A Life Not Lived

Standard

What would have been …?

This life I did not live

 

Pictured above – Birth Family circa 1960 [before I arrived]

It has only been a little over a month and I am still processing, digesting, gathering information, building a [genealogy]family tree so I can see it, comprehend it all in ‘black & white.’

What of these strangers until now … these siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents I never got to know. The stories, the history that was rightfully mine stolen away.

Questions that come to my mind are those that are most taken for granted, I think.  But now; this new opportunity has finally arisen. I remember having a childhood notebook with hundreds of questions to ask of my birth mother. I speak with Linda, my birth mother, and all of those questions evade me. I guess I am still waiting for some truth. But I try to move on and realize there is more to know. I deal with her on a distanced level; working to obtain family history, names, events and some of her memories. Those memories though, always have me questioning how much truth there is to them. The trust is just not there.

Then it dawns on me after we hang up; of my parents and siblings just a few things I wonder about:

  • The color of your eyes?
  • How tall are you?
  • How much did you weigh at birth?
  • Allergies?
  • Do you play an instrument?
  • What kind of music do you like?

I know all of these things about my sister, the one that shares stories of olaughur past, of our family and extended family. The one I have never questioned a future with.   Always lingering and at my fingertips are our shared memories; ones we made together – good, bad and some best not to mention!

These things we take for granted knowing; like we know our name and address; because we have always known it.

Progress in this new ‘un-lived life

My brother and I; we already know the truth in our hearts. For me it is the science first and then the evidence next. I see myself almost looking back as I look at pictures of my sister. Finally knowing who I looked like even if its only in a picture. For my brother; my baby pictures cemented it. To quote him; ‘if you aren’t my sister, then I don’t know who is.’, ‘I feel you sis!’

Perusing their pictures; my birth mother Linda and my deceased birth father Israel. There is no doubt in my mind that these are my birth parents. DNA has already proved that. But just to be sure, my surviving brother has submitted his DNA to Ancestry. And so now we wait.

 

Top Right – Birth Father Israel; Top Middle – Author – FP: Top Left – Birth Mother Linda
Bottom Right – Birth Sister Debra; Bottom Right – Author – FP

 

I don’t want to trade one life story for another. I feel fortunate that I can now officially be a woman of two tribes; and to know the tribes of whence I came. To foster new relationships as I slowly uncover the layers of this life not lived. There is no reason to create a different past; I don’t want to change the facts. I don’t want a different sister than I grew up with, nor family in general. I cherish my life-sustaining tribe. My only regret is not of my actions; but circumstance; that I did not find out the truth until so much later in life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

What’s in a Name?

Standard

What is the name of my Original Tribe?

So, here we are another day unfolding and a bit more info. The latest count on Ancestry.com are over 19,000 DNA matches. Overwhelming on what to do with them. I am so fortunate to have such great DNA matches / cousins that continually assist me. They volunteer their time to help me find my truth; part of it is also theirs. But they have most of their answers; this they do out of their own generosity and for that I am truly grateful!!

My current tree on Ancestry Research Tree: Urdaz Family. all thanks to my cousin George who has uncovered / researched so much information.

ggp n maternal gggp.png

So, what has been uncovered.

My maternal great great grandparents; Pedro [Roman] Urdaz & Juliana Correa; also from Arecibo, PR. There’s a story circulating that Juliana’s dad was from Spain. My my great grandparents; Hipolito Rivera and Francisca Urdaz y Correa, circa 1860’s from Arecibo, PR.  One of their eight children should be my grandparent. From the way the DNA matches are revealing themselves it seems most likely that one of these three Rivera y Urdaz children should turn out to be it: Jose, Angel or Francisco.

Presently I am leaning towards Francisco 1891-? & his wife Guadalupe Soto y Serrano  1896-1984. Angel 1887-1958 was married to Trinidad Ocasio y Cebollero 1889-1925, Jose 1856-1934 was married to Susana Borras y Menendez 1882-1922 and Carmen Santana y Diaz 1894?

Finally,  I can now firmly state that my surnames are:  Rivera, Urdaz, Correa, Roman?, Miranda, and Pollaci – from my life sustaining tribe!

