Monday, June 03, 2013
I have not posted on my blog in 5 years. I lost interest I guess. Most people know how how I feel about politics, religion and all that stuff, so I don't feel a need to write about them right now. if you want to know how I feel about a topic, just ask, otherwise, what difference does it make. Peoples opinions are set in stone. Discussing those opinions, let alone changing those opinions are becoming less and less a worthwhile excercise. I thought, instead of that, maybe I should tell about my life's journey, and recent discoveries I have made. Facebook does not offer a real good format for blogging, so I reverted back here. I have deleted all my old posts, most were about politics anyway. I think most posts from here on out will not be political in nature. I felt that I wanted to get some stuff down in writing. If I were someone else, I would find this interesting, so you being that someone else, you might too. I was born in late July, 1973. This was just after Roe V. Wade was decided by the US Supreme Court interestingly enough. My biological mom was not much out of her teens and she was not married. This was a pretty messy thing to have happen back then, not as scandalous as in the 1950's but still not a real good situation to be in. My bio-mom (Wanda) was not real popular in school I don't think, at least from what I have been told. She had some minor development issues, some speech problems, some mental issues, not bad, but just not functioning at 100 percent. This was probably due to a lack of oxygen at her birth or something like that. Anyway, this was not her fault of course, but nonetheless, she had her difficulties making friends, getting good grades, fitting in. As is still the case, when people don't have many friends, are shunned a little, they search out people that will accept them for who they are. Many times, this means that the friends they find are similar oucasts. These people are generally good friends to have for people like my bio-mom, cause they don't judge, they don't mock. I think that is where she felt comfortable, and who can blame her. I don't one bit. This is where she must have met my real dad, hanging out with the folks who would accept her. She got pregnant in the fall of 1972. I am sure that I was unplanned...I do not know the specifics of that, there are some who seem to think this was a less than mutual interaction if you know what I mean, either way, I am sure it was a shock. This is exactly why I am so against abortion. I am sure that thought crossed her mind, in fact I know it did. I have spoken to someone from my extended family that I was pretty close to having been murdered before I was born. But as God would have it, I was not, that thought was entertained, but not acted upon. Maybe she was too far along by the time the decsion took effect in 1973. Anyway, I was spared. But she was still pregnant and unmarried and really unfit to raise a child. I was born in Grand Rapids in the summer of 1973. My father did not seem to want anything to do with me. My mother did want me at this point, but it was not an ideal situation to be in. From what I can gather, she did try and raise me that best she could, but that was not going to turn out real well for me. When I was a few months old, Wanda showed up at the doorstep of my grandparents with me. I was sick, underfed and not doing well, she did not know what to do. My grandparents were shocked by my condition, yet they were reluctant to go the hospital with me, I would probably have been taken away and sent to foster home of some kind. They did not want that. A pretty fateful decision was made for me at that time. They would take me and raise me as there own. I do not know how that made my mom feel, but I assume she felt some relief as well as sadness, but even in her mind, I am sure she knew she could not raise me herself. But she still had a bit of a wild streak in her and was ready to be free of me so she could go back to the friends that accepted her and do whatever she was doing back then. I really give credit to my Grandma and Grandpa for this. They really took it upon themselves to raise me as their own. Through their intervention, I grew healthy and strong again and survived my first turbulent months on earth. Without them, I know I would not be here today. For the first 11 or twelve years of my life, I had no idea that they were not my actual parents. I was pretty much like any other kid, except I was an only child and my parents were a little older than other peoples. I had no idea that this lady I saw once in a while at Christmas, (Wanda) was my mom, I thought she was an aunt. I do not fault my parents for not telling me, I was doing fine, and how do you even tell a kid that. I don't think they were trying to hide it from me, just did not see the need at the time. Let me take the opportunity to right now say to them, I love you, you are my parents, I will always see you as my parents and I owe everything that I am to your parenting and your caring. Nothing I learn about my birth father or his family will ever change that. You have made me your child, in all respects. I get the feeling that they do not know how much they want me to pursue this other side of the family, maybe for