Hoping to meet her

As many of you read my blog the past couple of days you know what has happened.  Well, I have learned more about what happened all those years ago.  But on a great note, my little sister wants to meet me!  I will discuss that later in the post.

As it turns out, my bio-mom actually had a relationship with my bio-dad.  She was in college at the time and he was one of her professors.  Oops.  The story that is being told to me was that he told her that he loved her, would always be there for her, and wanted to take care of her.  Up until she got pregnant.  That is when he told her he would take her to the hospital and pay for the abortion.  She refused, so here I am today.  From my understanding she basically had to hide from him out of fear.  So, she hid out in a battered woman’s shelter until I was born.

Now, fast forward many years.  Bio-grandmother lied to me about me causing problems between her and her husband.  Bio-mom’s husband still doesn’t know about me, she never told him.  So, I am the big dark secrete.  I told my little sis to not tell her dad as it could really cause more problems and I don’t want that.  I have her and that is all that matters to me.

Bio-mom has turned the boys all against me, telling them that I am a drug addict just looking for money to buy more drugs.  I guess she forgot how to be a good Catholic and not break the 10 Commandments, thou shall not bear false witness.  Seriously though, if I were a drug addict, I wouldn’t be this overweight.  Also, I am allergic to opiates.  We found out the hard way when I was in the hospital.  They gave me a morphine shot and the next thing I knew I couldn’t breathe and was in more pain than I came in with.  Happened again at another hospital with a different pain medication.  I am also allergic to codeine.  Even better, the smell of marijuana makes my throat swell.  So, I will stick to wine.

So, all the boys are freaking out about me, thinking I am some terrible person.  It’s OK though.  I am really not going to let it bother me.  Little sis is not buying into bio-moms lies and we are still talking on the phone and over Skype.  I have a US phone number so it is easy to call each other.  She sent me a friend request on Facebook and I waited for her to mention me on her page before I said anything or commented on any of her posts.  I let her make the first move there since she does have other family members on there.  She is a very smart lady studying law, raising a beautiful son, and doing it all on her own.  What a strong young lady.

My little sister is considering joining the military, but isn’t sure yet.  We both have a very military family, both of her parents were in and so was I.  I would like to see her as soon as possible.  I need to go before winter, as I only have two sweaters and one pair of jeans, I don’t want to freeze to death.  But I need help getting up there.  My husband and I just had to redo our entire septic system for our house and we are still paying for that.  We live on a small pension and wasn’t planning on this happening either.  I was hoping to buy the ticket soon before prices started going up.  I would like to go see her the last week of October as it would give me a lot of time to plan ahead.  I do have a go fund me page.  I have waited 40 years for this moment, and she has always wanted a sister.  Can you please help us to meet?  I just want to give her the biggest hug ever.

Thank you.  Pura Vida.

http://www.gofundme.com/hu2nann8

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A very emotional weekend

These past several days have had many ups and downs for me.  I have been overwhelmed with joy, then crying my eyes out, then overwhelmed with joy again.  Let me try to explain, as this is a little off the topic of living in Costa Rica, but some does relate.

At an extremely young age, 6 weeks to be exact, I was adopted.  I had always hoped to find my biological family and find out where I came from and why I was put up for adoption.  These are normal things that those of us who were adopted want to find out.  I do believe that there is a biological desire there in our DNA for us to try to connect with those that were are physically related to.  Not all of us feel this way though; it is more common for girls than boys to seek out the biological family.

When I was 21 years old I was pregnant with my daughter.  This stirred up a lot of emotions for me and got me to think about how I could try to locate my biological family.  Before this, I had no idea where to start and back then we didn’t have all the databases like we have now making it much easier to locate people.  There was no social media back then, if you needed to find someone you had better have some money to hire a private investigator.  But, with the help of my mother, the one who adopted me, we contacted Catholic Charities who I was adopted through.  I was told that I could submit a letter to my file and if my biological mother or father had submitted a letter they would then be exchanged.  They couldn’t tell me if a letter had been submitted, but they highly encouraged me to submit a letter.  So I did.  A little time went by and I got a letter in the mail, it was from my biological mother.  We exchanged letters that way for a while until she gave me the name and phone number of her sister and mother.  Then I was able to call them.

