Thursday, September 4, 2014

Old Family Photos

I am curious what it is like for someone who is not adopted to look through old family photos. Do you wonder about your connection to these unknown people from the past? Do you scan the faces to see if they are similar to your own? Do you try to understand how you, individual quirky you as you are, fit into this family?

Recently, one of Kate's brothers started a Facebook page of family photos that he's dug out of the archives of his parents' home. It was started as a gift to Kate's mom for her 90th birthday.

I was included in the facebook group; only family had access. I was relieved. It feels terrible when I'm forgotten, and yet I can understand why I would be. I wasn't included as part of the family for the first eighteen years of my life.

As pictures were uploaded, I would look through distractedly as one does with someone else's family photos - cursory glances mostly.

Then, one day a couple weeks ago, I opened one of the photos when it popped up in my email. It was one with Kate and her siblings in their teen years and it was funny to see these people that I've come to know as adults when they were kids. I could see their resemblance to their adult selves, people that I now knew as part of my life, and it hit me -

 I wasn't looking at photos of someone else's family... I was looking at pictures of my family. 

It's strange to forget that a family is yours, certainly, but when you have your whole life spent in a different family, a family who is not your blood, but where you are told they are your family, the only family that matters, it gets ingrained. I've forgotten for most of my life that I have other family.

I knew I came from somewhere else but it had ended at the birthmother. I think that's one of the reasons that's such an inadequate term. It insinuates that birth is where the connection ends, as if it were just a moment in time. As if, once you were given birth to, the connection to that family ended and the new one began. As if, the birthfather and that side of your family doesn't exist at all that existed in your life was in the womb of your birthmother and then the start to your real life with your new family.

But life isn't good with clean cuts like that. It doesn't quite work. I came from a mother and father who each came from a mother and father who each did as well. I'm connected to each and every one of them. They are all in my DNA. All of them.

So the family photos took on new meaning. This is the family I wasn't a part of. The family I was cast out of. Not my family, and yet they are mine. It's hard to get one's head around it.

I started looking at the pictures differently as the feelings about the pictures morphed and changed and evolved.

This is my family?


to view my birthmother's blog on the same topic, go to mothertone


Thoughts? Reflections? Opinions?

Please comment!

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