I play Among Us. My name is “poptart”. You may wonder why a 52 year old woman would want to play a real-time murder mystery set on a space ship with the prepubescent of our population, but you’ve no need, I will tell you why I do it. I’ve entered a very specific time in my life where I gain great satisfaction defeating children in games of deceit and strategy. Today, however, those raggamuffins booted me out of two games in less than 30 minutes. Don’t they have better things to do like Google history homework answers or something? I crashed on Pink’s argument that she couldn’t be the killer because “I’m only 8.” If she’s 8, then I’m 8. Ridiculous argument! That pink flower in your hair only makes you more creepy, PINK!
It is 6:30 p.m. as I begin to write and I want it to be 6:30 a.m. tomorrow. At that time I will have things to do: wake up, catch the days headlines, take a shower, have breakfast, get dressed then go to work. When I’m at work I’ll have even MORE things to do. Between now and tomorrow I have TWELVE hours to do something with. At least 8 hours of that can be used for sleeping. During COVID I’ve tested my sleeping abilities AKA: time travel. I can fast forward about 3-5 hours at a time with an elongated blink of an eye …which is really what sleep is, one long blink. Rarely can I make it more than 12 hours in one undisturbed lay-down. The longest since March is a good, very nice and needed 10 hours in bed. Sleeping when bored is the highlight and delete of unwanted hours. The “>>2x” button on your Blueray.
What the heck will I do for 12 hours?
I started one adult task; reading a self-help book, “The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child” by Nancy Newton Verrier.
The Primal Wound is a book which is revolutionizing the way we think about adoption. In its application of information about pre- and perinatal psychology, attachment, bonding, and loss, it clarifies the effects of separation from the birth mother on adopted children. In addition, it gives those children, whose pain has long been unacknowledged or misunderstood, validation for their feelings, as well as explanations for their behavior. Since its original publication in 1993, The Primal Wound has become a classic in adoption literature and is considered the adoptees’ bible. The insight which is brought to the experiences of abandonment and loss will contribute not only to the healing of adoptees, adoptive families, and birth parents, but will bring understanding and encouragement to anyone who has ever felt abandoned.
A friend loaned me the book. We are both adopted children. The book helps you work through the emotional trauma of abandonment all adoptees experience. She recommends it highly. It will be a tough read. About 10 minutes in I begin to cry a little.
The sun set at 4:21pm today. I should have gone for a walk, but I didn’t.
I recently moved. I noticed while cooking the other day that I gave up a spice advantage. The “community” spice rack had all sorts of wonderful grounded herbal ingredients. One of my favorites is smoked paprika. My current meager collection is about 6 things: two kinds of salt, a black pepper grinder, curry and… well four items (you can’t count chicken stock as a spice). Spice is expensive. It will take a while to build up my own rack.
Food would be bland without some spice. This is also true with DNA. Looking at my genetic make up, although the majority tracers are 85.9% European, I like seeing the “dashes” of Italian, Iberian, West African, and Native American; it’s the spice in my DNA.
It’s been almost a month since I received the results from my 23andMe DNA test. (see DNA: part three) I’m working the social aspects of the site to find any relatives closer than 4th cousin.
I may have found a 2nd, but the person responded to my story with “Let’s continue cautiously”. They have two female cousins that MAY have moved to the Pacific Northwest and “married Anglos” around the time I was born. The adoption label has a shock value that works both ways. I am once again reminded of the taboo label attached to me since before birth. A child that is a living reminder of a moment someone wanted to forget. Despite an unknown reason for my origin, I am an advocate for adoption over abortion. I’d like to think somehow my life has a needed affect on this pool table of a planet that rides on the back of a tortoise.
CUBA is now open
It’s been an especially encouraging week regarding CUBA, position #1 for my Country of Ancestry above the United Kingdom, #2!
“President Obama will move as soon as next month to defang the 54-year-old American trade embargo against Cuba, administration officials said Thursday, using broad executive power to defy critics in Congress and lift restrictions on travel, commerce and financial activities.”
-New York Times, December 19, 2014
It’s almost as if Cuba is calling me. If this is true, soon I will be able to visit it.
% of Cavewoman
The test also shares how much Neanderthal you have. That’s right, the closest evolutionary relative of modern humans. The first Neanderthals arrived in Europe as early as 600,000 to 350,000 years ago. They lived along side modern humans for thousands of years. Genetic evidence suggest that they interbred and although Neanderthals disappeared about 30,000 years ago, traces of their DNA — between 1 percent and 4 percent — are found in all modern humans outside of Africa. The average European has 2.7%, I have 2.6%.
I am 2.6% Neanderthal. While I contemplated what that means I notice a t-shirt is available for purchase, readily available with my percentage on it. Talk about a conversation starter. While wearing it perhaps I’ll walk around and use the word “Cronk!” for every word, and smash stuff. “It’s OK I’m just letting my inner Neanderthal out”
I’m getting close to the day. The day my 23andMe DNA test will return and I’ll know my genetic heritage. I’ve decided to share the results with my two children first, then my mom and brother, (my father has passed). Then share it here. The story will not end with the results. The social media aspect of 23andMe may potentially link-up the results with relatives. As I stated before it might be boring or a big mess of family drama—let me share my mess with you.
