I like my mother’s family, at least those of them I got to meet. They are really nice people. I felt connected to them instantly, too. I am not very much at ease with strangers, even members of my adoptive family who I do not see very often. But although there was some awkwardness here and there, for the most part I felt very much at ease with my mom’s family.
They totally accepted me, too. They told me how much I look like my mother, and it was really good to hear that in person. I was not an adoptee, my mother was not my birthmother. I was a nephew and a cousin. I was a member of the family. It felt good.
I thought this trip would be really emotional for me, that there would be mostly tears and grief, but there wasn’t nearly as much as I’d thought. I don’t know if it’s just that I’m still processing it or what. I think that in some ways it was harder on everyone else. I look so much like her, and they miss her, but I’m not her. That must be hard.
It’s hard for me to write about the specifics of the trip. It’s all so deeply personal I’m just not ready to share it, at least not yet.
I did not feel a closer connection to my mother as a result of this trip. I know a lot more about her, but knowing about someone and knowing someone are two very different things. I do, however, feel a closer connection to my roots. I feel like I have a story, now, of how I came to be, and that really matters quite a lot. I feel connected to the world in ways I never felt before.
My mother remains an enigma. I think she always will be an enigma to me. Imagine if you were completely nocturnal and had never seen the sun, but you knew it existed. Would looking at the sunlight reflected by the moon and the planets give you much of an idea of what it would be like to see the sun rise or set, or know what a bright sunny day feels like?
But at the same time, she is more of a person now, not just a name and a picture. She has a story, and we are parts of each other’s stories. And now I can find bits of her in me. My smile, my face, some of my gestures, and my walk come from her. Little bits and pieces of double helix string that tie us together, unseen but for others who point them out.