Elated!! Ecstatic!!

Standard

Wonderful fabulous week and it’s only Tuesday!!!

I spend so much time on the DNA sites; checking for new matches; looking at names, looking for hints of information. Calculating how can I be related to this person? How can I connect the dots of their life & world to mine. Where do they live now?  Where has their family lived?

Over thinking until I am exhausted and still empty. My cup runneth over with information; but it is too distant for me to make sense of it – YET!!!!

But yesterday …. YESTERDAY I found out I finally have a surname I can call my own … Miranda!!! It’s official! thank good news for MY COUSIN TRACIE, who figured this all out. Her acumen in Gedmatch is to be admired!! I am still pretty green on doing this.

Finally!!  Finally!!!    Finally!!!!   HUGE sigh of relief!!!

Late last night with the last bit of energy I had to stay awake; I exuberantly entered my newly confirmed surname into my profile on Ancestry, FTDNA & 23andme.

It gets better though … I have been in contact via the DNA sites ‘in-mail’, email, phone calls, Facebook, texts and also working on Skype calls.

I have been fortunate to have so many new cousins. These new additions are under the special grouping of primas & family in my contacts. I know each day how increasingly important they have become because each time I see an email or a call or even a FB entry that they have made; I cannot wait to get to it, to answer that call. And when I do, I am smiling from ear to ear! Truly, I consider them friends as well because they are lovely wonderful warm open hearted people.

Well, this Friday I meet my cousin Karen IN THE FLESH.

This is the VERY FIRST COUSINS I WILL MEET IN PERSON!! [squeal squeal squeal].  I cannot wait!

Bridging the Gap Between My Two Tribes!

Standard

I reached out Irene – a cousin of a 1st cousin by marriage, her paternal 1st cousin; from my Life sustaining tribe – and also she is also a cousin from my original tribe. There is definite genetic & paper trails to her maternal grandmother.

I gave Irene the outline of my adoption; how we are connected through both my tribes and a little of the travels on this path.

I received a very positive uplifting response from Irene and value it more than I can actually convey at this time. No matter our connection; she considers me a cousin!

My world has always been about less than the predicted 6 degrees of separation – and so that trend continues.

The Universe is working OT!!

Standard

And Gloriously I might add – not a word I use to often, but here, today I FEEL the weight of that particular word!!

More ‘Cousins’ coming out of the woodwork!

If there was a DNA jackpot for responses from new found matches – then this would be the week I hit that pot’o’gold!!!

It as if there is a cosmic connection.

At the beginning of this week, my amazing & very talented [and self-less] an original tribe cousin, Melissa Ulto, released the first installment of her documentary series – COUSINS – RACE, IDENTITY & FAMILY – Trailer 1 or as I would also like to refer to it … ‘Cousin Reunification Project’ – enjoy!! I am proud to say that the participants in this trailer are also all my cousins!  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BARTCgwOxdE&feature=youtu.be 

So, the cosmic ball is rolling and stones are turning over and people are responding from a variety of sources. I have received responses from my 23andme, Ancestry and Gedmatch accounts!!  WOW!!

The secret FaceBook page of Prima y Primo’s … is adding in new ‘family’ on almost a daily basis!

This is so exciting. People coming together.

I can only attribute it to the Universe being included in this quest, request, hope for finding out our truths, finding out our original story and unifying and connecting us even more to our original tribe.

Thank you dear cousins Melissa, and the other stars in our quest to our roots: Teresa, Carmen, Luis, Maddy [brother & husband] & Iris.

Documentary?? Too Good to be true … but THANKS Universe – I would love to!!!

Standard

Since I found out my true story; I tried to do the search thing ‘old school detective style’. It hasn’t yielded any insight into who my birth-parents could be.

After years of disappointing efforts I was enchanted with affordable DNA testing. Here again, my hopes were raised; but not too high, my *closest public relative is about 3.8 generations* from me. There are second cousins on one of them; but for whatever reasons they have chosen to remain that way even after I had contacted them a few times.

