Three Things Led Me To My Biological Family | Part II

I found my birth mother on February 19, 2014. One can only imagine the emotions, thoughts and questions that quickly go through someone’s brain once a realization like this comes to the surface… It was hard. It was so extremely hard.

Emotions were attacking me from all angles. I struggled with how to approach Cynthia. I didn’t want to randomly call her house one day and be like, “Hey, remember me… and that day in December… 27 years ago…That baby… Oh, that’s me and I’m grown up now – hey!” Accomplishing this much already, I knew I needed to keep myself straight and carefully approach her in order to gain the most respectful and rewarding result.

Mostly, my biggest set back was that all of a sudden it was real life and for days I had phone calls, texts, messages and emails parsing me with what’s next? Next… I had no idea what was next. As mentioned in Part I, I wasn’t seeking any answers from Cynthia. I just wanted to make sure she was well and from what I saw – she was. There were a few days where I took to myself and just sat quietly. There were a few days where I connected with others for support with Search and Reunion, including my own inspiration Angela Tucker of Closure, whom I’ve luckily gotten to learn and know more about throughout this whole process. And then there were the days where I wondered if I should even do anything at all? Did I really want to interrupt my perfectly mundane life? Yeah, I did.

After much thought, I decided to write a certified letter and send it to Cynthia’s salon. I wanted to make sure the letter was personally put into a set of human hands and I wanted to know who’s hand it was put in (requesting a signature upon delivering). The letter cost me $5.35 to send to Atlanta.

Three Things Led Me To My Biological Family | Part II | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Witihn the letter, I introduce myself, my family, career and hobbies (Netflix and Pinot Noir). I made it very clear as to why I started my search, that I would not try to pursue a relationship if that’s not where her heart is and I encouraged her to reach out with my provided phone number, email and directed her to my blog where everything was laid out from day 1. I also included a couple pictures of me and my family, as well as copies of the paperwork from the adoption agency so she knew she wasn’t being Punked! by Ashton Kutcher. I sent the letter on a Monday with a scheduled delivery date of Thursday.

I checked my tracking link every 10 minutes on that Thursday waiting for a confirmed delivery time and it never came, never came. Anxiety? Yes. (I later found out it snowed – like 4 inches – in Atlanta that Wednesday and Thursday so the salon water pipes had frozen and the salon was closed on Thursday).

Friday morning at 10:30am in Minnesota, I received a text message stating my “package” had been delivered. I didn’t get notice of who signed for it like I had hoped but knowing it was delivered to Cynthia’s place of work was enough to send my thoughts through the roof. I waited.. And waited.. And waited. Understanding it took me four days to process everything and send the letter, I went to bed with a peaceful heart knowing it may take a while to receive a response from Cynthia. I told myself if I didn’t hear anything within 10 days I would try to call her and if nothing at that point then I’d be done — I would be good and I would put it to rest in her hands.

The next morning my son came into our room extra early. I rolled over to grab my phone deciding whether I was going get up and start life or send him back to bed when I saw a number on my phone I didn’t know. OKAY, I’M AWAKE NOW! Tears immediately flowed as I crumbled onto my bathroom floor and read the following…

I don’t even know where or how to start… Good Morning little sister lol I’m so glad and shocked that you actually found us, that is amazing! I’ve never told anyone this but growing up as an only child I’ve ALWAYS wanted a little sister. Even if it took 28 years to get to this point, I couldn’t wait another minute to reach out to you. My mother is also as excited as I am and told me that she would call you today after she gets off of work but I couldn’t wait that long, so much time has already gone by without knowing. Speaking for myself of course. I’m getting a bit ahead of myself let me introduce myself, Cody Bryson —— (28) born in Atlanta, GA on May 29th 1986 to Cynthia —–.

This was it. I responded to Cody and thanked him for reaching out to me so quickly and being so open as I would have gone crazy waiting. Then Cody said this…

I went up to the salon yesterday and out of the blue she was like we need to talk but we’ll talk later and honestly, I totally forgot about it until this morning. I had just got home from work and she was getting ready to leave for work and brought it up again as she began to tear up (she’s really sensitive) so this is nothing out of the ordinary, she told me I had a sister as she smiled and showed me the photos of you and your beautiful family. I read a couple of posts and was like wow, I really have a sister. She left the note you wrote and told me to read it after she left. So I did but I couldn’t wait so whenever you’re free, don’t know if you are at work or not but you can FaceTime me if you want.