I met my biological mother’s sister and grandmother not long after my daughter was born.  It wasn’t the happy reunion that I was hoping for, like the ones you see on TV, but it was a reunion.  Lots of information was exchanged between us, my adoptive mother was there with me also.  We all had a nice lunch and went on our way.  I can tell you that my biological grandmother was extremely upset that I was not adopted by a Catholic family.  She stated that she wanted me to be raised by a Catholic family and they is why they went through Catholic Charities.  Well, I guess God had other plans for me.  I was told that my biological mother had several other children and they could not know about me until the youngest was of adult age, and in their family that was considered to be 21.

I would send letters to my biological mothers sister and then she would mail them to her.  I did this for a few years.  My biological mother did say that she hoped someday she could hold me again in her arms like she did when I was first born.  This meant so much to me.  Then I called my bio-grandmother one day to see how she was doing.  She then informed me that I needed to quit writing letters to my bio-mom as it was causing problems between her and her husband.  Her husband didn’t want her to have anything to do with me.  Whether this is true or not, I still don’t know yet.  So, I stopped sending letters.  I still tried to stay in contact with her, bio-grandmother, over the next few years, calling every so often just to check in so to speak.  That is when I found out that bio-grandma had a mini-stroke.  I never heard from her or my bio-moms sister after that.

Out of respect for the family, I waited, and I waited until I knew that the youngest child had at least reached the age of 21.  At this point in my life, life was happening.  I was going to school full time, and working full time.  I didn’t have time for anything else.  I was so focused on my studies that most other things fell into the background.  (Except my husband and child of course.)  The day I graduate college is the same day we got on a plane and moved to Costa Rica.  It was a very rough start down here.  For a long time we didn’t have internet at home.  So I would go to town and use it at one of the internet cafes.  I wouldn’t spend a lot of time there, just check in with friends and family to let them know that we were still kicking.

We have spent most of our time and money working on the house we bought.  It was a shell at first, but we turned it into a beautiful home and we still have work to do.  Finding my biological family has always been in the back of my mind, but I had no idea how to do it now.  I tried contacting Catholic Charities again, but got no where.  Then, the most amazing thing happened this year.  The state of Ohio unsealed the adoption records.

The major problem I had was trying to get a notary for signing the document for getting my original birth certificate.  US notaries are not an easy thing to get when you live in a foreign country.  I would have to make an appointment at the US Embassy here, travel all the way there, and then pay $50.  After that I would have to mail it to Ohio with a check or money order for $20.  Well, I don’t have a checking account here and I have never seen money orders here, not even sure if they would accept one from another country to begin with.  But I had another break-through.

I received a message on my Facebook from someone asking me about my brother.  He is my adoptive brother who I grew up with, so we are not blood related.  I spoke with person on the phone for a long time and got as much information from her as possible.  I spoke to her sister as well.  They were hoping that my brother was their biological brother.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t.  They were pretty devastated, especially the younger one who has been trying for 6 years to find her brother.  I know how they feel.

The lady that first contacted me about my brother told me of the person who was helping her, she was called a search angel.  She gave me her name and I went from there.  I contacted her and gave her as much information that I had.  My biological mother’s name, maiden and married name.  Her sisters name, the number of siblings that she had, how many children she had, and where she used to live.  I had more information also that I gave her.  It was in a matter of days that she had names for me, phone numbers, and addresses.  So I decided to try to reach out.  This way I could say that I at least tried.

I started off by sending messages via Facebook to find out if they were related to my biological mother.  I know these messages would go to the other box and may not be seen for a while.  I am one of those people who check that box often as I have people message me about living down here and about the immigration process for Costa Rica.  I then decided that I would try to call.  I did try the number that I was given for my bio-mom, but it was no longer in service.  I talked it over with my husband and we decided to give it a chance and to try the number of my bio-brother.  It worked!  I asked him several questions first to make sure that I had the right family.  I did.  I can’t imagine what was going through his mind when I told him that I was his biological sister.  They still had no idea about me.  We talked for a while, he asked me lots of questions which I was expecting, and he said he would have to think things over and call me next weekend.  I am OK with that.  I know that this is a lot to take in.  After all, in this day and age you never know who might be trying to scam you.  I told him that all I wanted was a chance to know him, nothing more.

