Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Journey to Finding My Birth Father - Part 1

Post three of family week this week will delve into my own family history. A bigger look at what day to day life is like for this wife between the tones. 

Three years ago I embarked on a journey that could either shatter dreams or change my life forever. The risk to my emotional well-being was huge. HUGE. Three years ago, I did not know my birth father, nor my paternal side of my family. My mother gave birth to me at a young age. Both of my parents were in high school at the time. Circumstances did not work out in their favor, and my mom and I were a small family of two. I spent twenty-seven years on this Earth not knowing my father. I spent twenty-seven years wondering his name. Twenty-seven long years were spent in front of a mirror wondering which of my features resembled his because I had never even laid eyes on a picture of him. 

In January of 2010, I was given a name. I dug up a picture. I started the process of finding my father. I kept an online journal of the process. It was not as long of a process as I feared it would be - one day the pieces just fell into my lap.

I would like to share bits of this journey here - entries from the journal. It's a process that is very daunting. A decision that is very stressful. The decision to search for a birth parent can result in many different outcomes and at times it's very overwhelming to weigh the pros and cons of taking the first step. 

This {edited} entry I'm sharing now is one of the first entries I wrote. It talks about the stage in my childhood where I realized that I, unlike everyone else I knew in my life, did not have a father. 

My life early on was good. Even though my mom had me at seventeen - in the middle of her senior year of high school, I was well provided for. Obviously my mother was there for me, but so were my maternal grandparents, and both sets of great grandparents, along with a few other close family members. 
My mother and I lived with her parents for the first couple years of my life. My grandparents spoiled me immensely. I was the center of their world. It was really like I had two mothers - Grandma and Mom. Grandpa was, and still is the strongest father figure in my life. He wasn't home a lot because of his career, but when he was I felt safe and special. Looking back,  I realize just how much he did for me. My mom and grandparents made sure all my wants and needs were met. I couldn't have asked for a better first few years. 
Around age three, my mother and I moved out of my grandparents' house and into our own place that was on my great grandparents' (my grandpa's mom and dad) farm. It was also around that time that I started going to preschool, and spending time at my cousin's house playing. My world was growing from just my life inside my grandparents' house.
As I was out in the world more, I became more aware of how the world worked. I began to realize there was more to my little world than my mom and grandparents. I can remember being at home one day playing, I remember exactly where I was standing when it dawned on me that people are supposed to have a "dad". There was no one in my life that I called "Dad". I can remember thinking it was strange. I wondered why I didn't have a dad. It was at that point that I first realized my life was different.
I do not think at that point I thought much more about the situation. It was the reality I lived in - I just realized that my reality was different from everyone else. I can't imagine that I fully understood the role a father played in some one's life. I just knew it was something, or someone, that most people had and I did not.
It is amazing to me that at three and four years of age, I was having that kind of internal dialogue with myself. When I think about the fact that Sassy was four just a year ago, I can't fathom her contemplating such life issues and trying to figure out their answers at that age. 
I'm in no way saying the absence of my father negatively affected my first few years of life. It just laid the ground work for many issues that came up later in my childhood, and still now in my adult life. As I come to grips with these issues, I realize they are things that need to be worked through. Some of these issues can be resolved with a little counseling and some self reflection. Other issues are a little deeper. Some are a result of questions I have that I personally can't answer. Only one person can answer those questions and that's the reason for I decided to take this journey. 
Before having any information on my father, I was never sure if I needed him in my life. I knew I wanted a name, and most definitely a picture, but there was a huge possibility that was all I needed. Perhaps after having this information, I could close the chapter on that portion of my life. At the time I didn't think I had anything to lose if I decided not to search - I had went my whole life until that point without him, so what's the rest of my life going to matter?
After getting a name and a picture, I new without a doubt the search wasn't over. I knew I needed more. I began working on the issues I could fix myself, but there were still questions only he has the answers to. 

I plan on sharing the entire journey to finding my father. Even though I've located him and met many more members of his our family, it's an ongoing process. It's an emotional process. This is one thing I did not expect - finding him was not the only key to the puzzle.

My father and brother

4 comments:

  1. Beautiful writing Brandi, maybe I can say that because I know the whole story but wow that touched my heart in ways you will never know <3

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm so glad you found your family Brandi!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You fit and you fit well. I have two fathers and neither of them amount to as much as him.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You fit and you fit well. I have two fathers and neither of them amount to as much as him.

    ReplyDelete