People live interesting lives. No matter who you talk to, they have a story about something unusual or remarkable that they’ve accomplished. Most of us are so busy moving on to the next thing, we forget to savor the highlights and the lessons. Writing a memoir or a family history is a great way to record and share the details of an event and record it for future generations. In my case, it was searching for my birth mother. When I finally mustered the courage to search, I was amazed at what I discovered. After telling my story to anyone who would listen, I had to write a book about it.
Memoir about finding my birth father’s family
During the pandemic, I found my birth father’s family including four additional half siblings. After growing up an only child, I’m now one of thirteen! I’m getting to know them via Zoom and in person. Last April I went to Atlanta and met Karin who is fourteen months older than me and Marla who is six years younger. Every Wednesday, I’ve met my other half-sibling, Rita, her daughter Jennifer and some other women during a Zoom call. This October my grown kids and my 8 month old granddaughter are headed back to Atlanta for an engagement party where I’m going to meet other family members including a younger brother, Gary.
Of course, we won’t ever know how my birth parents got together, but there has been a lot of speculation. Gary thinks they met during a parade held for the Cleveland Indians after they won the World Series in 1948 because I was born 283 days later. Given what I know about my birthmother, anything is possible. She was cute and available.
Abut 10 years ago, before I knew anything about my birth father, I wrote a fictionalized account about him and their meeting. In my fantasy, he is a sailor on leave and she is a recently divorced young mother of three. It was lust at first sight. It never occurred to me that my birth father was married with two children. What in the world was he thinking! Finding out about me was a shock to my birth father’s family, but I’ve been welcomed with open arms. It’s amazing how much we have in common.
When it comes to nature vs nurture, nature definitely wins. We have so many interests in common: meditation, walking, yoga, dance, cooking, personal growth. attitude about family. The list goes on. Finding them this late in life is wonderful in so many ways and also bitter-sweet. I can’t help but think how great it would have been to grow up in a large family.
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Jan Fishler is the author of Searching for Jane, Finding Myself (an adoption memoir), Don’t Stop Now: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life, Flex Your Writing Muscle (365 Writing Prompts), and PTSD: Lessons From Vietnam. She is a motivational speaker who also teaches writing classes online.