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Adoption, Family

Full Circle

What a day it was yesterday!

I’m still pinching myself after meeting a bunch of cousins, cousins-in-law and an aunt and uncle at the BBQ my brother, Chris, and his wife, Jill, hosted to introduce me to everyone.

It was an amazing day — picture-perfect weather and lots of fun. My mind is racing as I try to take it all in, and I expect I will be off-kilter all week as I try to process the information, the people, the outpouring of affection I was so fortunate to experience.

More than 40 people turned out for the party, several families making treks from far away. The guests included some of Chris’ friends, to whom he introduced me with great pride.

My first mother, Pat, couldn’t wait to make introductions as guests arrived. “This is my daughter,” she said each time before quickly motioning to Catherine and adding, “And this is my granddaughter.”

Several relatives brought family photos to show me. One cousin and his wife made copies of a bunch for me and others to take home, and spent time before guests arrived explaining who was in the pictures.

Cousin-in-law Maggie tearfully gifted me a Hummel figurine that had belonged to my grandmother. The little girl depicted is holding a daisy; ironically, the name on the base is “First Bloom.”

Maggie explained that several years ago, Grandma Clark asked her and my cousin Michael to choose three figurines for their own. They gave one to another relative some time ago, and Maggie wanted me to have one as well.

It was one of many wet-eyed moments that day, perhaps the biggest being when I finally met Aunt Florence, the first family member I contacted back in January when I couldn’t reach Pat.

Turns out, Flo has witnessed both ends of the timeline.

Pat stayed with Flo and Flo’s husband, Bob, in California for a while when she was expecting me. And Flo was the final link, connecting Pat and I at last. We both burst into tears as soon as we caught sight of each other.

Uncle Bob later reminded me that I had been a guest in his home once already, and said he hoped he would see me again soon.

And while there were emotional moments, the afternoon and late into the night were mostly filled with laughter and stories. I learned about Pat’s parents, grandparents and siblings. Treasured family anecdotes were unwrapped for my benefit. I was able to watch siblings and cousins tease each other as they have many times before.

Catherine bonded with Rebecca, a cousin who shares her birthday. Driving home, she said she can’t wait to see Rebecca again.

Basil, too, had a good time. Chris marveled over breakfast today that Basil was so comfortable talking with a back yard full of strangers.

Of course there were pictures, some candid and a whole sitting where Chris’ friends generously took turns handling everyone’s cameras while we attempted to organize ourselves.

Here’s the group:


Here we are a little more organized (love the friend’s kid photo-bombing us) I don’t have it on my camera, but there is also one of these with Basil stretched out on the grass in front of us.


Here I am with Pat:


And here with Chris and Pat:


Here’s Pat and Catherine:


Just the cousins:


And here are the cousins-in-law (Basil was causing trouble trying to swap the name tags)


And here is Catherine with Laura, the adopted daughter of my cousin, Susan, and her husband, John.

Catherine and Laura

Cousin Florrie’s husband, Eddie, was one of several people to thank me for finding the family.

When I explained that I was compelled to search, he and Florrie said, “You complete us, too.”

About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.


20 thoughts on “Full Circle

  1. Cool pictures, looks like everyone had a good time. I’m a bit confused by the post it sounds like these are people you never knew? No doubt there’s a background story here that eluded me. I assume this was a family reunion? Congrats on being a highlighted blog.

    Posted by Sandy | June 30, 2013, 11:01 am
    • Hi Sandy:
      These are, in fact, relatives I have just met. I am an adoptee who found my birth mother and discovered two half-brothers in January. This post describes the “meet-the-family” BBQ my brother, Chris, threw in my honor.

      Others posts in the “adoption” category describe my journey, if you’d like more background.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Posted by Terri S. Vanech | June 30, 2013, 11:08 am
  2. What a beautiful story you shared! I think it’s wonderful to find connection :).

    The Wondering Brain

    Posted by Jessica | June 27, 2013, 8:15 pm
  3. Terri,
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful outcome. It gives hope to all of us who are searching in one form or another. It brought tears to me eyes. Wonderful.

    Posted by Mary O'Shea from Adoption DNA @ Yahoo group | June 24, 2013, 10:06 am
  4. Oh, goodness! You got me with, “This is my daughter …” Had to reach for the tissues! lol
    Every day brings joy and confirmation of why I am so committed to helping people find their families. Thank you!
    Lovin’ hugs to you and Pat and Aunt Flo, especially!

    Posted by Priscilla Sharp | June 24, 2013, 8:28 am
  5. THIS is your story. The book — you must write a book! — begins with this scene. It is a very happy outcome, at a time when people are all looking for happy outcomes. Congratulations, Terri — and all of you who have found one another.

    Posted by Bill | June 23, 2013, 5:59 pm
  6. fran and i thank you so much for sharing this wonderful day with us. we are so happy for you and your old and new families…at the end of a decade-long search and the start of a lifetime having two families to share. you can count on basil to be comfortable with a bunch of strangers as long as he has a brewski in his hadski! good for all of you. big hugs to the extended vanech clan

    Posted by Bob Dorf | June 23, 2013, 5:49 pm
  7. I’m glad that it turned out so well! You look so happy in your photos πŸ™‚

    Posted by Foodie in WV | June 23, 2013, 5:05 pm
  8. So lucky and so beautifully shared. A long time in the making… but know you will all make up for the lost time. πŸ™‚

    Posted by Susanne Peterson Larkham | June 23, 2013, 4:58 pm
  9. Thank you for highlighting my post!

    Posted by Terri S. Vanech | June 28, 2013, 6:31 pm


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