Sunday, April 14, 2013


As usual, real life has coincided quite nicely with fiction.

In the past week a couple of conversations have bloomed around the topic of finding out one's genetic and personal heritage from relatives that one may have not ever known. Interestingly, it parallels a scene I'm writing in Mountains Climbed (that was outlined way prior to this week) where Abby wants to learn more about her biological father.

First, my lover has had some health problems and he has never known his biological father or any members of his family. He was raised exclusively by his mother's family and he's never had any interest in discovering more about his father's family. Now that he's having some health issues, though, I brought up the fact that he's missing half of his genetic picture and that it might behoove him to learn a little bit as it could inform his care. He is adamantly opposed and pretty much rejected all of my suggestions. Oh, well, I guess that's his prerogative.

Secondly, my maternal grandmother was adopted but when she was an adult, she met her biological mother for the first time. She went on to maintain a relationship with both her adoptive parents and her biological mother and her family. My mother was a teenager when she was introduced to her biological grandmother and never considered her to be her grandmother; rather, she felt like the woman who had raised her mother deserved the role of grandmother. My mother's younger siblings, though, did view the biological mother as their grandmother. We were talking this week about how she and her brother recently argued about who their grandparents were.

It's all very interesting to me. It's hard for me to even imagine not knowing my real mother or father. I think knowing them both and living with both of them until I moved out at age 16 gave me a very clear picture of my roots and my genetic heritage especially when it comes to health and personality. I have been contemplating what I'd want to do if I hadn't known one or both of them. Would I have sought out my birth parents?

I think I would. I'd want to see what kind of people they were, what they looked like, where I came from. I know it opens up a whole can of emotional worms, but I think that would be a risk I'd be willing to take.

Were you ever faced with this choice? What did you do? Or if not, what would you do?

1 comment:

  1. My wife's father was adopted. We finally met her biological grandmother and grandfather years ago. Her grandmother insisted, even though they had just met, that they have a relationship as if there were never any separation over all those years. The insistence then became a demand which led to no contact at all. Her grandfather, who was a decent man, died and I couldn't tell you about the grandmother, but I presume her to be dead as well. They did fill in some of the blanks on paternal health history, but it was an emotional land mine.

    I recently confirmed a suspicion that my mother wasn't an only child and had half-siblings - in ever met any of that half of my family, nor do I care to...most of the time. It's complicated, especially when it comes to your history. I wish him the best of luck.