettinger’s Face Book Page Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques about paternal versus patrilineal and maternal versus matrilineal, and why does it matter? from dna-explained.com.
I am becoming a geek.
Or maybe a review of good Genealogy podcasts that I listen to such as CutOff Genes and what is out there that might interest you.
But I am choosing during this family time of year to write about my Thoughts On Meeting Your Biological Family.
Three years ago in November I found my half sister on my maternal side and in May of 2016 met my maternal uncle and aunt. And in June met my maternal sisters, brother, aunt, nieces and nephews and a host of cousins
This past Saturday I met my half brother on my paternal side, his daughter, wife and brother-in-law. We made tentative plans to meet again at Christmas time so I can meet his other daughter. Am excited!
Most adopted people, once they start their search usually find people that they are biologically related. And when we realize that we actually do share DNA with others and it is not an Urban Legend we are a bit shelled shocked and excited.
Our minds start racing, and we start building our trees to see where people fit, We start researching (some might call it stalking but not me I call it researching).
We look at census data, newspapers, other people trees on DNA sites, obits, graveyards, church records, military records and any scrap of information we can get our hands on.
In addition there are more and more technological tools to help us determine who is related and what line they belong in. Tools like Gedmatch, DNA Painter, What are the Odds, Chromosome Browsers and many more.
We spend countless hours researching to figure out who are our people.
So we have found them and we have contacted them and they want to meet.
Let me point out here that not everyone who searches finds, not everyone who finds contacts and not everyone who finds and contacts has the result they had hoped.
I am exceedingly lucky and fortunate that my journey has been truly blessed with DNA matches that were close and helpful and that both my maternal and paternal bio families were open to an unknown family member and that my own family and friends are supportive.
I am going to recount here meeting my paternal half brother since it just happened. I will talk about meeting my maternal family in a future blog. Both stories are good.
It was a dark and stormy night.
Yes it really was, as I drove to meet them for dinner it was poring rain.
My half brother and his wife were visiting one of their daughters for the Thanksgiving holiday and he had texted me about having lunch or dinner. This would be the first time we met. I was very excited and said would love to have dinner.
As I was driving there I wondered if he and his family were huggers? It is weird the things you think as you are driving to meet your brother for the first time. And yes they are huggers. So am I.
You also think, what are they like? Will I like them? Will they like me? What will we talk about? Will this be the only time we meet? What are they thinking about me? So much goes through your mind.
The good news is after the hello hug and their warm smiles I forgot all of those questions and felt very comfortable with them.
My brother brought pictures of family members and he told me about them. I of course from building my tree knew their names and had seen some pictures but he had grown up with them.
I think one of the most difficult things when I have met especially my biological siblings is how to refer to people and the relationship. For example with my paternal half brother his father is my biological father but is not the person who raised me.
So in conversation do I call him “our dad”? Because for me my dad is the man who raised me and for him his dad is the man who raised him but biologically his dad is both of our biological fathers.
For my brother am I being insensitive or presumptive by calling him our dad or calling him brother?
And for me calling someone else other than the man who raised me dad or father am I somehow diminishing his memory or our relationship?
I would hope and like to think not.
Relationships and family are the people you love and love you. As an adoptive person I have always believed that family is not defined by DNA.
I have as I call them my “rental children” who call me Aunt Sarah and they are not my biological nieces or nephews, but I love them as if they were.
I have a good set of friends that I view as my family as well.
Not to mention my family who I grew up with my brother, niece, nephew and sister-in law.
For me as well as my biological brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews we are building our relationships. If they want to call me Sarah I am good and if at some point they want to call me sister or aunt I am also good.
Time will tell but for me the most important thing is being open to what the future holds and being open to all possibilities.