Are you understanding what happened here? Time to insert all the smiles and good feels in the world.

Cody was only a year old when I was born. This is something my family and I wondered about a lot… Whether or not he knew I existed. To me, it seemed as if she didn’t have any other children and her and Cody looked close. You would think, of course he knows, but he didn’t. Cody had no idea until that Saturday morning (and actually, no one knew about me besides her aunt and my birth father). I commend Cynthia, she raised a well-rounded and accepting son who had the most open and loving heart towards his mother and her decision she made 27 years ago.

The day goes by and I clear out my schedule for Cynthia’s phone call. I run errands, I take naps, etc. I wait… And then I get this text below from a new number, again not programmed into my phone:

Hello… WOW.. OMG.. all tears and a smile on my face all day yesterday and today.. If only i can STOP CRYING (Happy tears). I will be able to call you in about an hour if that is a good time for you? Yes, that letter rocked my whole world.. it took my 5 hours to read it.. i had to keep going outside to read it.. I wanted to read it to Andre (your father) at the same time I was reading it so we could share it together… I was up till 4:30am reading your whole blog… Amazing.. and Facebook. Here are some pictures til I call.

I literally dropped my phone in the middle of the Wells Fargo parking lot, closed my eyes, opened them and shook my head before picking up the phone. My entire world had stopped for a second and luckily, the cars trying to exit the lot had also stopped for me. I read it again, “…Andre (Your Father).” At this point, I was completely confused. I had very little information on my birth father as he wasn’t involved in the adoption process, easily found or located at the time of my birth so my intentions of this whole search never involved my birth father. But then Cynthia sent me this.

Three Things Led Me To My Biological Family | Part II | Twin Cities Moms Blog

As if this day wasn’t crazy enough, I soon found out my birth parents ended up reuniting (at HAIR school of all places) almost 2 years after I was born, helped raise their children together (Andre also has a daughter, Kore, who is a week younger than Cody. She’s pictured below with Cynthia and Cody – our first time talking) and as relationships came and went for each of them – Cynthia and Andre EVEN married 11 years after I was born for a short period of time, as well.

Writing this out, I still can’t believe this is MY story to tell. This is MY happy ending. And I did it all by MY self. It’s more than I could have ever imagined, so much more. I ended up talking for hours with my new family on the phone that night. Cynthia and Andre were still the best of friends at the time I found them both, and Andre’s daughter happens to live right down the road from Cynthia and Cody. They’re literally like a big-fat blended family, they’re MY big-fat blended family.

Three Things Led Me To My Biological Family | Part II | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Months have passed and I have been in close contact with everyone in Atlanta, my family and I have accepted everyone with open arms and we’re so thankful for their openness to us too. We’ve managed a few visits here and there within the past 8 months and tomorrow (Saturday, November 14), I’ll be meeting my sister, Kore, for the first time in person while her, Cynthia and Cody are visiting Minnesta for the weekend. I’m so excited to meet Kore! It’s been long awaited… it’s all been a very long awaited and perfect story I’ve been given to tell.

Three Things Led Me To My Biological Family | Part II | Twin Cities Moms Blog

If you or anyone you know are interested to learn more on Adoption Perspectives from an Adoptee or Adoption Search and Reunion, leave a comment below — I’d love to offer any advice or thoughts from my own personal experience. Happy National Adoption Month!

Leah Pihlaja
A lover, not a cooker. Six years ago, Leah's college bartender asked for her phone number and she figured it would be appropriate to marry him 5 years later, especially since he's an excellent cook. After years spent in their college town, Josh's career brought them to Lakeville in June 2014 with their five year old son, Vance. Leah survives on the daily with her two die-hard Minnesota sports fans and most weekends, you'll find her cheering on her son in his latest sport endeavor. It's safe to say, the last thing she ever saw herself as in her mid-twenties was a soccer mom. But most will agree, it fits her oh so well. Leah works from home as a Marketing Director for 4 locally owned restaurants in Mankato. With education in social media and a newly found passion of sharing the raw, real life details, a blog based on transracial adoption and parenting today was formed towards the efforts of locating her biological mother {and others}. You can learn more about Leah's colorful family, mommy-things and more on her blog {https://leahpihlaja.wordpress.com} or like You're Holding Your Pencil Wrong on Facebook.

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