‘I’m trying to find my sister’

It was 3 weeks ago, on a Friday evening. We had ordered my favourite chicken paninis and fries for dinner, and planned on binge-watching Netflix until bedtime. Ordinary, yes. Mundane, even. But it was what I needed. A peaceful night to decompress after the day week, month, year I have had. The diffuser pumped lavender into the room and it mixed with the smell of oil pastels I was working with. It was finally quiet. My mind was quiet. The world felt still, with nothing or nobody outside my four walls.

Until…

A Facebook message popped up onto my iPad screen. It lit up beside me and caught my eye. I glanced over while pushing my coloring book aside. The first name I wasn’t familiar with. And normally I ignore those kinds of messages. But the last name? The last name…. I knew the last name. Oh my good God in heaven, I knew the last name. It was the same last name that my parents had told me was my birth mother’s maiden name when she gave me up for adoption. NAF. Naf is a very uncommon name here. In 44 years, I had seen that name only once before. I had Googled it once or twice. I had even reached out to someone with that last name. But it didnt pan out. And I was too scared to look any further. I didnt know if that Pandora’s box needed to open. And what would happen when it was open? It could never be closed again. And that was a responsiblity that seemed far too heavy for me to carry.

The message. Stunned, and scared, I clicked on the link that opened the message.

Hello Jolene! I am searching for some lost lost family!

Instantly I started to shake.

Was wondering if I could ask you a couple of questions.

It was too much to take in. It was too much in this moment. I’m not prepared. My heart pounded so hard inside my chest, I could feel the pressure rise up inside my skull. I could hear the WHOOSH of the blood inside my head. The noise it made was deafening.

I am trying to find my sister.

I turned to my husband and tried to spit out the words, but it was as if I was two inches under the waterline, treading as hard as I could, while screaming for help. But the water filled up my lungs, and the only person who heard my scream was me. I breached the wave and read the message out loud. I don’t think Tim understood it the first time, so I read it aloud, again.

I am trying to find my sister. I am trying to find my sister. Naf. Long lost family. He is looking for long lost family. His Sister….

My teeth started to chatter and my hair trembled. I was definitely in shock. I looked up at the TV which was now paused on Claire’s face. She was inside a pirate ship. We had been watching Outlander. It seems odd that we were watching a series about time travel, and all that. There is some irony in that, somehow. I looked down at my can of coke, I could hear the bubbles dance inside. And then I looked back up at Tim. He was looking at me with eyes of both confusion and concern. But God only knows what I must have looked like in that moment.

We had complete stillness just a few moments ago. It had been entirely ripped away. Now the rough sea was almost too much to bear. I had to grip the arms of my chair for fear of falling out onto the floor.

Fuck. Fuck. Jolene. What are you going to do? This is THE moment. Do you respond? Do you block him? Do you ignore him? Do you take the night to think this over and get back to him tomorrow? What do you say?! What do you DO?!?! What. Are. You. Going. To. Do?

Breathe. I can’t breathe. I gasped and drew air into my lungs. I must have been holding my breath this whole time. It was probably only moments, but those moments felt like years. It felt like 44 years, to be exact.

This is it. This might be it?! This could be it?!? Fuck. I think this is it….

Of course you can!

I typed… and sent it before I had a chance to change my mind.

Of course you can… I opened the door. And then I waited…

– Jolene 💜

10 thoughts on “‘I’m trying to find my sister’

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  1. I remember my email from our son….I couldn’t think for 20 minutes…just stared at the words. Trying to digest it….was it real? Why now? Where was he? Will he want to know us??? AND then, turned to my husband, his father, and said you need to read this…..be 2 years the 31st. A great 2 years!!!!

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    1. WOW! NANCY! That is unreal! I can only imagine your surprise! Like you, I was so blown away by the whole experience! I am still trying to wrap my my head around it. It must have been a pretty amazing moment to share with with your husband!

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  2. Jolene, I cannot imagine getting a message like that out of the blue. Frankly, I don’t think I’d appreciate it. Too unsettling. Like you, I am adopted but unlike you, didn’t find out about it until I was 38. Unlike you, nobody reached out to find me. I began searching for my biological family six years ago. The search has been fascinating. While both of my bio parents were deceased, I found two half-sisters and met several second cousins at a family reunion. You’re a good writer. I look forward to reading about your reunion with bio family. 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment Lynne! It was a great shock! It still doesn’t feel real, at times! It is definitely bigger and more profound than I thought it would be, in many ways. I am taking my time. To digest it all. I thought, naively, that I would always be the one to initiate communication. I definitely NEVER thought it would be the other way around. I am sorry that your birth parents have passed, but I m happy to hear that you made some connections!

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