Honestly, a social DNA site freaks me out a little. I used my real name for processing, but a fake one for the profile. My personal photo is a bunch of flowers. I am chicken. Cautious. Nervous. Feeling the need to protect myself, and yet I have to look, I must take a peak into this unknown.
ADOPTED FAMILY TREE
Here is what I know. My adopted parents are mainly of Irish and German decent. My mother and her siblings were the first generation born in America, my father was his families third. I was raised by a working class family in the suburbs south of Seattle, on the wooded plateau of Federal Way.
Around 2009 I got the bug to research the family tree. My dad’s Irish side was a bit beat up from divorce, my grandmothers five husbands and the generational condition of not talking about the ass holes in the family. (Would have been nice if they would of at least saved their name and date of birth.) Mom’s side ended with her great-grandparents, the parents of the ones who made the boat trip over. She knew it all from memory, with the help from a few notes. That tree is a nice big full tree, with many children. However, I couldn’t go past 1880. Using European genealogy sites is expensive, so I stopped there.
I married into the Laws family. While researching their tree, I learned they have a long stake in America. The first, James Laws, came over from England, landing in Massachusetts in the early 1700’s. There was a split of some kind in the family. Many stayed in the Carolinas while others, my ex-husbands side, went to Chicago, then Kansas, then California. Prior to England, I could only guess that Laws was a corruption of “Lawrence” a possible connection to Scotland’s MacLaren Clan.
After contacting the North American chapter they confirmed the surname connection. We joined the clan immediately. It was exciting to learn about tartans, badges and read about the fighting history of the MacLaren. We took the kids to the Highland games in Tucson, found the MacLaren booth and told the kids, “These are your people.” Later we visited the popular Arizona Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace. It felt like “place”. A virtual family I am happy to be a part of, even if by marriage. It is an identified part of my children’s heritage and I celebrate their lives as any mother would.
What if my DNA reveals something unexpected? Of course it will. Do you remember on the TV show “Who Do You Think You Are” when guest Spike Lee learns he is not 100% African?* Blood has no boarders. Do the boxes we check on a form define who we are in society?
Here’s another gem, this one from a usaid.gov job application:
“Ethnicity and race information is requested under the authority of 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e-16 and in compliance with the Office of Management and Budget’s 1997 Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. Providing this information is voluntary and has no impact on your employment status, but in the instance of missing information, your employing agency will attempt to identify your race and ethnicity by visual observation.”
“Visual observation”―What the hell does that mean?
Lets play a game. Can you guess Keanu Reeves nationality just by looking? Here’s a photo of the famous actor:
He was born in Beirut, Lebanon to an English mom and an American father. His father was born in Hawaii, of British, Portuguese, Native Hawaiian, and Chinese ancestry. You only get to know that information when you get to know Keanu and he shares it with you (or you look him up on IMDB).
“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin,
but by the content of their character.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Nature and Nurture
My DNA test talks to the very old debate of nature verse nurture. How much of what and who we are is dependent on our upbringing, and genetic makeup.
Saul McLeod writing for Simply Psychology has this to say:
“In practice hardly anyone today accepts either of the extreme positions. There are simply too many “facts” on both sides of the argument which are inconsistent with an “all or nothing” view. So instead of asking whether child development is down to nature or nurture the question has been reformulated as “How much?” That is to say, given that heredity and environment both influence the person we become, which is the more important?”
If you are interested in this discussion, please visit the site (see link below). It is full of intriguing arguments, especially about temperament and the “genius” gene. To much information to share here.
Washington Adoptees Rights Movement (WARM) was my first point of contact for information regarding my birth family. The site also included reunited stories. Some good, some not so good. One reunion I remember was about a daughter and her father that discover they had same mannerisms. They combed their fingers through their hair the same way and liked the same type of food. Makes me curious if mannerisms are genetic.
I am wondering what it will be like to meet any member from my birth family. I wonder if we have the same eyes, smile, and laugh. I wonder if any play the piano, sing or write. My mind is full of wonder. Questions my heart asks, the words go out into the universe like an echo, returning empty.
In part three of my series I will tackle race and religion.
I have a 23andMe DNA kit and I’m not afraid to use it!
If you follow my blog or know me a little more than most—like the way one may “know” Nutella after eating half a container—then you’ll know that I am adopted. Orphaned, then adopted. I literally made it 40 years not knowing anything about my birth family.
Well, that’s about the change… a little bit any way.
23andMe will provide what percentage of my DNA is from what populations of the world and allows members to connect with others that share their DNA, “DNA Relatives”, via the 23andMe social network site.
My kit is registered and my profile set up. I’ll know more in 3-4 weeks when the results come in. “Congratulations, you’ve been cloned!” Sometime around the end of December I’ll share “Part Two: The Results”.
To learn more about my views on adoption, please check out my post: