Milkman’s Child – Chronicle – Rachel / Netherlands – France – Germany – New Zealand – Canada / Amsterdam – In the first part of this story, I wrote that I had looked through my mother’s address book just before Christmas in 2001 and found my biological father’s widow’s name and address in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I decided to take a chance and mail her a Christmas card. I enclosed a photo of me with my family. It was like putting a message in a bottle and tossing it into the ocean. Maybe the message would reach its destination – my biological family – and I would get a response, or maybe not.
I heard nothing until February 20, 2009. On that day, my husband received an email but it was intended for me. It said: “I am your half-sister from the Netherlands.” She gave my biological father’s name and asked me if I wanted to have contact. Her mother had died and she had found the Christmas card I mailed to her mother in 2001. My half-sister kept it. Just before she sent the email to my husband, she looked for me on the Internet and found me by using Google.
That day was four years ago. Tomorrow it will be February 20th. From now on, I mark that date. It was the date that my life changed dramatically. The door opened for contact with my biological family and it has been like a tsunami.
In the past four years, I have met many of the people I am related to by blood. They are in The Netherlands, France, New Zealand and Germany. I have taken four overseas trips and I have travelled tens of thousands of kilometres to meet as many of them as I could.
My biological father was one of ten children. I have now met the only two living siblings left, my uncle and my aunt. I now realize that I have over sixty cousins; I don’t even think I’ve found them all. Up until four years ago, I only had a handful of first cousins: nine, all in Germany.
Contact with my half siblings, the children of my biological father, has been up and down. For some of them, the encounter with me has stirred bad feelings. They felt betrayed by their father and they felt their mother had been wronged. They saw my mother as an interloper, someone who shattered their image of their father. Their father had an extra-marital affair with my mother. It’s an unpleasant truth. In the same way, my mother’s two sons — my half brothers, who I thought were my full brothers – also feel betrayed by their mother. Now, my mother’s two sons see her as a deceitful person. Now they see her as someone who lied and someone who duped their father, the father who raised me.
But, there are the cousins. None of my cousins, on three sides, have these issues. They are not so concerned about the affair my parents had. They have welcomed me into the extended family. My legal father’s nieces and nephews have also not rejected me. On my mother’s side, my cousins in Germany are as friendly as they have always been and I have visited them frequently. From them, I learned the German word “Kuckuckskind”.
Now, I am part of a large clan which spans many parts of the globe, and for that, I feel that I am a very fortunate person. There are still more cousins to meet and I am looking forward to meeting them.
This article exist even in german. Diesen Artikel gibt es auch in Deutsch. Jetzt bin ich ein Teil einer großen Familie – von Rachel aus Kanada – Teil 2