So, growing up I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by cousins. And I’m even more lucky in the fact that two of my cousins are my age (one is 6 months older, the other only 2) and one is a year younger. As we’ve grown up, the cousins on the one side and I just grew apart for various reasons. And on the other side, we never saw each other because my uncle, their father, was a preacher who always had to move and he took them to the other end of the state when we were still pretty young. Two of these cousins (there were three in all) are the ones that are my age and a year younger. And they just so happen to be adopted. Now I knew this my entire life – it was hard not to since we’re a bunch of lily white (okay, not really lily for everybody – but I am!) Germanic/Irish/Scotch/European people and they are beautifully dark skinned, dark eyed, and dark haired. It’s impossible not to know, and you know what? It didn’t matter, except for bragging rights at school. “You’ve only got cousins that look like you? Well, I’ve got two cousins who were adopted!” They were a point of pride. And the older of the two and I were both about two years old when they were adopted, so I don’t actually remember a time in my life before them. Sure I remember things that my Momma says is from before they got here, but I don’t actually remember it as “before”.
So, as the years went by with them so far away and us getting into high school and then graduating, we just grew apart. And recently, a wonderful thing happened. Facebook. Because of Facebook, I was able to reconnect with my family that’s now spread all over the US. And with that, came reconnecting with my adopted cousins. And especially my cousin V (her privacy, I’m not spreading her around like I did the hubby). She’s got a little boy who is just precious! But lately, we’ve started talking on the phone (well, through texts) and it’s great. We’re actually getting to know each other. And she lives in NC! A bit of a drive from where we’re going to be, but it’s close enough that we’ll visit back and forth because we want to. I’ve missed her and her brother over the years, missed having them around. And this way, my kids can grow up knowing an important part of my family. There’s a lot of hard stuff that we have to talk about, the kind of skeletons that a lot of families have but that kids aren’t supposed to know. It’s hard, but I’ve been lucky. I’ve got my beautiful husband who has saved me from what those secrets have done to me. I get the feeling that V didn’t have anybody to save her. Josh saved me from my destructive path early – I was 20. V seems to have barely started on her road to recovery and she’s nearly 24. Maybe I can help her find some peace. Maybe – as likely – my sister can help, too, since she understands a little better some of the problems facing V. But I want to get her that help. She’s a beautiful young woman who seems to have a man who loves her and, like I said, a precious little boy. And she’s my family. She’s not my blood, but she is. I say that she is and people remind me that she isn’t because she’s adopted. But, hey, I’m sure there was a time we bled on each other growing up. Good enough for me. And good enough for me to want her to find peace.
She’s asked me about Paganism, and I’ve given her the link to my other blog where I talk about what my beliefs are. I don’t convert and I made sure to tell her that. But if finding Paganism, finding the Goddess and seeing a new face of the God (since her father is a preacher), helps her find peace, I’ll teach her everything I know and do everything in my power to find her other people to teach her. I’ve already told her to talk to our grandmother and to my big sister, she says she’s gonna call them both tomorrow. Maybe between us all, and with the help of her brother that’s my cousin and her two brothers that she recently met that I’m looking forward to getting to know, we’ll be able to help her find some peace in her life. I won’t ask her to forgive and I think only a fool forgets or pretends to forget something that hurt. That’s like forgiving fire for burning you and then forgetting that it did. No, I say let go – whether you can actually forgive or not – and find peace in your life and file the memory away so that it doesn’t overwhelm your life. Let’s just hope I can help.