I started pacing around the living room. What do I do? *sips wine* Could this be real? *sips wine* OMG am I going call him back? *sips wine* He left his number. I have my brother’s number. I can call him RIGHT NOW. *chugs rest of wine* *refills wine glass*
I decided to go up to our office and yes, call him back. My hand was shaking as I dialed the number. How do you open up this particular conversation? Oh, hay! This is Bethany. Got your message. So. What’s being going on these last 40 years? I am so not good in awkward situations. I just get all red and sweaty and DEAR GOD HE IS ANSWERING THE PHONE. “Um, Mike? Hi. It’s Bethany. I think I’m your sister.”
The rest of the conversation was something of a blur. He put me on speaker phone so I could speak with him and his wife, Katie. It was thanks to Katie’s superior Googling skills that we were even having this conversation. The story goes something like this:
Ten years ago my sister came across an internet message board for adopted people to find their birth parents and vice versa. She decided to post all of the details that we had, namely the fact they were twins, their birthday, the city of birth, and the name of the law firm that managed the adoption.
Nine years later, Katie stumbled across said post doing research to help Mike find his birth mother. My sister had left her full name on the post, making her no match against Katie’s Google skills. Using my sister’s last name as a jumping off point, she tracked me down online.
I am fairly easy to find by my full name. I do public relations for a living. My name and work blackberry number are on every press release I send out (thus Mike’s first call being to my work phone). Oh, but it doesn’t stop there! They also found my blog and my twitter, and had been watching me online for a year. And they still wanted to talk to me! SCORE!
By the time we got off the phone, we were all Facebook friends, we had sent each other family photos, and already had the sense that this was just the beginning. I hung up with a huge smile on my face. For a second. Until it hit me. I have to tell my mom.
If I thought calling Mike was awkward, you can imagine how much I was looking forward to this chat with my mom. “Oh, remember those twins that you gave up for adoption 40 years ago and have probably wondered about them every day of your life ever since? Just hung up with one of them. He said hi.”
Between the phone call, telling my mom and the Steeler’s loss, there was a lot of emotions going on that day.
Moving on. Bond were quickly forged as Mike went on to call my sister and my mom. We spoke a few times on the phone. Every conversation was effortless. Like we had known each other our whole lives. About a month into things, Mike suggested we video chat. I don’t know what took us so long.
It’s hard to explain to people the emotions I had seeing his face for the first time. The closest I can describe it is the love I had in my heart the moment I saw my children for the first time. I just loved him, as pure and as simple as that. He was my brother, and I loved the hell out of him.
He looks so much like us. The goofy Irish smile, the blue eyes, the nose. Dear god the nose. He looked like me. He looked like Kyle. He acts so much like us. Guess what he does for a living? If you said public relations, give yourself 5 points. Also, I don’t want to brag (okay, totally bragging) but he is also a FIVE TIME JEOPARDY CHAMPION. And an Ivy League grad. So CLEARLY he is of my gene pool.
I adored his wife, the sweet and lovely Katie. I loved her for bringing us together, for making my brother so happy, for mothering my two adorable nieces… but mostly because the first time we video chatted she refilled her wine glass 17 times. By the time we hung up, Katie and I were both half in the bag. It’s like we were meant for each other.
We video chatted about every other week. He video chatted with my mom, my sister, all the kids, I mean he had several opportunities to change his mind. But he did not. And last Friday they were here. Him, Katie and both girls. In my house. It was bliss.
No tense moments. It wasn’t strange at all. It’s like Mike said a few times throughout the first night: This is so COOL! He wanted to meet as many of us as possible, so Saturday we had a party at my Granny’s (yep, old lady is still kicking it!) where he met aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. We capped it off with scotch and cigars, his favorite way to celebrate.
You may have noticed, astute readers of mine, that I have not made mention of Mike’s twin. He isn’t at the place where he is ready for all of this, and I totally and completely understand. I can’t even imagine how emotional this is for them. I can’t fathom it one bit. And that’s why I’ve invited Mike to share his story with us. So you, heck, so I, can get a fuller picture of what it’s like to find your birth family.
If I needed one word to describe me right now, it would be’ complete’. I didn’t even know I wasn’t, but now that I have Mike and his family in my life, I feel a wholeness and a happiness that I didn’t even know existed.
And there you have it. Last Friday was the Best Day of My Life, Not Counting the Days I Had My Children. Or LFBDMLNCDMC for short.
Yours in love and happiness,