Talk about throwing someone a curveball!
Life can be complicated and even treacherous for some, while it’s a joyride for others. Perhaps someday we’ll find out why, but I ask that question a lot because I’ve experienced a lot in my lifetime. So when I hear people complain about petty nonsense, I usually say, “At least we weren’t born with flies in our eyes.” So there I was, writing my thrillers, developing scripts, and enjoying an early retirement when a phone call knocked me to the floor.
I knew I had been adopted as far back as I can remember. The incredible couple who picked me over the other babies wanted me to know it from the start so there would be no surprises. They did a great job raising me, instilling in me by example the right way to do things and to aspire to be the best I could be – at whatever I chose to do.
As time passed, my adoptive mother was taken by cancer at 62 while I was 27, and then my adoptive father died shortly after. Since then, I have had three children, spent decades following my dream of working in motorsports, and jumped at the chance to restart my writing career and turn in my 100,000-mile-per-year frequent flier card.
So life was cruising along at a nice pace, a handful of incredible grandchildren had come along, and my last novel (Deadly Driver) received great reviews from people like C.E. Albanese, David Hobbs, Ron Capps, Autosport magazine, and many more. Life is good, and other than winning the Powerball, I couldn’t ask for anything more; God’s been very good to me, and I thank him for that every day. So that brings me back to the phone call that floored me.
My daughter Melissa had constantly pestered me to learn about my past, “Do Ancestry,” she’d said about as often as she used to bug me for a puppy. However, out of respect for my adoptive parents, I felt they were my one and only parents. They might not have passed on their genes, but they taught me so much and prepared me for life; nobody could replace them or have done better. I felt that way until I began to wonder if I may have inherited anything genetic or be predisposed to something that could prove troublesome for me or my kids or grandkids, and that alone is what drove me to spit in a cup – or so I thought. Down deep, I had always wanted to know what happened to the people who made me. On the one hand, I didn’t want to learn that I was the product of rape or just discarded by someone who didn’t want me.
One afternoon last summer, Melissa called and told me there was a match of some sort; “She’s probably a sister you never knew you had.” Okay. So let’s see what happens. The woman and I exchanged some basic info through email, both guarded but very curious. The only real hitch was that the woman insisted that my DOB was a month earlier than the one on my birth certificate that I had been celebrating for so many years. So in June, I called the woman, fully expecting to be talking to a sibling, but instead, she said, “I gave birth to you all those years ago.”
We met two weeks later, and since then, we’ve seen each other every week. She’s been to the house, met my wife, kids, and grandkids, and in turn, I’ve gotten to meet three half-brothers I never knew existed. Then there are the coincidences or whatever you might consider the following.
Other than not agreeing on when my actual birthday is, it seems there are so many facts about us, our history, and our families that it has to make you wonder. I still am. For example, my son has the same name as my middle brother. Okay, no biggie, BUT they also share a rare medical issue. Then, the year of my birth is the same year my biological grandfather died, and he died at the same age as that year. Then, my biological mother’s name (not a common one) is the same as an adoptive aunt of mine who moved away and became a cloistered nun. Then I connected with someone in the business world with a similar adoption story and the same name as my bio mom and aunt.
So if that’s not funny enough to convince you there are strange things afoot, consider this. My youngest daughter never knew my dad. He died years before she was born, but a few years back, she went to a medium with zero access to information about my daughter or anyone else in the family. The medium had quite a few things to tell my youngest, but the wildest one, at least for me, was this. “I have a message from your grandfather for your dad. Your grandfather wants you to tell him to keep writing.” But then, my youngest never knew of my career as a magazine feature story writer before I got into motorsports.
Did my bio mom know my adoptive parents? Nope. Did I ever find out why she gave me up for adoption? Yes – because she was too young and in no position to raise a child. Her prayer then was that a good family would raise me, and according to her – and I fully agree, her prayers were answered. As for my bio-dad, I only know my mom found him good-looking and that he moved to another state when he heard I was on the way, so I guess there’s something to say about that.
Maybe if I’m lucky enough to get to heaven, I can ask someone about all these coincidences because I couldn’t make this much up even with my imagination. I’m still pondering the question I posed in the opening paragraph. That’s on my list, too, if I ever get there. Sadly, I am very aware of instances where adopted children have met their biological mothers, and it didn’t go well. But at least now they know…
So what’s this all have to do with books? I think it’s very fitting that my next international thriller, THE BLOOD COMPASS, launches on March 30th and will be dedicated to the woman I hadn’t seen in decades – my mother – Judy.