It was July before my sophomore year at college. I was living in Columbia, Missouri working and trying to earn in-state tuition. I received a phone call from my parents while I was still at the gas station I worked at. They successfully made contact with my biological family for the first time, and were in the process of setting up a meeting. I grabbed a pen and a piece of receipt paper and jotted down all the information I heard them say. I finally had names, but my parents made me promise not to contact anyone until I met them in person the following week. “No Facebook, Robyn. Respect their space and just wait until you meet your birth mother first.”
I looked at my boss, a bald, rugged man with a mustache and tattoos all over. He could tell by the look on my face that something big had just happened. I tried explaining, but I was too excited and couldn’t quite make out the words to explain that I was adopted and may be able to meet my birth family for the first time. Instead of trying to make sense of it all, he told me he would close up shop, and let me go home early.
I got out my laptop and sat on a barstool in my kitchen, browsing Facebook and practicing the best self-control I could. I have a little brother. I typed in his name and a profile appeared of a teenager from my hometown. Not just from my hometown, but from my high school. I clicked on his page, and my jaw dropped. I saw me. It was the first time I saw my face in someone else’s. I clicked through his profile pictures and tried not to cry. I shouted for my roommate to come downstairs. I couldn’t do this alone. “Oh my God, Robyn,” she exclaimed, “that’s you. If you were a teenage boy, that would totally be you!! You definitely found him!” I was anxious and energized. Then a red notification popped up in my messages.
“Hey sis :)”
Those two words changed everything. It was him! He didn’t even know me, but he was calling me sister. I froze, staring at those two words and the smile that came after them. He made first contact, so surely I wasn’t breaking any rules by replying, right?
“This is amazing,” I wrote back. “I can’t wait to meet you.”
He told me he had no idea I existed until my parents called. I was afraid he would be angry, but miraculously, he wasn’t. He was excited to have a sister from both his mom and dad. I was his first full-blooded sibling.
The more we chatted, the more amazed I was. We went to the same high school. He was a freshman when I was a senior. We even had mutual friends. Imagine their faces when they find out. It was surreal.
I drove home a few days later to meet them. I met my birth mother first and she invited me over to her house the next day to meet my little brother and older half sister. When I pulled up to her house (which was just a little more than a mile away from the house I grew up in), I took in the exterior of the home. I imagined a little boy and his older sister playing in that front yard. I imagined what it would be like driving down that hill to the cul de sac and seeing kids playing in the street. When I walked into her living room, it was only natural to hug my brother and sister immediately. They both welcomed me with open arms. Do I even have to say that I cried?
My brother was tall and lanky. He had long hair that brushed his shoulders, and it was the same color my hair would have been had I not highlighted it. He wore a black band tee, ripped jeans and a hat with purple marijuana leaves all over it. He appeared fiercer than he actually was. His smile was warm and his hug was genuine. My sister was shorter and had dyed reddish hair that reached her shoulders. She wore a yellow shirt with a black cardigan. Her eyes squinted up when she smiled, like mine did. She was soft-spoken and so sweet. I saw my birth mom in both of their faces. I could see resemblances of myself in each of them, too. Standing before siblings that shared my genes was remarkable. Nature and nurture came to life.
My sister and I are emotional and empathetic. We’re acutely aware of others’ feelings. We share a passion for writing. She loves beer, and I love wine. My brother and I are free spirited. We share a knack for adventure and trying new things. He feeds off of adrenaline, and I thrive more when I know a likely outcome.
My older sister had seen me before. She was four when I was born, and remembered her mom being pregnant with me. She knew my name, and remembered when they received a couple letters from my parents when I was a child. When she went to high school, a friend of hers had a sibling that was in middle school. She decided to check the middle school yearbook and see if she could find my name. Sure enough, there I was. She took the book home and told my birth mother, “I found Robyn,” but our mother wasn’t ready to see me yet. It took nearly seven more years for her to be ready, just in time for that phone call from my parents.
My sister said she even saved our address once. When she got her driver’s license, she drove to our house and parked outside. She waited there for an afternoon, hoping to catch a glimpse of her baby sister. I never came outside. She went home and never mentioned it.
My little brother learned about me when my parents called a few days earlier. He’d heard his mom start crying, and sneakily picked up another phone to eaves drop. He said he didn’t know why they never told him about me before… he was thrilled to have another sibling. We were both blown away when we saw each other, too. He was a taller, masculine version of myself. Sometimes people tell us we could be twins.
It was hard at first when I realized I was the middle child that was placed for adoption. But over time, those sharp edges softened. I still love hearing stories of what it was like growing up with my birth parents as actual parents. I was raised by different people for complicated reasons, and I am comfortable with that. God’s plan didn’t look the same for my brother, my sister and me. But His plan brought us full circle to share the rest of our lives together, and that’s a miracle to me.
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