I got up the next morning and found that he had blocked me on Facebook.  This devastated me to no end.  I spent all day crying my eyes out.  I was so depressed.  My poor husband didn’t know what to do for me, but he was there for me.  He held me and kissed me gently and gave me words of encouragement.  He did exactly what I needed him to do.  Then that night I got the call that I had been waiting for, the call of acceptance.

I had sent a message to my biological sister.  She seen it while she was at work and saw my picture.  Her co-workers even said that we look alike.  So she called me.  We had a very nice and long conversation about things.  It seems like we have a lot in common.  I don’t know how long we talked for, but I could have talked for hours.  She couldn’t believe how much we looked alike and how much I look like her (our) mother.  She said there was no denying it.  I was her sister!  She called me again later and told me that my bio-mom finally admitted that indeed, yes, I was her daughter that she had put up for adoption.  I have a beautiful sister that is very intelligent.  This makes me so proud.  I did find out about a few  more medical things in the family that explains a lot with me.  It seems that certain things really do run in the family.  But I can’t wait to find out more about her and I can’t wait to meet her.

A bit more to the roller coaster.  I got a call last night from another biological brother of mine.  He was not the nicest person, putting it very nicely.  Letting me know that I am nothing but a stranger to him and why would he want to know a stranger.  I kind of feel sorry for him in a way.  From the way he went off on me it seems like he has a lot of hate in his heart, a lot of anger.  An intelligent young lady once told me, a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.  I started to wonder how he ever made friends if he wants nothing to do with a stranger.  I find his reasoning difficult to understand, especially after living here for over four years now.  People here are extremely friendly and outgoing.  I walk down the street and as people walk by they say hello.  I walk into the supermarket and I am greeted with a smile, hello, and how are you.  I am often asked about my daughter and how she is doing.  I was at the clinic this morning and there was a little girl that I used to teach who told me hello, in English.  I have had kids that I taught run up to me and hug me and give me a kiss on the cheek while at the supermarket.  If you have met someone just once, the next time they see you they act as if they have known you for years.  But everyone has their own thing.  I guess I am just a people person, so living here is good for me.  I don’t like living in a bubble, I like to learn about people and cultures.  Maybe that is why I host people from all over the world in my home.  I will respect his decision of not wanting anything to do with  me.  It is not what I had hoped for, but at least I know.  I look forward to talking with my little sister again tonight.  I hope that my oldest brother will at least give me a chance now that he knows the truth.  I still have one more brother that I don’t know about, if he will or won’t.  Only time will tell.

So, I wish you all the best and enjoy each day and treat each other with love and kindness.  A smile could completely change someones day.  Until manaña, Pura Vida!

Homeless and Helpless

Two weeks ago my husband and I made a trip up to Nuevo Arenal.  It is a great little town, very beautiful, right along Lake Arenal.  It was about a two hour drive from where we live.  We dropped of two people who stayed with us for a few days in La Fortuna and then went on our way.

We drove all the way up there just to adopt a kitten.  Call me crazy, but I love animals.  We adopted a cute little black male kitten that is about 4 months old now.  We had originally named him Cotton because he was all black.  I have an all white cat named Coal and I used to have another all black cat named Snowball; I like opposite names.  I have since changed Cotton’s name to Pancake.  It just seems to fit him better.  He is such an adorable little guy with a very big purr.  He loves to play and cuddle and practice his pouncing at 3 in the morning on me while I am trying to sleep.  Needless to say I haven’t had much sleep in the past two weeks; but it is so worth it.  Almost reminds me of having a baby in the house, but not as much work.