fear that I will forget about them...nothing could be furthur from the truth. Anyway...around 12 years old, give or take a few years, I found out from a neighbor that I was playing with, that I was "adopted". It was a shocking thing to hear...mostly cause we were fighting about something, and as a way to end the fight, he blurted it out.."yeah, well you were adopted so there...!". I was not even sure what that meant, but it sounded bad, kinda like you had a illness or something. I went in and asked what that meant and if that was true. Yep, it was, a discussion followed, not many details were disclosed if I remember, but it was explained to me that Wanda was my mom and she could not take care of me so my Grandparents took me as their own. Well that was quite a life changing moment for me I think...and in some ways, things were never the same. I began to see myself a little differently. I think my self esteem suffered a little, I was a little more shy, not overnight, but I know that I was changed by that. I had a mom and dad, but not like the other kids did. When Wanda came to family parties once in a while, it was weird now. I was not sure how I was supposed to act around her, and I am sure she sensed that too. I feel bad now that I look back on it, but I became pretty distant from her when I saw her. Anyway, the years went by. I got into junior high and high school. I did fine, b's and c's mostly, some a's in history and social studies, some d's in math. I was an average kid in most respects. I was a little on the short side, which now that I do know who my bio dad was, makes sense, but more on that later. Anyway...I was a pretty good kid, never got in real trouble, maybe some minor little things once in a while, but I was always super scared of letting down my parents (grandma and grandpa). I think that had something to do with my raising, fear of losing them or something if I screwed up too bad, I don't know. I never really asked who my real dad was and the information was not offered. I know now that they all (family) had some idea, but were not 100 percent sure. If I would have asked, they probably would have told me, or maybe not, I don't know. I just did not care really, honestly, I had a mom and dad, although different than most kids. I was fairly happy and did not see the need to know I guess. From time to time I wondered of course, who wouldn't? Off I went to college, I loved college, I was happy being on my own, I was making lots of friends, I had found myself so to speak. I came home every once in a while, mostly to do about a months worth of laundry. I was in Marion Indiana, so it was about 3 hours away, close enough, but far enough away. Those four years, I bet I did not hardly think about my different family situation much, mainly cause I found many other people came from different kids of situations at home. I was not the only person who did not know his real dad. Anyway, my point was, another 4 years went by and I pushed all that stuff to the back burner. I graduated from Indiana Wesleyan Univerity with a triple major in Criminal Justice, History and Political Science. One major disapointment I did have in college did bring me back to my past. I had always wanted to be a police officer, ever since I was a kid, my cousin and I would talk about it. It was pretty much my only plan. I was a sophomore in college when I started to think about police academy, where I might go for that. Well, I was born with my own issues, just like Wanda was, probably inherited from her and whomever my dad was. One of those issues was an eyesight problem. I did have surgery on my right eye when I was a toddler. I think the surgery was done right, but I should have had my eye patched almost constantly when I was very young. I am betting that I ripped that patch off as soon as I could and my grandparents could not keep it on. Anyway, nothing could fix that now, and my eye sight was not correctable with glasses. I could never pass an eye exam, I could never be a police officer. I was pretty upset for a while, it took me a while to figure out what to do. Well I picked up a couple of other majors thinking maybe I could teach or something. This event did cause me to think about my bio-parents again however. It also proved to me that you just can't run from some things, they are what they are. I graduated from college, took a couple of different jobs, not sure what I wanted to do really. I still wanted to use my Criminal Justice degree, but could not really find a job in an area I liked. In the meantime, I met and married my wife Julie. I could go on about what she means to me, but I will save that for another time. I did tell her all about my family situation, maybe not on the first date, but she knew everything in short order. She did not mind, which I am thankful for. We have been blessed with two great kids, and through her mom, a job where I now work as a corporate security officer. Not exactly where I thought I would be, but still in the Criminal Justice area. My bio-mom Wanda died in the late 1990's, shortly after I graduated from college. I was not sure how to feel about that honestly. Of course I was sad, but I never saw her as my mom really, even though I knew she was. It was just very strange, and