My mind was a blank slate regarding my birth siblings. We were born of the same mother, but as far as I knew, our similarities would end there. Before we met, my half-sister (Penny) and I began to correspond. Her writing blessed me beyond belief with a welcoming feeling. I was not too nervous about meeting her, but church-family experiences had conditioned me to expect jealousy to raise its ugly head after the initial welcome.
Unfortunately, human nature tends to fear loss of position, friendship, and even love when ‘newbies’ come on the scene. Such fear is often sub-conscious but may be evidenced by negative, self-protective reactions. Having learned this, I tried to put myself into Penny’s shoes as much as possible, and wondered if she ever feared that I may taking her place as a much-loved daughter of her mother. I determined to never let that even appear to happen. Although a different experience than Penny’s, I had known love and family from my adoptive parents and family. It would never be my intention to usurp Penny’s, or my brother, Beauregard’s (Bo’s), place in their family particularly with their mother (Viola).
I am happy to say that if Penny ever had such feelings, she hid them well. Her love for me gushed over in our first meetings so strongly that I hardly knew what to do with it. She would sit right next to me, staring and staring- measuring and comparing our features, I’m sure. She rubbed and patted my arm and hand closest to her repeatedly. I’m not sure if she was trying to console me for what she may have considered ‘lost years’, reassuring me of her affection, or maybe just convincing herself that I was real. When she loosened up a bit, I found that she had the kind of humor I got, so our likeness was proving to go beyond hair, skin type, and eye-color.
Although she may have kept some things from me, as I did her, she was very honest about the things most important in our budding relationship at the time. She told me how she had known about me for many years and had even attempted to find me. She even contritely confessed how, in frustration and before her walk with Christ, she had gone to a ‘palm reader’ to attempt to find me. Of course, that was a dead end as well. Over time, Penny revealed small tidbits about Viola, of which I am grateful because it opened some doors of conversation with Vi about her life that she was very reluctant to share at first. I tried hard not to be nosey or interfering in our conversations, instead I, allowed Penny, Vi, Bo, and others to share as they felt comfortable.
What I found was that, for the most part, they wanted to know all about me. I couldn’t tell them enough and usually came away feeling I’d told too much. Whether I did or didn’t, I will never know because they never changed their feelings towards me. In this way, God, once again, allowed me to experience the feeling of unconditional love. Even while I am writing about these things, I grow hungry to go see all of them again and especially put my arms around my little sister, Penny.
Penny- who loved me without reserve, and loved my birth mother to her grave. Penny- who sat with Vi day after day during her battle with cancer. Penny- who held Vi by the hand as she made the decision to rededicate her life to God. Penny- fragile like a child in some ways, and strong like a rock in others. Oh yes, God is good. Don’t ever doubt it. Penny was an unexpected joy, and if I had found only her instead of my mother at my search’s end, my fullness of joy would have only been a millimeter of a fraction less. Penny would have made sure of that.
Current posts tell the chronological story of Cindy’s search. (Names, places changed for family privacy.) Get up to date by clicking here, then read the posts in order, beginning at the bottom of the page. It is the author’s hope that readers find encouragement, inspiration and knowledge for their own journey.