I haven’t written about my birth family discoveries lately. Partly because the Christmas season is a bit busy in my profession. Also because there hasn’t been much news.
I’m totally fine with this being a slow process. I’m still in touch with my family members on my birth father’s side, and I was able to meet some “new” cousins in Arizona over Christmas break. I don’t really know what will develop in terms of relationships, so I’m glad to give it whatever time it takes to do it well. It’s hard to become family in a short period of time.
But last week I received a letter. From my birth mother.
After I met my birth father’s family in the fall, I wrote her a note to thank her for letting me know his name and letting her know I had met his daughter and family and it had gone well. I also posed a few questions for her, in case she ever wanted to answer them.
I didn’t expect a reply. She’d made it pretty clear she isn’t looking for a relationship or further contact. Which is what it is. I am certainly not going to just show up at her home and invade her privacy.
She answered the questions I had posed, or most of them at least. She even took some pictures out of her photo albums and sent them to me. Such a gift. I’m so grateful for that.
I scanned the photos and sent the originals back to her.
Not sure I will hear from her again. Grateful I’ve heard from her at all.
I haven’t had a “pen pal” since I was a kid. Nowadays you can just call or email anyone, anywhere in the world. This relationship with my birth mother, however, reminds me of my pen pal days. I had a pen pal from South Korea when I was in junior high. I would write something and send it off. Then I’d wait and wait for the reply.
It’s been years since the mail has been something I’ve anticipated the way I used to.
I also don’t want to put much hope into anticipating further mail from her. She has never promised, or even suggested, hope for a relationship.
This day, I’m seeing blessings in small things. I’m grateful to have answers to the questions I’d sent her, even if they raised a million other questions I likely won’t get answered. I’m grateful for the photographs.
And I am going to write more letters. Handwriting letters takes time. And shows care.
The world needs more hopeful anticipation at the mailbox than we’ve had in recent years.