The Week My Biological Mother Sent Me A Facebook Friend Request

With 15 minutes to spare before my next meeting, I turned up the music as loud as it could go, plugged my ears, and spun in circles. It was my way of telling the soul everything was going to be okay. It was final’s week with final projects and final goodbyes. The last thing I felt I had time for was final family closure. My heart knew it needed to be still, but my head knew it needed to get the projects done, the tests taken, and the bags packed. So I shelved the feelings and prayed forward. And somehow the projects got done, the tests taken, and the bags packed.

But then the busyness ended and those feelings fell off the shelf leaving me to pick up the pieces. You see, the week had begun normal, as normal as any week can be. And then it wasn’t anymore and I didn’t know what to do with that.

I mean, what does one do when a biological family member (not my biological mother) makes contact after nearly 15 years? “Hi.” My relative wrote, “I don’t know how to approach this message…do I reach out or will my reaching out hurt you?”

I didn’t have an answer to either of those questions.
I didn’t know how to feel or what to think.

“I thank God you are happy, grown, and loved. You are safe.” And then, as if they knew me they began to unravel how proud they were of me. How beautiful I was. How much they loved my writing and how much we had in common. They said things like, “I’ve missed you.” and “I love you still.” And I silently rolled my eyes wondering why those phrases bothered me so much. Those phrases I wished my family had chosen to continue to say to me as I grew up.

What does one do with that?

And then the story came. The part of my story I didn’t know. The part before I was adopted. The part, I had on occasion wondered about, but never really lived in for too long. They said they shared it to protect me. With more information than I care to write here, in way they did. But I wasn’t prepared for the story. I wasn’t prepared for how dirty it was. How impure. How sinful.

What does one do with that?

“Your biological mother was in state custody at the age of 15. She was eventually placed in a mental institution. Your mom may be 40 in age, but more like 15 or 16 in mind.”

“Your biological father is not a good man Patricia. I wish I could change that part of the story for you but I can’t.” I also couldn’t help but notice how she used present tense.

My biological parents were products of confusion. They were runners.
They were roamers walking the streets. That’s when they met at a pawn shop.

What does one do with all of that?

The stories were much more detailed but I think it too much to write here. As I began to process this information as best as I could, all the while finishing up University, there came another, “What do I do with that?” moment.

I knew her name. My biological mother’s. But I never did anything with it. It just remained a name. A person who I didn’t remember. A mother I didn’t know. A face I had only imagined. And suddenly there she was. My biological mother. After over 20 years, a Facebook friend request is how she chooses to make herself known to me. There was no message attached. Not even a “Hello.”

What does one do with that?

And then there was the reality that I look nothing like her.
I am a spitting imagine of my father. A man that I suddenly didn’t respect.

What does one do with that? That slight wince of disappointment. A face only imagined for 23 years suddenly became something more than a wonder, and my heart felt let down.

My half biological sister proceeded to tell me how little I resemble her. “I look exactly like her and you look nothing like her.” And “Her and I have a lot of in common, which means, you and her wouldn’t…Also, all of these health problems are genetic from mom…anxiety, bipolar, depression, insomnia, nerve pain, constipation, fevers, inflammation, migraines, high blood pressure, nausea, dizzy spells, muscles spasms, acid reflux, asthma, shorter right leg, back problems, eye sight problems, thyroid problems, diabetes, arthritis, hypothyroidism….”

Um. What am I supposed to do with that?

Apparently, ‘mother’ now speaks of how she is so glad to have us ‘both’ back in her life.
How does sending a friend request make me a part of her life?

What does one do with that?

I watched a woman play with a baby yesterday and I immediately wondered, “Did my mother ever get on the floor and love me like that?” I had never thought those kinds of things before. Then that same woman told me she loved me the other day and I didn’t say, “I love you” back. Normally I would have, but suddenly love seemed wrong and I wanted no part in it.

What does one do with that?

My biological relative, who seeps guilt in their writing, tries to reassure me they wanted nothing more than to be a part of my life but thought it better to love at a distance. They keep apologizing. They speak of our visits. I remember them. I remember visiting at restaurants, playing on wooden playgrounds, swinging in swings with them. I remember liking them. Maybe even loving them. “When the adoption was finalized.” they wrote, “we thought it would be the last time we visited. I remember you girls came and I was so sad to think that was it. But I knew it was best for you. You girls had these little safety pins on the laces of your shoes with tiny beads on them. You gave me one off your shoes and said it was so I always had something. It was so sweet.”

I let my guard down then. I broke.

What does one do with that?

The abuse. The lies. The incest. The rape. The alcohol. The drugs. The mental dysfunction. The depression. The cutting. The hatred. The rage. The friend request. The sister who is now choosing to live in all of that. The reality that my family tree isn’t a magical one.

You know, it is a whole lot easier to forgive when you know nothing.
Forgiveness comes harder when the hard truths are known.

I broke.

I broke because my soul takes something from all of that. Grace. Knowing the all of this just reiterates how much God has had his hand on my life. I am the product of mental instability yet here I am finishing up University with the mental capacity to do so. Although, some days my mind didn’t think it could, it did. So there it is again. Grace.

What does one do with that?

Now I know where I come from. Now I’m left to move beyond the sinful dirt in which I was born, to remember the holy dirt in which I was created. To live in the truth of who I am in Christ. To know that I am a daughter of the King. The daughter of a pure and holy and kind Father. To know that when I look in the mirror, I am created in God’s image not the image of man who couldn’t love me.

I am not at a point in understanding what all of this means or what the next steps are to take, if any. My biological mother’s friend request still sits in my inbox. My sister deems me a bad Christian because I’ve not been quick to respond. My biological relative is now seeming to want a relationship, which I think I want but my mind plays through all the little scenarios. Not exactly how I imagined being ‘reunited’ with biological family. No, I’m not sure what to do with any of this, but I know God is still God. And I know I am still His. So here I am, living as pure of a life as I know how. Resting, once again, knowing God is a healer. A redeemer. A life giver. A Parent.

I thought I knew grace, but I sure didn’t know grace until now.

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