I don't think it hit me until the funeral. I was not even sure I had wanted to go at the time, but I knew I had to. It was at the reception after the funeral that some feelings came to the surface. I cryed, pretty hard....I was not sure what to do with these feelings. It was loss, it was regret, and it was confusion a little. I feel bad that I did not treat her better when I did see her. Should I have treated her as more of a mother? She was my mom, but she wasn't at the same time. I felt bad I never asked her more about my birth and the circumstances around it. And most specifically, I should have asked her who my dad was. My birth certificate said father unknown. I really had nothing to go by, so instead of thinking and worrying about it, I choose for the next 10 years to not think about it. That gets harder to do however as you grow older. Your body starts to age ! The past few years I had really started to think about it again. I am starting to get aches and pains, physical issues are cropping up...My doctor asks me about family history for things and I can only give him half the picture. I was raised in an old farmhouse south of Holland. That house is still there, in fact I live right next door in a home Julie and I built. The old farmhouse is now a rental property. My folks were in between renters a few months ago so I decided to take my son in the attic of the old house and look for lost treasure. I had not been in there in years and wanted to see what was up there, maybe some old toys my son could have, or even sell them on ebay. We were up there for a while, we found some interesting things, nothing much really, an old metal airplane, some other stuff. We were about ready to leave with no treasure when my son picked up a single piece of paper. I was old, kind of faded. I don't know why he even picked it up, I would not have. He looked at for a second, it must have clicked as important in his head cause he handed it to me and said, hey dad whats, this? My kids know about their grandma and grandpam at the fact they are really their great grandparents, but they really did not know many details. We have told them some stuff, but frankly, it really does not effect them much if at all. So for Josh to recognize this paper as important, I can only surmise, it was a God thing. The paper was a letter from one lawyer to another lawyer in 1974. It was from Wanda's lawyer asking for some sort of child assistance and it was to the lawyer of a man with the last name Nichols. The first name was there as well, but we can leave that out for now. Anyway, I now had a name to go on. Why would a lawyer ask for child support from someone unless there was a pretty good idea that he was indeed the father? This was quite a find. I told Josh right away that he found a pretty big thing. It was not a vintage Star Wars toy, or gold or cash, but it was valuable. I went home and showed Julie. She understood the significance right away as well. But before I asked anyone in my family about it, I wanted to do some checking on my own. I booted up the internet (that Al Gore invented) and started my search. I found some hits, some people, made some facebooks contacts. I found out a little about Mr. Nichols, but not everything, like where he was now, was he alive, did he have any other kids, etc. I bought one of these background checks over the internet. It was there that I really found some stuff. I found some names of relatives that I contacted first. Bingo...it was him. I found who most likely was my birth dad. I will not go into a whole lot of detail, but it was him, confirmed by some of his family. I then asked my folks if they had heard of him, yes they had. A blood test was done back in 1973 it concluded that he likely was my bio-father. But he never admitted that fact. Turns out, he had quite a few kids out there that he never acknowledged. Mr Nichols himself passed away about 5 weeks after I found out about him. Yeah, crazy, I know. Everything is in Gods timing. I grew up thinking I was alone in the world, as far as brothers and sisters were concerned. Now all of a sudden, I have up to 10 or more possibly of them out there. I am still in the process of meeting them all actually. From what I can gather, they were all aware but myself and maybe one other sister that there were several of us out there. It's all quite the change for me right now and I am not sure exactly how to deal with it. It's kind of nice to know that I have some more family out there. Now I know where to go if I need a kidney. I have met most of my birth dads surviving brothers and sisters. Just a week ago actually. It was a good meeting, I was very happy to see them. I am not sure how this works from now on, but at least, I seem to know now where I came from, and why I am only 5'8"...! There are still some questions I have. I have found out some things about my birth dad that are not so good. However, that is in the past, I am not responsible for anything he did or did not do. All I can do is be the dad to my own kids that he was not to me. It's quite a journey, but I am not unique in many ways. There are lots of people that have had similar issues and many turned out fine, some did not. You just never know what life is gonna bring your way.