Reconnecting with my sister

I think I confuse people sometimes because I talk about how I was only child for 25 years and then I mention my 20-something sister who lives in Indiana.

I’m being truthful on both accounts. My mom had her tubes tied when I was a newborn because of the chemotherapy. My dad and step-mom struggled to have kids for many years before finally having my little sister when my daughter was 5 months old.

But my mom was also a foster parent for a couple of years. Gayle was 3 years older than me and a bit wild. She was only with us for a couple of months. LaTasha and LeAnna were sisters, one a year younger than me and the other 3 years younger. They were only with us for a couple of months as well. I don’t know the whole story about any of them . . . and my mom’s no longer here to tell it.

Sister 1Donna came to live with us when she was about 9 months old. I was 8. I remember her first birthday. I remember her learning to talk. I remember her calling my mom “mommy.” I remember fighting with my mom to push the stroller. I remember the pink bows my mom put on her head so people would know she was a girl despite her baldness. And I remember the day she left about 10 months later.

My mom stopped fostering after Donna left. She didn’t think she could handle the heartbreak again.

I would love to find Gayle, LaTasha, and LeAnna, but I have nothing more to go on than approximate ages and first names. It was different with Donna. Not only did I know her last name before she was adopted, but for many years as a child, I was good friends with her biological sister and I knew where her biological grandmother lived at that time.

I decided to take the chance one morning that her grandmother never moved. I put my daughter in the stroller and headed to the train. About 2 hours later, I stepped off a bus in my old neighborhood and started walking, heart pounding in my chest. I knocked on the door and a lump grew in my throat as her grandmother answered.

We exchanged pleasantries and I explained why I was there. I asked if she was still in contact with Donna and she told me she was, but that she goes by Chris, short for Christine, now. My daughter and I went inside and we caught up. I left my phone number and she promised to pass it along.

I walked back to the bus stop with a huge smile spread across my face. I spent years dreaming of finding her. I imagined a long, arduous search. I could barely believe it was that simple.

SisterI think it was the next night that my phone rang, showing an out-of-state area code. I answered and for the first time in 17 years, I talked to my sister. We talked for a couple of hours that night . . . catching up on, well, our whole lives. I told her that my mom would be thrilled to know her now.

Because we live states away from each other, Chris and I haven’t been able to reunite in person, but social media has kept us in regular contact with each other. We’ve gotten to know each other and reform a bond from many years ago.

She doesn’t remember me from her childhood. She doesn’t remember calling me Da-dawl. She doesn’t remember walking around in my sneakers or throwing tantrums if my mom paid more attention to me or playing peek-a-boo in the coat closet or screaming and keeping me up all night or any number of things I will never forget. She was too little to remember. But I remember.

We’ll meet in person again one day. I have no doubt about that. But for now, I’m just grateful to be reconnected with my sister.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Karen on January 12, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    I live about 10 minutes from your sister I think. So glad you found each other.

    Reply

  2. Such a sweet story! 🙂 I’m glad you were able to find your sister and hope you are able to find the others! I don’t think I ever had read about her mother being a foster parent. That’s a very special job and your mom had to have been such a GREAT woman for doing that! 🙂

    Reply

    • Thanks! A part of me will always hope to find Gayle, LaTasha, and LeAnna, but I know it’s a huge long shot.

      My mom always wanted to have more kids, but they told her the odds of complications after the chemo would be too high, so she had her tubes tied. I can’t imagine knowing at 17 that you’ll never have more kids. I’m grateful she decided to foster . . . I’ve thought about it from time to time, but, like my mom after my sister left, I wonder if I could handle the loss.

      Reply

  3. Very cool, Dayle. Glad you were able to reconnect. . . and so easily, by all appearances. 🙂

    Reply

  4. […] My little sister is only 8 years old and my other sister lives states away and I haven’t seen her in person since she was 2 ½ years old. So I don’t […]

    Reply

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