DNA Kit – My Birthday Gift

 

For my 58th birthday last month my youngest daughter, Melinda, gave me a DNA kit from AncestryDNA!

You see, I was adopted when I was 5 days old…my adoptive Mom and Dad brought me home straight from the hospital in Chicago, IL to my brother who had been adopted from another family 6 months before…he was almost 3 years old at the time.

Here’s the Readers Digest version of my life so we can get right to the DNA test and my results…

My {adoptive} parents separated when I was 6 months old.  My brother stayed with my Dad in Morris, IL and I, being an infant and all, went with my Mom to my Aunt’s house in Virginia, IL for awhile.  I never knew I had a brother until I was 10ish – my Mom had told me I was adopted when I was around 8.

As time went on, I finally did meet my brother and my Dad (I’ll dispense with the “adoptive”… at this point they are my family!) and we had a long distance relationship.  My Dad passed away in 2007 and you can read all about him here.  My Mom passed away in July of 2018.

So….on to the birthday gift…

Ever since my three daughters were young they have always wanted me to find my birth family.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “I just want to know what your real Mom looked like”!  Of course I always wondered about them – did I look like them?  And of course I always wondered about my medical history too, especially now that I am getting older!

About 15 years ago I wrote to the Cook County Illinois Department of Vital Statistics to see about getting any non identifying information (in 1961 adoptions were “top secret”, not open like they are today) and the only information they gave me was that both of my biological parents were 16 and I was the first child for both of them.  That’s it.  That’s my family “history”. Until last week!

I mailed my DNA to Ancestry on February 26th and got text messages when they received it, started processing it, and then finally when it was done on March 17th I got an email!  I was about to cook breakfast before we headed out to church and I couldn’t believe it!!  The results were finally here!  Did I have any biological relatives?  Should I message them if I did?  Would I even be able to find them?  Would they message me back?  Did they know about me?  Would they accept me?  There were soooo many thoughts running through my head.  The first thing I did was text my daughters in our group text…the results are here!  Well, the mass texting began!

When I finally got control of my senses, I looked at the results and the first match (after my middle daughter – she did hers in January) was a man named Daniel Tvrz.  My first thought was – thank God his name isn’t something common like John Smith!!!  How many of those would I have to go through to find the right one?  My second thought was thank God his last name is so unique!  So…I sent Dan a Facebook message before I went to church.

We were all soooo excited all day, waiting to here what Dan had to say!  Early that evening he sent a reply – I didn’t see it until about 7pm.  We “talked” for a little bit and he WAS the “right” Dan, my first cousin – his Dad and my biological Mom were brother and sister!  Dan gave me his number so I called and we talked on the phone for a bit.  Another huge blessing is that Dan is a genealogy guru so I had tons of family history in minutes!  This was soooo much more than I ever could have imagined!!

Dan told me that I had a sister and 2 brothers in Morris, IL (where my adoptive Dad was from!), and then he contacted my sister, Trudi Tvrz, that night and she messaged me the next day!!  A sister!!!!  I had a sister!!!  And TWO brothers!  Trudi and I have been chatting on messenger for the past week…getting to know each other and she has been a huge help in helping me learn more about our Mom. Hopefully Trudi and I will get to meet soon!!!!

Sadly, my “real” Mom (as my girls would say when they were young) passed away in 2015 but Trudi and Dan have sent me many photos of her and I am learning more and more about her.   I have said my entire life that I am so grateful to her for putting me up for adoption rather than choosing abortion!!!  What a responsible decision for a 16 year old.  I applaud her for that and wish I had been able to tell her.

My Mother, Delores Tvrz Phillips

    

 

I also have 2 awesome 2nd-ish cousins that I have chatted with, Dan’s daughters – Bridgette and Kristina!  They have been so sweet and encouraging!  One day we are gonna do a road trip to TX to meet Dan and his family!

So….there you have it!!  My family.  People that look like me.  People that have the same DNA.  Until last week, the only people I knew that looked like me and had the same DNA were my 3 daughters and 5 grandkids!   I couldn’t be happier that my family has exploded into a huge, loving, family in the past week!  God is good y’all…God is so very good!

Until next time….

~Blessings

Heather

 

 

A Father’s Influence

In reading my devotional this morning from InTouch Daily Devotions titled “A Father’s Influence”,  I was instantly flooded with emotions and memories and I knew immediately that those thoughts and memories would become this post.  I normally just share my underlined devos on Facebook, but this one needed special attention!

Daughters need their Dads.

As a Mom of 3 girls – now grown women – and also a woman that was raised without a Dad, I have a little bit of insight on how much a Dad {or lack of a “present” one} has an acute impact on daughters!

Most Dads have no idea how much of an impact they make on their daughters – not just in the early years, but especially long-term into adulthood!  A woman’s self-worth plays such an important role in choosing a boyfriend and then a husband, one who will eventually be their child’s Daddy!

Here is a little back story….

Being raised without a father in my life didn’t affect me at all…or so I thought!  Looking back, after much soul searching and some counseling, I know now that having a completely absent father formed my vision on what type of man I would date, who I chose to marry, and how I thought I should be treated as a woman.  It also left me emotionally crippled – not knowing how a man is supposed to treat a woman –  and with no male influence, I felt like a flailing fish out of water when it came to relationships with men.

After many “boyfriends” in high school (promiscuity is another trait of being fatherless), I chose who I believed to be the right one to marry – or more specifically, the one that would be a great husband and father.  I was married at 17 – 4 months pregnant.  He was 18.  Thankfully, he was a good husband and a great father…and then suddently, without warning, he had an “indiscretion” while away going to an Air Force training school.  I was crushed – my heart is still wounded to this day.  Then 5 years later, I did the same.

