Today marks the 1 year anniversary of me being found by my sister after 41 years apart. (documented here) It marks the end of not being connected to the world around me (With obvious exception to my wife and daughter) and a start of what is really an ever evolving story as I journey through my life getting answers, and asking new ones.
Pretty much as soon as I heard her voice I knew. I knew as soon as I heard her that she was my sister even though she did have an English accent (due to her living there so long) it just seemed so right, so natural. Instantly we hit it off. Not only did she fill in so many blanks, she introduced me to our half brother, half sister and our birth mother. In the 1 year (as of today) that we have come to know each other it just seems to flawlessly natural when we interact, almost like i have known her all my life! so much so, that I really struggle to remember how it felt not to have her in it, it's like being able to speak to my own subconscious. It seems no matter how down we both get, no matter how bad the other just seems to know not only how it feels but how to bring the other out of it, it's a bond I can't explain or want to loose. My sister is without doubt the most loving, giving selfless person I have ever met, with exception to only my wife and daughter. I can't believe I am her brother and just constantly want her to be proud of me, I know without doubt the bond we have us now unbreakable. I love my big sister and look forward to sharing in a live with each other in it.
First half siblings
After my mum divorced my birth father she remarried and had 2 more children. (I was adopted at this point) This would be my half brother Garry and half sister Heather. Although I had met with Heather she elected to not be involved with my life, this would be a decision that only she could make and one i would come to regret, as not for the first time it would in essence mean a sense of rejection from my family. To this day i call her sister and if she called me tomorrow I'd be there for her and never turn her away, but this is something only she can control. My brother does speak with me although he's extremely busy pushing and pushing his career and although if I should message him he will always reply when he can. Having said this he has contacted me himself when ever he thought something was wrong, something i still to this day love the fact he would stop to think of me this way, even to this day i fully embrace them both as my flesh and blood. Im so proud of him, not just because he's making a name for himself in the world of directing, but because of the man he became. After all that was put before him he became a man i'm honoured and proud to call my friend, my brother, my blood, my family.
From the day I was found by Tracy i started talking to my birth mother online. It was a rather surreal experience and i'm not sure I was prepared for the full range of emotions that i would need to fight my way though. Over the years i had built up so much resentment, hurt, fear that i honestly didn't know how i felt about it all. for years i felt i was at fault. That i was given away like an unwanted gift because i was faulty in some way. Through talking and reading court papers I realize my mother had so little information or choice in the matter. From talking with my half brother Garry I also learned a new way to look at life and to approach things, so I endeavored to approach it with a more positive and pro-active manner, much in the same way i seen Garry approach things in his life. Today 1 year on we chat and talk online almost every day and we are bonding and getting to know each other and yes i do call her Mum, and I regularly go round to hers for coffee and i have even brought my wife and daughter. Now i have gotten to know her i see so much of myself and my sister Tracy in her. I have also found comfort in her words and we have expressed our hearts true feelings with each other and rediscovered a mothers love.
Not all Family is Family
Online my sister and i made contact with my farther's brother Andrew and sister "Ella". Both were welcoming and keen to get to know us. Then she turned on my sister and me and just blocked us out of her life. Why this happened I honestly don't know but coming from the sister of a father who was never willing to accept me as his or willing to see neither me nor my sister was looked after and kept safe it honestly comes as no supprise.
Surprise from my Father
Through this whole process off and on, my sister and i tried to get hold of my father. Tracking down birth certificates and marriage certificates to attempt to see if any trace of him could be found. We were able to track him down to Newcastle for a time but then ran across something unexpected. It turns out my birth father had 2 children Andrew and Lesley in Newcastle!
I honestly could not believe it. First thing that hit me was both our mother and father replaced me and my sister with another boy and girl. But I quickly dismissed this thought. Next came the realizations of more siblings! So I had a little brother and little sister somewhere out there in the world? All kinds of thoughts would swim round in my head making me dizzy.
- Are they ok???
- Are they hurt? in pain?
- Were they adopted?
- Do they even have the same names?
- Are they alive???
- will I / we be a massive disappointment to them?
Even thoughts like "Would they even want to know us?"
I'm a member of groups and pages on FB for adoption and reunification, and I've read all kinds of stories of similar groups of family members not being accepted and being told that they never want to see them again or they just don't care. In any event we decided not only would it be the best way to possibly find our father, but we needed to at least try to make the connection with them. So we set about messaging and searching for every Andrew Clark, and Lesley Clark on Facebook within the Newcastle / Newcastle Upon Tyne area. Yep ALL of them and it got so demoralizing after a while. With every search we seemed to hit one dead end after another, and every time we would find another possible candidate we'd sit and see potential "family resemblances" and be rewarded with another dead end and that's if they even bothered replying.
Then one night another candidate was found this time for Andrew, and again we found similarities but I honestly didn't want to get my hopes up. This night my band had a gig and I had no reception there. So I lft it in Tracy's hands. After the gig I heard nothing at first but I decided to check his Facebook profile, and it read I had one friend in common! Yep it was Tracy! Just after this my phone exploded into life and sure enough the messages from her confirming this were received. I spent the ride home chatting to him and really in shock.
Shortly after this my familly and I went to Beamish and as it's close to newcastle we agreed to meet Andrew and Lesley. I was nervious as I wanted them to like me, I wanted them to think this whole exorsize was worth the effort. More to the point I wanted them to like if possibly look up to their big brother. In truth i wasn't sure they would even call or identify to me as this. It turns out I needn't have worried! they could not have been more laid back and accepting. Being with them was fun and Lesley was so sweet and full of life, more than I think I ever have been. My daughter really took to her especially when she found out Lesley kept horses and had unicorn socks. Andrew was so like me that it was sometimes unsettling as I really wasn't use to it. Both brought their partners and I loved spending time with them too. I found myself gushing about big sister Tracy quite alot but i'm sure they didn't mind.
Abuse of all kinds does seem to run in our family history and for all my brothers and sisters and the fact I've not ever been able to be there for them, to hold their hands through the rough times or to give words of comfort. I'm not sure I can forgivectotherme myself for that, I mean isn't it the purpose of a big brother to look out for and protect his little brothers and sisters? One day I hope to be able to come to terms with this. One day I hope they will forgive me.
And So it comes full circle, we are scattered across the UK but we are always together and have each other and have already been there for each other several times. Although many of us are just getting used to the dynamic, I know what we have will endure.