30 Years of Waiting for My Mom's Birth Parents - Part 8
These articles have detailed a lot of my journey in finding my mother's birth family. This next section will discuss my first conversations with a confirmed biological relative, my mom's half- or full-brother, Michael. Michael is the confirmed son of Carlene and supposedly the son of Michael Sha****. (I have to say "supposedly" at this point because there appears to be room for error as to whom she reports as the father on birth certificates.)
Contacting Michael Sha****, My Uncle
I waited until just after the Christmas holidays (December 28) to reach out to my "new" uncle. Joseph, his brother, mentioned that he texted so I decided to feel out the situation by sending him a brief, no pressure, introductory text. I was nervous since texting had not worked out so well with my other "new" uncle in Arkansas.
I was pleasantly surprised to receive a message from him 20 minutes later! He was interested in knowing me and learning more about my journey! Another small miracle!
With respect to my new uncle's privacy, I will share some information that I think is relevant and interesting to this story without divulging too much.
- "I can tell you (at least by the pictures) that Alan is definitely my father's son. As for Kim, the pics he showed me weren't clear enough."
- Michael didn't think that his father knew about Alan or my mom.
- He had a hard time seeing the photos I sent via text so I committed to mailing him a packet of information.
- The last time Michael remembers seeing Carlene was when he was 4. It was wintertime and they were all building a snowman. He kept knocking off the arm and she kept putting it back on. She did not have any other kids with her, though Alan would have been 3 and my mom 2 at the time. (Obviously my mom was with my grandparents by then.)
- He sent me photos of his two children and granddaughter. I am older than both of his children by a few years.
- Michael had nothing but great things to say about who his father was as a person and how he took care of his family.
- He learned from his sister (after their father confided in her) that Mike came home and found Carlene in bed with another man. He took Michael out of his crib and left.
- When Michael was 4, Mike transferred to Spain for the military where he later met his second wife. Michael lived with his aunt for two years while Mike was gone.
- All of his childhood memories are of him and his father.
- He sent me a photo of him with his dad when he was 3 years old.
Just after the New Year I sent Michael a large packet of information. It contained all of the documentation I received from the state and the adoption agency, along with a copy of the Mom to Mom magazine I was featured in a few months prior. I also printed out all of the newspaper clippings and documents I found on Ancestry for both Carlene and Mike. Obviously, I had a lot more on Carlene than Mike. I also wrote in a lot of notes so that he would know what he was looking at.
I thought Michael might be interested in seeing some photos as well. I scanned many, many photos of my mom throughout her life and put them all into a Word document. I also included some photos of me, my sister, and my family. Finally, I included the 3 photos I had of Alan.
Michael's reaction to the packet made me very happy. He said he didn't have any questions because the packet and notes were so thorough. He said the research was amazingly detailed and enjoyed studying the photos. (Even now, 2 months later, he is still studying the photos based on our most recent conversations.)
Michael enjoyed the photo of Carlene in her wedding dress and said he would have liked to see his father in the photo, as well. I thought this was interesting because family members have said the same thing when I found old wedding announcements for other ancestors. I believe it was customary back then to only feature the brides in "society news." Very interesting.
On February 13 I had a major breakthrough! I was texting with Michael and he agreed to do a DNA test. It was the last day of a recent sale on Ancestry.com so I decided to take a chance and ask him if he would do it. I was overjoyed when he agreed!
I purchased the kit and had it delivered to him in Washington. Because he didn't have a computer, he sent me the unique identifier code and I created an account for him online and then set myself up as a manager. Obviously, I did this all with his permission and informed him of what I would be able to do and see with this access. I am so grateful that he was willing to do this and I think he is very excited to hear about the results. I told him that I would send him a packet of information again once I got the results.
Currently, we are in a holding pattern. Somehow Ancestry received Michael's kit in just two days - something I've never seen before with any of the many kits I have sent in. I mailed in my step-mom's kit from the other (closer) side of the country and it was received more than a week after Michael's. The kit is still processing and it is estimated that the results will be in on March 22. In my experience, the kits are usually ready early. Only once was the kit ready on the estimated date. Either way, I am counting down until March 22!
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