The Phone Call

Shocked, and scared out of my mind, I sat with my phone in my hands. This is all happening at lightning speed. How is this even possible?!? Half an hour ago I was watching Netflix and thinking about whether or not I wanted some ice cream for dessert. And now I was readying myself to call a stranger who just happens to be my biological half-brother. A half-brother who, up until a few minutes ago, I never knew existed. A brother who very much knew about me, and had been searching for a lost piece of his puzzle, that being me.

Tim, with unwavering support, placed a drink on the table in front of me, and sat down beside me. He pushed his side into mine, making sure our legs were touching. It quietly anchored me. I needed him in that very moment. I needed him more than I think ever have. We have gone through so much in the ten and a half years we have been together. But this… THIS was so confounding for the both of us. He doesn’t have any words, but his presence grounded me. I am not alone. He is my best friend, and I couldn’t imagine navigating through this journey with anyone else.

I knew the longer I waited to call him, the louder my fear would be. So I dialed the number. It rang twice. I cleared my throat.

Hi, Landon? This is Jolene.

Now, I wish that I could relay the whole conversation, verbatim. Try as I might, some of it has been lost to the enormity of it all. I struggle to recall every single word that was said…

There was a great deal he had to tell me. Yes, he was my half-brother, we share the same mother, but different father. He had been on a quest for some years, and that quest led him to learn about me. He hadn’t always known that I existed, but as soon as he found out about me, he knew he had to find me. He had applied to The Department of Human Services to request non-identifying information about me. However, based on what he received, it was like finding that proverbial needle in a haystack. He had very little to go by, and didn’t know how he would find me.

At some point, he got in touch with a woman who works for an adoption search and reunion organization who took it upon herself to help him. She scoured through the archives of voting registries in my city to try to find someone who might resemble my Mom and Dad, based only on their age. She knew how old they were when they adopted me. The year I was born, 434, 389 people lived in this city. God only knows how she made the connection, but she did. She contacted Landon to let him know that she thought she had found the couple who adopted me, and by the power of social media, and the almighty Facebook, that information led him straight to me.

But that is not all, he told me. That is just the beginning. I also have a half-sister who is only a little younger than me. He warned me with a giggle that I have more family than I am aware of. Joanne was born 2 years after me, and she has also spent years wondering about me, and knowing I was out ‘there’ somewhere. She is married, and has 2 children, and so my family grows exponentially in a matter of minutes, while I am on the phone.

And my Mother…. My birth Mother Shirley is alive and well, and living in British Columbia, is what I am told. Landon spoke about her with such love and protection in his voice. I hung onto his every word. She knew that he was on the phone with me. Her incoming texts to him kept buzzing in my ear. Landon would frenetically speak, and then pause momentarily as he replied to her. My mind raced at rapid speed to try to connect all the dots. A mother, a sister, a brother, and there are uncles and a grandmother too? I don’t know if I have ever felt so overwhelmed.

While we spoke, Landon sent me some photographs that stopped me completely dead in my tracks.

Me an my birth Mother.
Me on the left, My birth Mother on the right, at approximately the same age.

I have no words to accurately describe the moment I laid eyes on her for the very first time. I sit here, staring at my screen, and I am still in awe. Yet, the words don’t come. I have been asked how I felt when I saw her picture, and I have awkwardly tripped over my tongue. Maybe, there are no words. Maybe, there are things in life that are too big, too sacred, too immense for the English language. The unspoken connection is real, and not something I have experienced before, quite like this. I can relate it to the feeling I had when I saw my son for the very first time. It is the definition of kindred, met with an inexplicable amazement.

I look at her, and see me.

I look at me, and see her.

And in a way I cannot describe, I know. I just know.

At this point in our conversation, I know I have reached the point where it is too much. I feel my brain shutting down. The flood of emotions are quickly replaced with something I can only describe as a numbness. I physically feel the moment where my brain cannot process anymore. So I tell Landon that we should say goodbye, for now. But we can speak again tomorrow.

“Landon, has she seen a picture of me yet?” I asked before we got off the phone. To which he replied, “Yes, she thinks you are absolutely beautiful, and she wants you to call her, if you are okay with that?”

I go to bed, and stare at the ceiling until daybreak, replaying our conversation over and over and over again. The hours feel like minutes, and the night melts into the light of day.

She wants to talk to me. My birth mother is only a phone call away…

– Jolene 💜

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