Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Magnetic Pull of DNA

What is family? Well, I'm not the first person to ask that question, and it will certainly be asked millions more times by far more intelligent people than I. We are born into a family not of our choosing. Most of us have totally lucked out and we feel blessed to have the family we have. But for some, a birth certificate seems to almost double as a license to inflict pain. The newspapers and court dockets are weighed down with case studies of family grief. I love my church family and my work family, and I'm lucky to have been adopted by this eclectic and quirky mix of human beings. But there is something about sharing DNA that inexplicably, but most assuredly, connects people physically and emotionally.

There's a new television show on ABC called, "Find My Family". While I've not yet watched an episode, I glean from the commercials and press releases that the show reunites adopted children with their birth parents. Why do adopted children seek out their bio-parents? I submit to you that it is because of that strange and almost magnetic pull of DNA.

Fifteen years ago I learned I had a little sister who had been given up for adoption. My dad was the bio-dad of this little girl and just before her 10th birthday, she began asking questions about her family. Dad called me, told me about Megan, and showed me the photos the adoption agency had sent to him over the years. The moment I saw the image of that beautiful little girl, I knew I was connected to her and I loved her immediately! Her parents welcomed us into their home and they let their daughter be a part of our family. What a gift it has been to watch my baby sister grow from stranger, to sister, to young adult, to friend.

I was married for a short two and half tumultuous years a long time ago (well...25 years ago). If not for my son - who is the blessing of that marriage - I might have successfully tucked the memories of that union away with the cobwebs in my moldy brain. But, my husband and I have raised a son who looks an awful lot like his bio-dad, so it's not possible to pretend it didn't happen. When the marriage ended, I sadly lost contact with half of my ex-husband's family. I don't know why, but it is what it is. son always had a "hole", for lack of another word, that could only be filled by information - even though he'd been adopted by my husband and only knew HIM as "Dad". I can't speak for my son so I won't, but I do know that the old DNA magnetic pull thing sort of tugged on him. It's been almost two years now since my ex - totally out of blue - contacted my son through MySpace. Just "knowing" has filled the hole for my son.

In a couple of days my son will meet his grandmother for the first time. Well, there was that time when he was 6 months old, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't remember that. The door was always open, but life sometimes moves people away from open doors. Such is the case with Grandma. Even though this woman is no longer my mother-in-law, she IS my son's grandmother, and as such, she is family! I can't wait to see her again and to watch her look into the eyes of her one and only grandson - now a grown man. I know she'll see her son's blue eyes, his walk, and the cleft in his chin. How great is that!!

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