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Meaningful Adjacency

It’s been another surreal week in an already strange year. Tonight my city is under curfew, again (because the police value property more than people). Not that I leave the house at night anyhow, but still. Have I got a strange tale for you…

At the end of 2018, my Dad showed me an obituary and said “this was my mother.” He was so certain. He had been adopted at birth through the Catholic Charities and given very little info other than his birth name and date. This woman’s maiden name matched his birth surname. It’s not a terribly common or uncommon one. An anglicization of the modern Irish Gaelic Ó Ríordáin (which itself is derived from the original ‘Ó Ríoghbhardáin’, meaning royal bard). A few years back I had gotten him to do a National Geographic DNA test but it didn’t yield much. This Spring he opted to do ancestry.com too. His results came back today. And he was right. The woman in the obituary was his birth mother. Two of her surviving children popped up as my Dad’s half-siblings. My Dad doesn’t have a computer so I’m managing all of this. I’ve messaged the close matches and we’ll see what comes of it.

Growing up I knew my Dad had been adopted. There wasn’t much contact with the family that adopted him. They moved to California before I was born. I have no memory of my adopted grandfather and only met my grandmother after she was widowed. I was nearly in middle school by that time and we did not hit it off. I am keeping my expectations very low for this birth family. We may not meet them at all, especially during a pandemic. Or we could meet them and find we are polar opposites. This is just another heap to add to the uncertainty pile that is 2020.

My Dad, with one of my framed photos

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