Thirteen years ago tomorrow I made my first contact with my birth family. I was in my late fifties, and the reason I sought them out was to discover my health history. A few years earlier I had been diagnosed with a rare bleeding disorder, and I’d undergone many procedures to treat it. My initial hope was to find out if anyone else in the family had this disorder.
Fortunately, I found my first cousin. When he asked who I was and what I wanted, he was incredulous and said he’d get back to me. In his words, “I had a right to know.” My cousin remained true to his word, and the next day he put me in touch with my birth mother, brother, and sister. (My father, who married my birth mother when I was ten months old and she was expecting my brother, had died only thirteen months earlier. They remained married for fifty-five years.)
I had no expectations. (more…)