#tedxcincinnativirtualcircle #tedxcincinnati #globalfamilytree #geneticenvironmentalimpact
I got a DNA kit for my birthday last month. I spent some change to get it but I have been wondering if I should really do it. I wanted to get the kit to explore my bio mother’s family. She was adopted in Maryland when she was 4 years old. She always expressed a desire to get to know her biological family. I could see and feel her pain, but I couldn’t ease her pain.
There is a beautiful twisted irony within my family tree. When I was 14, I went into foster care and never went home. My mom chose her husband over me. Her exact words, “Don’t make me choose because I will always choose him.”
Her abandonment when I needed her most, created a deep wound. I have spent a lot of time in therapy and support groups figuring how to love myself because I always felt so unloved. Looking back, it’s ironic that my mom allowed me to stay in foster care and become a ward of the court, when I knew that she always wanted to know who her biological family was but never found out.
After not communicating for ten years, I reconnected and introduced her to her grandson for the first time back in 2011. The moment was magical and just three years later, she died from brain cancer. I made peace and forgave my mom because I wanted her know that she was loved.
I realized she felt pain just like me. She never got to make peace with her biological family. She never identified them or found out why she was given up for adoption. This year, I decided that I wanted to honor my mom by exploring our roots. Her family gave her up just like she gave me up and I decided to keep my son when several close friends and family told me to give him up for adoption because I was going to be a single parent. I decided to be a mother. I chose my son. I chose love and to break the cycle.
So far, I haven’t taken the DNA test. I didn’t think this step would be holding me back. I keep asking myself, “Am I ready?” What happens if you don’t get the answers you want?” “What if I should just keep the past in the past?”
And….then tonight, I joined a virtual circle with the Cincinnati TEDx team.
TED Circles is an open platform of small groups that engage in conversations about ideas. Circles can take place 100% virtually so they are helping communities stay connected, especially now. Hosted by volunteers, Circles watch and discuss a TED Talk. They share takeaways online to consider each other’s perspectives and create a global conversation.https://www.ted.com/about/programs-initiatives/ted-circles
We watched a TEDx talk by AJ Jacobs and I was completely shocked to discover his talk was about our interconnectedness and our global family tree. And then he joined the conversation! The whole hour was surreal. I just kept thinking, “I better do the DNA test!!!!”
I did the DNA test and gave it to the mailman today. Now, we just wait, 6 – 8 weeks for the results. I plan on blogging about my journey. Very recently, I also connected with a woman through a Facebook group about genealogy and she encouraged me to start the process too. She told me that once I get my results, she would help me find my mother’s family!
Kimberly is an experienced speaker, trainer and consultant that teaches and inspires universities, schools, organizations, foster care agencies, foster youth and families to practice resilience strategies via storytelling, creative arts and heart work. Her passion is to empower individuals and organizations to succeed!
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