However, DNA testing has been incredibly successful in other ways. So many things have come to light: my nationalities, a plethora of family from my ‘Original Tribe’. In addition I have been privy to many family stories – that may or may not also belong to me – yet I have a sense of ownership because even if they aren’t ‘mine’ per-see, they are the stories of my cousins!

In my quest to find my Original Tribe; I have been on adoption sites for years and more recently on Facebook Adoptee / Triad pages. I sporadically will visit the pages. One lucky day, I noticed this post – a lovely woman posted her friends email address to contact if you are interested about your story being documented. Well, it happened to be a great day for me!

I sent a quick email stating my interest to share! Recently, I was contacted by the woman who just completed this documentary – https://www.feeln.com/films/journey-of-dreams. [they are connected to Hallmark – WOW] She had been busy wrapping up a film and hadn’t forgotten about me. ‘Can I share my story with her.’ Well, I gladly did!!

I shared my story; some information that I haven’t been extremely forthcoming about for no other reason than I just wasn’t comfortable; and it seemed that it may make others uncomfortable. I included the newspapers articles from when I was first found and the one from done 35 years later, one of gratitude to my birth mother for having me.

I also am fortunate to have a copy of my foster care records, and the accompanying police report from when I was found. Attached those as well. Being found abandoned at approximately a day old with no knowledge of the birth parents did not make for a successful police investigation. Fifty plus years ago; information was not as easily shared, computers did not exist as they do today and the idea of an **unwanted child** is much more accepted.

Well, I received a response; the team is now considering my story for a documentary. This is huge!! People have been reporting incredible success with just posting their stories on Facebook. A documentary! WOW!! That can be the path to the MY TRUTH that I seek. The path to finding my ‘Original Tribe’.

Thank you Universe!

Thank you to the wonderful people at feeln.com!

Thank you to my wonderful ‘Original Tribe’ family!

Thanks to my ‘Life Sustaining Tribe’, how I got to here and now!

And most of all to my spouse & children that propel every success I achieve!

Note:

*This cousin, ‘3.8 generations’, is one of my closest original tribe family. We are in constant communication and it’s wonderful! AND, there are more cousins that I am also in VERY close contact with, 4th generation and beyond. The thing is, we are friends because we found out we are family. It is a wonderful feeling! We text, email, talk, try to Skype, share on Facebook. We hope to meet soon; for me with two toddlers and working full-time, etc., I have limited time and energy right now; but I look forward to that incredible day!

I guess I would have to call them framily!  They are supportive and informative and try to help me find out more information. I feel so fortunate.

**Now, here I would like to clarify ‘unwanted child.’ I really cannot speak of my birth mother and possibly birth father’s true intentions or feelings. I do not know what motivated her / him / an unknown helper / them. What I do now, they had some kind of spirituality / religion and they believed in the miracle of life. I can only conclude from their actions that they probably knew they were unable to care for an infant / child and hoped for the best.

Finding Our Common Ground

Standard

My search is no closer today than it was months ago

But life is richer having met so many amazing DNA matches that I endearingly refer to as ‘cousins’. A few months back I initiated a ‘private’ Facebook page that is encompassed of my DNA matches and any one in the group is welcome to add in their DNA matches. We have gone different routes to try to pull together the information that everyone is sharing from old family photos, family trees, comparing gedmatch numbers and search tips and reference materials.

This ‘networking’ is a very un-attached type of description for it. Really, this group of 130+ has it’s own personality. It’s a place of warmth, caring, laughter and it’s evolving. Hard describe a Facebook page as that – but really has become my favorite place to catch up. It emits a positive vibe, encourages the members to come a little out of their shell and share and comment.

Today, we try a new forum – a blog / website. I initiated that too – but like the Facebook page; it’s is nothing without the members and their input. We all have different reasons for doing DNA testing and trying to piece together a past that is ours for the taking; the learning; the sharing.

Right now we are all on a path of unearthing that past. From there we will build our trees and see how that root has taken and given us our now. We will add to those branches so we can give our offspring their foundations. This new found ‘family’ is working together, learning together, growing together all due to common ground.