I think this happens to just about everyone: you’re out and about, maybe at the grocery store, at a sporting event, or at the airport. You’re minding your own business and going about your day when a stranger approaches you and says, “You look so much like my friend [insert name]. Are you related to [name]?”
Usually, you say, “oh! Uh… Crazy! No, I don’t know [name], but that’s so weird!” Then after you’ve talked with this stranger about their friend you’ve never met, yet strikingly resemble, you go about your day and continue on in your life.
Just now, I went through security at the airport and a TSA person walked over to me. My thought at first was, “oh great… I have to go get a pat down or they think I have some illegal chemical on the bottom of my shoe…”. Instead, she quietly says, “Excuse me… Hi! Do you have a sister that’s 24 that lives near here? You look so much like this girl I know.”
“Uhh… Well… I’m adopted so I don’t know… Maybe? You never know…” I respond as I mentally prepare myself to explain my adoption story– again, to a stranger, like I end up doing quiet often.
“Oh… Well you might be maybe… You look so much like her– it’s crazy! Sorry, I just had to ask you. You’re like the same height and your face is like exactly the same, except she looks maybe a year or two younger,” she explains. [The part that always stings now is the whole "year or two younger" part...]
“Well, you never know… That’s so weird,” I say as I put my shoes back on– oh and no pat down or shoe scan this time. We chat a moment and then go about our business and life goes on.
People talk about “six degrees of separation” or being related to someone distantly– the same way Ellen DeGeneres hoped she would be invited to Prince William and Princess Catherine’s wedding because they were 15th cousins or that George W. Bush is a distant cousin of Hugh Heffner. For me, if I see someone that I look like or get asked if I’m related to someone, I always wonder if I really am related to that person. I wonder if the little kid I run into at the grocery store is my brother, sister, or cousin. I wonder if that lady I see at the airport in her 40s is my aunt or something. Or in this case, is the TSA security guard’s friend my long lost 24-year-old sister that looks exactly like me, just a bit younger looking?
Well, Chris and I are headed up to Northern California to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families and this Thanksgiving, I am especially grateful for family, both known and unknown. I’m so thankful for a husband, parents, and extended family who have been there both for holidays and to support me in everything I do in my life, especially in beginning my search for my birth family. And again, I am thankful for my birth mother and relatives for their sacrifices and love that they gave me in order to have the life I have now. I couldn’t be here where I am today without my birth mother, first keeping me safe and alive I her tummy, and then giving me away out of love; and I wouldn’t be who I am today or where I am now if it weren’t for the family who filled my life with blessing after blessing of love, friendship, and joy.
Happy Thanksgiving and THANK YOU for your support!
(The photo is of Chris and I with our parents last year for Thanksgiving.)