Family Roots

Having placed a child for adoption, changed my life and changed me. It formed the way I think about things during a very formative part of my life. Maybe changed isn’t even the right word; maybe germinated things inside me is a better way to say it. I think, as a young person, it was not something I thought about a lot. Family was family.

It has given me new insight as I watch my daughter figure out who she is and explore her roots. The stories that I have heard my whole life about my ancestors, were not taken for granted by her. She, in fact, has a whole group of ancestors not even related to her by blood but rather by the heart. Because she has ancestral stories from the family who raised her as well. This does not makes these stories any less powerful or any less important on her journey.

I was recently having a discussion with a relative, where I stated people who are adopted need to find their roots. She shared with me that she was adopted. I had never known this about her. She told me she had completely bonded with her adopted family and felt no need to look for her birth family. I am so grateful that she shared this with me. It has taught me that the need to know blood ancestral stories is completely individualized. She does not have that yearning, that so many other people I have spoken to seem to have.

Since I grew up with my birth family, I cannot even begin to guess how I would feel. My grandmother used to talk about the importance of blood and family. I do know though, that family is much more than blood. There are soul families, who are not blood in this lifetime but may have been in past lifetimes. There are friends who feel like family. There are non-blood relatives like aunts, stepchildren and adopted parents that are every bit a part of who we are, without the blood connection. The face of what family looks like today is constantly changing and evolving. Who shows up to holiday meals can be a wonderful, changing, eclectic group of people that we call our family.

Family roots ground us. They hold us deeply to the earth. They can be like a blanket telling us who we are. However family roots, whether blood or not, do not define us. Allow yourself to be more than your story. Your story formed you but it is not you. Your story contributes to your view of the world through the experiences you have had, but allow that view to be ever changing.

I am blessed in my family heritage stories. They are full of examples of strength, comedy, and lots of love. They are not without their share of times of struggle, but it is that pressure that makes us into diamonds. As the parent of a child placed for adoption, I have spoken to many other birth parents over the years and it has been my experience that placing a child for adoption is a gift of love. Myself and other birth parents think about that little soul out there in the world. We send them love, wish them every happiness, and wonder how they are doing often.

However you define your family or who you chose to claim as your people, remember that those stories are a part of who you are, but you are much more than your family roots. Just as the roots of the tree hold it to the earth, nourish it, and allow it to grow; so do our roots. However, a tree is so much more than it’s roots and is shaped by so many things that have nothing to do with the dirt in which it’s planted.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your roots give you comfort, as if by magic.

*photo was taken in Bellingham, WA

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Family Secrets

 

About a year ago I had my DNA processed with the 23 and me testing. Because of connections made through my DNA being tested, I have learned some family secrets. This is not as new to me as one would think.  As a hospice nurse and a tarot card reader, I have often been privy to other peoples family secrets. I feel that these “secrets” can sometimes be very toxic and eat away at the inside of a family. 

As a hospice nurse I have watched people decide to unburden themselves to their family at the very end of their life. When this happens, some families accept this with grace and move forward to heal. While other families are forever hurt and confused by the revelation of this secret. Either way, it can cause so much confusion and brings things from the past into question. 

The truth usually always finds its way to the surface.  I feel it is so much better to be honest and upfront; I myself have never been one for keeping secrets. I will keep confidence with other peoples information but in my own life, and with my personal story, I see no reason to keep secrets. If I make a decision which seems like a mistake, I fess up and ask for forgiveness because keeping secrets is exhausting. 

Often secrets are just kept as a way to keep pain from affecting those around us. That pain though,  can be so much worse, when the lies and deceit are piled on top to keep that initial secret. 

I am learning more about my family through my journey with DNA testing and the connections I have made with relatives are rich and true blessings; learning more about my family’s past and interesting ways they lived their lives. These past experiences do not have to be painful if we remember that everyone does the best they can in the time and space they are in. Then with this in mind, even though we may not agree with what someone has done, can still offer forgiveness and love to that person. I find that the things I am learning make me wish that my ancestors were still alive to ask them questions, because there seems to be so much more to the story that probably has its own beautiful lessons and connections related to it. 

People are usually stronger that we give them credit for and we are also stronger than we give ourselves credit for. Instead of hiding it, share things with those you love. They can handle it! Often times the secret you’re holding, is not as much of a secret as you may have thought. Often times others already have a sense of it but still love you just the same. People many times just need to process the information you share; but wouldn’t you rather trust them with the information than continue to have to hide it? 

I can think of only one possible exception to this and that is if you will not be safe to reveal the secret. When you truly fear some type of abuse or severe punishment as a result of the reveal. If you are in a relationship, where you would expect abuse (physical of emotional) as a result of sharing this information, then I suggest you seek professional help. 

Perhaps I have over simplified all of this, because I have been accused of doing that in the past. I think with love and acceptance all things are possible. Always trust your intuition and follow your inner guidance. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you be free from the burden of secrets, as if by magic. 

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