The shelter I adopted him from is called Homeless and Helpless, they do have a webpage.  They need some help also.  Their vehicle has recently broken down and they can’t get it fixed.  They are taking a taxi, sometimes several times a day, to the vet and back.  They take several animals at a time, cats and dogs to the vet.  They really need a vehicle to be able to take care of the animals, to get them the medical care they need.  Many of the animals they take in are street animals that have been abandoned and left to fend for themselves.  They have several people that foster animals for them and they pay for that.  It can get really expensive for them and they rely completely on donations; there is no governmental help with this at all.  If you can make a donation, even a small one it would be greatly appreciated.  They spay and neuter all the cats and dogs that come through their shelter so no one can breed them once they are adopted out.  They have a go fund me page that I will share the link to.  Tell them Pancake said thanks for helping all the homeless and helpless pets.

http://www.gofundme.com/znm5p8

Pancake

He looked flat as a pancake and that name just stuck with him.

He looked flat as a pancake and that name just stuck with him.

Racism

This can be a touchy topic for a lot of people.  There is a lot of talk about it in the US, so I thought I would let you know what it is like down here based on my experiences.  Now, when people look at me they think I am a local.  I have natural black hair, brown eyes, and a natural tan.  I don’t like a normal white girl at all.  But I have seen and heard things that make people wonder and question how race is perceived here.

Racism does happen, there is no denying it, it happens everywhere in the world.  I have friends here who don’t like black people, they let me know that.  We were riding in a taxi one day and our friend was driving, we saw a black guy walking down the street and his reaction was, “Ugh, negro.”  You could tell by the look on his face that it wasn’t a good thing.

The culture down here can be a little different also when it comes to referring to someone by their race.  I spent 6 days in the hospital here and had a few black nurses there.  There was this one nurse who was black, extremely nice, and a wonderful nurse, but the other nurses would just call her, “Negrita.”  I guess if I tried to translate it to what they meant it would mean something along the lines of little black girl.  (Negrita is just little black.)  But they didn’t mean it to be anything bad, they were just calling for her.  If it bothered her she didn’t show it or let them know.

Now, if you go the east side of the country, you have a huge Caribbean influence.  There you will see more people of African decent.  The food can be different, the music, the whole atmosphere is different.  It is almost like going to another country.  If it wasn’t for everyone speaking Spanish you could forget that you are in Costa Rica and think you were on an island.

Now when it comes to racism against Gringos.  Gringo is not a derogatory term here either, it is just their way of saying either North American or European.  Again, I haven’t experienced this because I blend in.  My husband has a little but not much.  His biggest problem here is that he is half deaf and has had a very difficult time trying to learn Spanish.  We have tried many programs for him to learn but he just can’t hear them well enough.  Usually once I tell people that he has tried and that he has hearing problems, they are pretty cool with him.  A lot of people here think that just because you are from the US or Europe it means you have money.  I know we don’t have a lot of money.  So some places will try to Gringo price you.  Always take a local with you if you are unsure about the price on something.  The most this happens is when it comes to buying property or land.  Shop around.  The real estate market here is all sorts of jacked up.  I have seen nice homes sell for very little and complete dumps listed for an outrageous amount.  From my experience most people don’t mind Gringos, they like us to spend our money here for one thing and I can’t blame them; it’s good for business.  But there are always a few that will not welcome us, that is to be expected anywhere though.  In my town, we are part of the community, they know us, and they like us.  We treat them with respect and they do the same in return.

Asian people.  If you are from anywhere in Asia, or have an Asian background, you will be called Chinese.  Don’t take offense to this.  When they look at you and say Chino or China, it is their way of saying Asian.  It doesn’t matter if you are from Thailand or Cambodia, they will call you Chinese.  It doesn’t matter how many times you try to correct them either.  You will only frustrate yourself.  Just go with it.

I haven’t heard of anything bad happening just because of race.  No shootings, murders, muggings, just because someone is a different color.  But if you are pale you are more likely to get pulled over by the police.  So, all in all it’s not so bad when it comes to race.  If anything I think the tensions are less here than in the US, but we still have a long ways to go yet.  Just give people a chance, smile, be polite, and don’t take offense.  Until manaña, Pura Vida!