There are some things that only happen once in your life - the FIRST time you fall in love, the FIRST time you become a mother, your FIRST day of school. For me, yesterday was a BIG first - the FIRST time meeting my biological mother, face-to-face.
My story is probably similar to a lot out there - I was born to a very young mother who was not prepared to raise a child. I was given to a wonderful family who adopted me (from the moment I was born) and raised me with lots of love, affection, and support. I always knew I was adopted - it wasn't something that my parents kept from me. My mom used to explain that Heavenly Father needed another woman to get me here to earth, but then He arranged for me to get to the family I was meant to be with. I always felt very special that my parents got to CHOOSE me!
I was fulfilled. Complete. I didn't ever yearn for a family that I didn't have, or didn't know. I have a family - and they are amazing! I have parents who are my parents in every way and who I couldn't love more. I have siblings who I love and who annoy and are annoyed by me - just the way it should be :) And what's more - I was sealed to my parents in the temple when I was 2, so in every way, they are my eternal family. I couldn't be happier!
Fast forward to about two years ago.I was visiting with my sister and she mentioned that something about my mannerisms or something reminded her of my birth mother. I found that interesting, coming from a place where I didn't resemble anyone. I started getting curious about my biological history and so, on a whim, I put in my birth mother's name into...where else...facebook! Her name came up immediately, and so I was faced with a decision. Should I make contact or not? I have to be honest - I didn't really feel the need. I wasn't yearning for a relationship or anything. But, curiosity won out. The only photo that I could see was her profile picture, which was a photo of her as a child sitting on a horse at a distance. That wouldn't do! I wanted to see a photo that I could distinguish some resemblance or not. So, I sent off a simple message - it said:
"Hi Bernie! Did you go to school with either Kathy Schmidt or Laurie Schmidt? I should introduce myself. I'm Bobbi-Jo, and I think you may be my birth-mother. Amazing what facebook can do. My mom (Mickey Schmidt) gave me your name a few years back and I was curious, so I typed it in FB and voila! You popped up. I understand if you don't want any contact, but I thought I'd let you know that I'm happily married with four daughters (ages 10,8,6, and 4). Anyway, if you're interested, you can request me as a friend and see some pictures. if not - I completely understand. I know it's probably awkward. Thanks for your time!"
That was it. Now the ball was in her court! She emailed me back within minutes, and a new journey began! We started out with some basic questions and the friendship grew from there. It was an easy decision, almost exactly two years later, to finally meet.
Of course I was a little unsure of how things would go - what she might be expecting from the meeting, what I was expecting. But it was a very comfortable visit over dinner. Sort of like visiting with an old friend. It was a wonderful move to slowly get to know each other through the miracle of social networks and email so that when we finally did meet, it wouldn't be as awkward.
She brought me some gorgeous flowers, and we hugged. It was a HUGE first in my life - bigger than even I knew it would be.
Naturally thoughts went through my mind - am I the type of person she hoped I would become? Am I someone she would be proud of? Do I want her to be proud of me?
I think it's normal that I don't think of her as my mom - I never will, because she isn't my mom. Don't get me wrong...she is a great friend and I'm grateful for the incredible sacrifice she made to bring me into the world, and then give me up - but she isn't my mom. It's such a strange thing, an interesting relationship that we are slowly figuring out, but so far we have been on the same page. She has been incredibly sensitive to how fast (or slow) I want things to go, and she has never pushed anything on me. It will be interesting to see where the relationship goes. There really isn't a precedence for this - no pattern for me to follow, really. I am grateful that we met, that I immediately noticed my own eyes staring back at me, and that I have been able to answer a few questions I have had about my past. Now I can look forward to a future of getting to know each other even more and getting to know her family members as well! It is like icing on an already amazing cake that has been my life!