After almost 16 years of marriage, we were calling it quits.  It was mainly my decision – I just couldn’t get past the fact that he had cheated on me all those years ago…after 10 years of marriage and 3 little girls, I wasn’t good enough any more (there is that self-esteem issue that being fatherless can fuel).  We had been high school sweethearts, we had that pure and innocent love.  We were going to beat the odds of a teenage marriage.  What happened?

Our lives changed…our thoughts changed.  But I believe that our love never changed.  It just got sidetracked.  Sidetracked by work, sidetracked by his studying (he was getting a nursing degree via night school), sidetracked by his second job (to pay for that college degree), and sidetracked by our outside friendships.  All of those were players in our marital demise.

I made the decision to leave.  It was my choice.  In his eyes, I’m the “bad guy” – to this day, 26 years after our divorce.  Thankfully, my girls and I have the closest relationship that daughters can have with their Mom.  We have been a “package deal” since I left their Dad.  I have apologized to them for taking them away from him.  Now that they are married and moms, they understand better.

Was leaving him the wrong choice? Yep, it was a mistake.  He was a great guy…a good Dad…a good husband.  We just grew apart.  Do I regret that decision?  I can’t.  I wouldn’t have the 5 precious grandkids that I have now if that decision hadn’t been made.  I also wouldn’t be the strong, independent woman that I am now and my daughters wouldn’t have grown into the women they are today!  I’m so very proud of them – shameless props for my girls right there 🙂

Divorce Magazine is an awesome resource and has a great articles….here are a few snippets from one of their articles…


Without Shared Parenting, a Divorced Dad’s Relationship with his Daughter May Suffer

In a divorced family, there are many ways a father-daughter bond may suffer. Based on her research, Dr. Linda Nielsen found that only 10 to 15% of fathers get to enjoy the benefits of shared parenting after divorce. Nielsen posits that while most daughters are well adjusted several years after their parents’ divorce, many have damaged relationships with their fathers. Unfortunately, if the wound is severe, a girl can grow into adulthood with low self-esteem and trust issues.

What a girl needs is a loving, predictable father figure – whether married to her mother, single, or divorced. Joshua Coleman, Ph.D., a recognized expert on parenting, explains that one of the predictors of a father’s relationship with his children after divorce is the mother’s facilitation or obstruction of the relationship. It’s crucial that divorced dads attempt to forge positive relationships with their ex because it will benefit their daughter to see them communicating in a harmonious way.

Another snippet says…

Since a daughter may perceive limited contact with her divorced dad as a personal rejection, this can lead to lowered self-esteem and trouble trusting romantic partners during adolescence and adulthood. Be sure to spend time with your daughter on a regular basis and find activities to do together that you both enjoy. These might include hobbies, sports, exercise, and cooking.  Additionally, be sure to enlist her input and surprise her with outings that you can enjoy away from other family members.

Read the complete article here.


 

I say all of that to say this…daughters NEED their Dads!!!  Desperately!  Fathers, and the relationship they have with their daughter, is the MAIN deciding factor in how a woman learns to embrace their confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth!

Two of my daughters came through our divorce with less scars than their sister.  Even though they are all in their late 30s/40ish, the relationship they each have with their Dad is somewhat strained…but it is {thankfully} better now than when they were younger – only with the help of Jesus!  One daughter of mine is painfully in need of her Daddy.  The daddy she had when she was a little girl…because that little girl still lives inside her and craves the approval, validation, and unconditional love of her Dad.  That little girl hasn’t healed.  Without full reconciliation with her Dad, and all the important things that come along with that, my little girl’s emotions and heart will never heal.  For years I have prayed for all of them – and their Dad – that their relationships will be fully and finally restored!

There are limitless articles and studies online of  how desperately daughters need their father’s love, attention, acceptance, guidance, encouragement and more!

If you are the child/adult child of divorce –  there is help out there!  Please seek out a counselor if you need to!

If you are a divorced parent, here are some great guidelines to follow courtesy of Divorce Magazine

  1. Never disparage your former spouse in front of your children. Because children know they are “part mom” and “part dad,” the criticism can batter the child’s self-esteem.
  2. Do not use your children as messengers between you and your former spouse. The less the children feel a part of the battle between their parents, the better.
  3. Reassure your children that they are loved and that the divorce is not their fault. Many children assume that they are to blame for their parents’ hostility.
  4. Encourage your children to see your former spouse frequently. Do everything within your power to accommodate the visitation. (my note:  this is EXTREMELY important!!!!!)
  5. At every step during your divorce, remind yourself that your children’s interests-not yours -are paramount, and act accordingly. Lavish them with love at each opportunity.
  6. Your children may be tempted to act as your caretaker. Resist the temptation to let them. Let your peers, adult family members, and mental health professionals be your counselors and sounding board. Let your children be children.
  7. If you have a drinking or drug problem, get counseling right away. An impairment inhibits your ability to reassure your children and give them the attention they need at this difficult time.
  8. If you are the non-custodial parent, pay your child support. The loss of income facing many children after divorce puts them at a financial disadvantage that has a pervasive effect on the rest of their lives.
  9. If you are the custodial parent and you are not receiving child support, do not tell your children. It feeds into the child’s sense of abandonment and further erodes his or her stability.
  10. If at all possible, do not uproot your children. Stability in their residence and school life helps buffer children from the trauma of their parents’ divorce.

 

That’s it for now y’all…thanks for listening     Image result for heart clipart

Blessings ~

Heather