Last night, I received confirmation that I have indeed found my father– 99.999% sure based on our DNA test. All of a sudden, I have a father, a step-mother, an aunt, an uncle, 2 cousins, a step-brother here in DC, and a half brother in London. I spoke to 6 of the 8 last night, and everyone was so happy. My aunt joked that we should send out a birth announcement:”It is a girl! She is 5’4″, and weighs over 100 lbs.” She is hilarious!
Apparently, making jokes about some of our greatest sources of pain is a trait that runs in my family. It has been a coping mechanism that I have used all my life, and perhaps now everyone around me can understand a little bit better why I appreciate irony so much– it seems to be a common theme in my life. In 2005, when I got divorced, not ony did I un-do the vows of marriage, but I also severed the ties with my husband’s family, who had become mine over the twelve years that we were together. So many people have asked me my divorce was such a traumatic event for me– well, perhaps now it all makes more sense– for unlike so many, I did not have my own family to fall back on. The safety net that most people take for granted their whole lives has never been there for me.
So here I am now as an adult, with a child of my own, about to embark on a new journey. I am about to learn something most of you have enjoyed all your lives, and that I have always envied. For the first time ever, the word “father” actually means something real and personal to me. He is the one I look like, the one I think like, and the one I am finally learning to understand.
The greatest irony here is that I am a family law attorney, who is just about to learn what it really means to be a family. All these years, I have helped people renegotitate their family ties when they separate, and in my lectures and writings I advocate for people to collaborate in order to minimize the negative impacts of the separation for their children’s sake. But for the first time ever, I am going to have to learn how to pull a family together– reuniting everyone after all these years not just for my son’s sake, but actually for myself.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.