Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, but still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, you didn’t grow under my heart but in it. – Fleur Conkling Heyliger
This quote was a fixture of my childhood. It hung in my room growing up, and when my mother spoke at my wedding reception, it was part of her speech. I never questioned where I belonged in my family — I was meant to be in this big pile of crazy. That never stopped me from thinking “but what am I?”
When I found myself with a little fun money recently, I decided the time had come to find out what my ancestry is and maybe answer the question of why I have dark skin and dark eyes but a ton of freckles. Was this going to be a life-changing moment? Probably not. But when I sent my little vile of spit off to the people in science land, I couldn’t help but be a little nervous.
As a child, my adoption was never a secret. I’ve known as long as I can remember — it was just a small piece of my puzzle. I was told my birth mother was Lebanese. This was nice to know because my Mom is Lebanese and it never occurred to me to say anything other than “I’m Lebanese, like my mom,” because I am. I am the same as my cousins, my aunts, my uncle, and my Nana. Even if I didn’t share their blood, I was one of them. My birth father was ‘”light skinned with light eyes,” which basically means I blend in with my Dads Irish/French family just swell. I will never get tired of hearing how much I look like my dad or my cousins; it only reaffirms that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.
After what seemed like an eternity, I got the email I had been waiting for. This was it. I’d finally know what my background is; where my ancestors came from. I held my breath and opened it up. At that moment I laughed so hard I almost woke the baby. It’s official: I’m 67% Irish/British and 23% Lebanese. I am almost a direct match for my family. These are officially my people. I am one of them, even if sometimes I may not want to claim a certain few.
While I didn’t get the life-changing results I may have secretly longed for, I now have the solid knowledge to tell my children where their ancestors came from. I will tuck this information away and move on. This experiment in DNA made me realize one important thing: as cheesy as it may sound, shared genes do not make a family. Love does, and in this group, there is never a lack of love.
One of these things is not like the others...
but it’s not me!