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My Christmas Story

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Christmas has always been a joyous time of year for me....I love to decorate our home, bake holiday goodies, and play the traditional 'Christmas Carols'. It is a time of childhood memories and anticipation. My childhood held all these wonderful memories, except for one secret that I kept deep inside my entire life. I was adopted as an infant, and never told anyone until I married. At that time, I confided in my husband, and have since told my children. But it was something deep
inside that I denied to everyone else......even Doctors when giving medical history, or well-meaning friends when they would comment "how you look like your mother". I could never bring myself to confess this deep secret. Over the years, I thought constantly about searching for my "birthparents", but could never bring myself to do so, with the fear that I would cause resentment or hurt with my adoptive parents. Then there were always the questions of "Why was I adopted?.... would I be able to face possible rejection, fear of knowing the truth, the unknown? Would I ever be able to fill this hole in my heart? After my parents passed away, these deep thoughts continued to haunt me......would I ever know who gave me life? Have I waited too long.....would she, too, be deceased? How should I go about it? My husband has always encouraged me and has always been there to support me in any way. I talked to my sons regarding a search, and both thought it a good idea and were also there
for support. In fact, my oldest son gave me the name of a contact to get the ball rolling. Once the decision was made......I had opened a door, and had no idea where it was going to lead me. In May, 2001, I made the commitment to an organization to begin my search. In one month, I received a phone call that would forever change my life. I was told there was "bad news" and "good news". The bad news is exactly what I had dreaded......my birthmother was deceased. My heart fell for a moment, hoping that this hadn't
happened in just the past year or so. I was told she had died "in childbirth" in 1960. The sadness lightened, knowing I was only 14 years old at the time, and definitely not ready to know her. But he continued with the "good news"......"you have 6 brothers and sisters!" Wow, what an overwhelming feeling. All my life I had felt alone....and now to know that I have "brothers and sisters". Just the sound of that is hard to say out loud, for someone who is adopted. He would now make contact with the "oldest brother".....and present the facts that would also change their lives......they had a "sister". Time seemed to drag by ever so slowly for the next few weeks. All I could do was wait and hope that they would want to meet me. So many thoughts went through my mind.....I had come this far and now know that I have "family"......how would they feel?, what were their reactions going to be?......so many questions.

In Nov. 2001, I finally received a call informing me that papers had been signed and consent was given to reveal names to me. It was now up to me to make the phone call and introduce myself. What was I going to say"? How was I going to be received? I found the courage and began dialing my "brothers" phone number. What a friendly
voice......full of love, understanding, and honesty. He had been shocked by the news, and had taken the responsibility to meet with the other siblings to inform them of this "unbelievable news". He said they all wanted to meet me and the oldest sister would be in touch with me. Again, each day seemed like weeks, as I waited for a call. I sent a "Thanksgiving" greeting to my brother, letting him know I enjoyed our visit, and was looking forward to our meeting. The next day I received my first of many letters and e-mails from my sister. We set the date when we would all meet. I was so excited and full of emotion. I received e-mails from the other sisters...all eager to meet me!! This was, indeed, going to be a fabulous Holiday Season!!

Dec. 8, 2001, we agreed to meet at the oldest brother's home. Two sisters and the youngest brother would be able to make the trip. The baby sister (who survived, when my birthmother died in childbirth) lives in Florida, and would not be able to join us. One other brother died in 1998. Needless to say, the 4 hour trip was filled with so many emotions......anticipation, fear, anxiety....I had waited so long for this day!!! We arrived at their home (nearly an hour early)......and were welcomed with open arms!!! The Love that filled that home was unbelievable!! We hugged...we cried...we laughed......and kept looking at each other with astonishment over our likenesses!!!

Indeed, we were siblings!! This was truly a family brought together through love and acceptance of each other. The Christmas Spirit was so evident in that home...from the 12' Christmas tree, the fireplace all aglow, the smell of food cooking, and the many remembrances of pictures. I was introduced to my "birthmother" through many pictures of her short life. She was, indeed, a very beautiful and special person. She is merely a memory to all the children, as the oldest was only 11 years old when she died. They, too, grew up without knowing
her.

Our evening was definitely an overwhelming experience. I had chosen a special gift to take to each of them. Demdaco "Angels"......a different one for each sibling. When the 2 sisters were opening theirs, I got a feeling of something special. The oldest asks me "How did I know she has an Angel collection?" Of course, I didn't. They both just smiled. Before leaving the next morning, the 2 sisters gave me a package to open. I was amazed that they, too, had gotten a gift for me. But, my amazement was nothing compared to what I was about to observe. Opening the gift, I find the familiar Demdaco card...inside was the same "family" of Angels that I had gotten for
them.... Mine was entitled "Sisters by Heart". Two angels with praying hands. This experience was truly orchestrated by more than "purely coincidence". God indeed, works Miracles!!! This now brings us again to this Glorious Christmas Season!!!! Just imagine how many lives have been affected. This secret that I have kept deep inside for so many years has come full circle and intertwined so many wonderful people. All our lives have been enriched. My sister hugged me, as we left their home, saying "Mom would be so proud of you". Wow, how does that make one feel!! My brother hugs me and says, "Thank you so much for searching us out". Wow, how does that make one feel? Now, we are all looking forward to our next meeting. This summer we hope to get together with our entire families. All of us have grown children, and grandchildren. Just look at the cousins my sons have never had!!! This truly, has
been an exhilarating experience for us all! We have so much to be thankful for......and I thank God for the family he has given me...the Love, Acceptance, Understanding, and complete Support.
As the "Angel" card from my sisters says," Thank you God".

Credits: Diane M. Knief

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