My mind was a blank slate regarding my birth siblings. Born of the same mother, as far as I knew our resemblance would end there. Before we met, my half-sister, Penny and I began to correspond. Her writing blessed me beyond belief with welcome. I was not too nervous over meeting her, but church family experiences had conditioned me to expect jealousy to raise its dirty head after the initial welcome.
Unfortunately human nature tends to fear loss of position, friendships and even love when ‘newbies’ come on scene. Such fear is often sub-conscious but may be evidenced by negative, self-protective reactions. Having learned this, I put myself, as much as possible, into Penny’s shoes and wondered if she ever feared my 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), places in their family-particularly with their mother.
I am happy to say that if Penny ever had such feelings, she well-hid them. Her love gushed over me 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’, reassure me of her affection, or maybe just convince 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 and 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, but instead, 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. But whether I did or did not I suppose I’ll never know because they never changed towards me. In this way, God once again allowed me to experience the feeling and blessing of unconditional love. And even in the telling of these things, I grow hungry to go see them all 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. Penney, who held Vi by the hand as she made the decision to rededicate her life to God. Penney-fragile in some ways like a child and strong in so many ways like a rock. 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 been only a millimeter of 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.