I'm 20 And I Just Found My First Biological Relative After Being In The Dark For All My Life

I'm 20 And I Just Found My First Biological Relative After Being In The Dark For All My Life

As an adopted child, this is a huge deal.
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I am almost 21 years old and I have never met anyone who is blood-related to me.

For almost 21 years, I have lived with the family that adopted me when I was a few days old. I grew up with them and they raised me, yet I always knew I was adopted. I was brought up with the knowledge that I was no their biological child and was raised to realize that that's okay. I grew up knowing next to nothing about my biological family and coming to terms that I would never find them because it was a closed adoption.

A closed adoption basically means that the biological family can't disclose their full name or identities, making it impossible for the child to find them. Likewise, they aren't informed of my name and cannot find that child. I grew up understanding that my biological parents had me when they were very young and weren't in a place to keep me. I had always understood this and felt no ill will.

Being adopted is very much part of my personal identity. It's a fun thing to tell people when I first meet them because it's such a rare occurrence that most are intrigued and want to know more. Of course, there are the close-minded people who are put off with how open I am about it. I have one other friend that I know who is also adopted, so it's sometimes hard to relate to my friends and even boyfriend on some levels. For examples, genetics and looking like their parents and ancestry. Don't get me wrong, I have my own weird ancestry from my family, but I never knew my biological ancestry. My boyfriend knew this and saw me go through random spurts of frustration due to it.

For Christmas in 2017, my boyfriend ordered me a spit collecting ancestry analyzing product. He knew how I sometimes got frustrated about my genetics and got it as a small form of closure, which I appreciated immensely. I didn't get my results until March since I put it off from being sick and didn't want to have my flu-filled spit analyzed. When I finally did get my results, it was a little underwhelming. It can't tell you anything for certain and is just approximations. However, I was offered a chance to share my DNA information with those that had DNA close to mine. I hit yes because, hey, why not? What did I have to lose?

A few weeks later, I woke up to a bunch of messages on Facebook from people I didn't know. Confused, I checked the site and, lo and behold, I actually matched with a biological family member. Yes, you read that right, 21 years of nothing and a simple "accept terms and conditions" linked me to a 2nd family. What was the first thing I did, you may ask? Crid. Cried my heart and soul out.

Over the past month, I have discovered and spoke to so many biological family members I never knew existed. The most exciting of them all, to be honest, is that I have a half brother. If you are an only child, you can understand my excitement when I found out that I have a sibling. Besides that, I have met aunts and uncles, cousins, grandaunts and granduncles, my biological parents, and even got to learn about my biological family history.

The most humbling part of this experience has been that it has exceeded my expectations. My whole life, I assumed that if I ever found them, I would ask questions and carry on with life. That isn't what happened at all. They want to keep in contact, they want me in their lives. My family just grew in indescribable ways and I still can't quite process it all. It's been an emotional start and I cannot wait to see where it all takes me. I've already met my biological cousin in person and I cannot wait for the day I get to meet more.

Even with this new discovery, I would never trade my family that adopted me for the world.

My parents are still my number one and always will be. I would never trade them for anything. No one is replacing anyone, it just means my family grew by a lot. This new chapter in life is something I wish everyone in adoptions could experience, but sadly is not typically the case. The best piece of advice for anyone in the same or similar situation is this: never give up that hope.

Cover Image Credit: Cheryl Winn-Boujnida on Unsplash

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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Blood Doesn't Determine Family

Blended families are just as much of a family as a traditional one.

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If you look above, you can see that have a very large family on my mother's side. Between my grandparents, aunts and uncle, cousins and my own immediate family, we're at thirty-three members and counting. All branches of our family tree have busy lives, so we don't get to see each other as much as often as we would hope to. Christmas is the one time a year where we all finally get together for the evening. If you sat in on our holiday party, you may think that we have a couple screws loose, but there is no doubt that you would be able to feel the love radiating from room to room.

If you look at the picture I chose for my header, you can see all of the cousins gathered for our yearly picture. Dysfunctional, of course, but you can tell that love is there. Would it surprise you that out of our entire huge family, less than half of us are blood-related?

I come from a blended family, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Blood does not determine family to us. Love does.

Divorce can be a messy thing, especially when children are involved. Both my aunt and uncle had remarried into relationships that already had children. For the most part, none of us can really ever remember a time when we weren't considered family. We don't ever look at each other as not being related. We never will. Family to us is the love and support that is shared unconditionally between us.

As I said, you would never be able to tell we weren't blood-related unless I told you. Not only do we all look similar to one another (which again is odd, because if the marriages had never taken place, we would just have a ton of doppelgangers running around), but the love and passion that we radiate is unmistakable that we have a bond that will never be broken, let alone determined by biology.

Blended families tend to get a bad rap sometimes from some of the horror stories that can come from second marriages. Not only that, but some people still are stuck in the idea that the only socially acceptable type of family is one where the lineage is clear and concise. Although I can see where these people come from, I don't believe that because there is a lack of shared genetics between all of us, our love is any less strong.

Family is those who will answer a call or text late at night because you need someone to talk to. They're the ones that you end up staying at their house and talking for hours when you meant to make a quick trip in. They are there for you no matter the situation and always believe in you one hundred percent.

Traditional families have a lot of love too, undoubtedly. But please, do not tell me that my family is any less of a family of a family because of its makeup. We have just as much love between us as families with the same bloodline. Blood does not determine the amount of love and affection between all of us. It never will. We will love each other as much as a traditional family. We never look at each other as a mixed family, so please stop treating us as such.

I've said it so many times, but I'll remind you once more. Blood does not determine family, love does-- and I love my family more than life itself.

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