Today is September 11th. I think we all know what that means. It was an unforgettable day of horror, as the Twin Towers, that many of us New York City tourists once stood upon, crashed to the ground. There were of course other atrocities committed in conjunction with this act of terrorism. It goes without saying that many lives were lost and most of our lives were changed.

I remember that day 19 years ago like it was just yesterday, but I recently discovered from adoption records that September 11th was also the day I was separated from my birth mother 69 years ago. Naturally, I don’t remember any of the circumstances, but it was a day that had a profound influence on my life. The decision was made to move in different directions. Probably with good reason, she could not raise me as her own, and it became the adoption agency’s responsibility to find me a home. It turned out to have a happy ending for me.

About a month later, I had found the two people I will forever call “Mom and Dad.” They raised me as their own and gave me all the tools of life to succeed. On September 17th, six years ago, I lost my Mom, and a month later my Dad died. My birth mother, on the other hand, had four more kids that she raised after our separation. Two of them apparently died in the prime of their lives to a deadly disease. The other two were from different fathers, while their mother and my “bio-mom” is now 87. There has been no acknowledgement from any of them regarding my existence. I’m surprised they aren’t responsive or curious, but I’m not angry. Separation is to be respected. 

I’ve recently been reunited and in regular contact with a half-sister on my birth father’s side. This came about through DNA testing. It’s slowly becoming a close relationship, and makes me wonder if I should try harder to connect with my birth mother’s kids? In all, I’ve had ten half-siblings through my birth parents, but three have sadly died. I’ve met four of my bio-father’s offspring and will probably meet the fifth once we move to Florida. The one I stay in touch with, including a recent lunch, has become the clear “favorite.” However, I also have an adopted sister that I grew up with that might be offended if I start to determine any favorites. 

On a card I received for my recent birthday, it notes, “Here’s to Your Awesome Existence.” It is indeed awesome to consider how far I’ve come in these past 70 years of life. I’ve lost family and I’ve found new ones. Separation gave me opportunity, and I hope to continue to take advantage of the circumstances. I’d just like to say, “thanks for giving me life in the first place.”