This is a loaded question for me.
Because I’m adopted!
It’s interesting being an adopted child because while you legally fill in a spot on your adopted family tree, you don’t biologically link to anyone on that tree. So while my family might say ”We’re descendants of John Rolfe who was married to Pocahontas” (which was something that was told to me with an accompanying family tree on a yellowed piece of paper and of which I was super obsessed because I was a 90s kid growing up with Disney’s Pocahontas) there was always that voice in the back of my head telling me that it wasn’t really my family tree.
I don’t have a lot of the trauma associated with being adopted as far as having spent time in foster homes. I was adopted as a baby and never knew my biological family or the time I did spend in an orphanage or foster home. It’s not a part of my memory. I have had a lot of trauma associated with being adopted as far as never knowing who I really am. It’s been compounded by being entirely opposite from my adopted family.
I realize there are people out there who are biologically related to their family and are nothing like their family. But I’ve always had that voice in the back of my head asking me whether I’m like my biological family or not.
In a related example, when my friends would always talk about their heritage, I never knew what to say. Was I English? Scottish? German? Who knew! I knew nothing. I was never able to answer those questions when my friends got to talk about it. I was always fascinated by their discussions.
When I’d go to the doctor I always had to fill out the medical history with “I’M ADOPTED” printed in big letters across the top, because I had no clue.
It’s been a constant question in my life. It’s come through in a lot of my writing as well. I tend to write female main characters who don’t know their parents, or at least their true heritage, or who have a toxic relationship with their parents It took me a long time to realize what I was subconsciously doing.
While I’ve had a lot of breakthroughs the last year where this topic and my life and my heritage is concerned, this isn’t something I’m ready to talk about publicly. Yet.
One day I will.
I don’t know a lot about my biological family tree, still, but I do know some things about my heritage, thanks to Ancestry DNA.
I did the Ancestry DNA test to get some idea of my origins. While it has opened up some things for me to do with my biological family, I’m not one to dive too far into genealogy itself.
I’m happy to have a tie to a specific part of the world and maybe understand why I‘m so drawn to this area of Appalachia where I live, that’s a lot like parts of Scotland and England.
I’ve been to England, but now knowing that I’m about 1/3 Scottish, I can’t wait to visit Scotland one day!
This was definitely an intriguing question, and something I’ve wrestled with a lot over the years.
Tell me about your experience! Are you related to anyone historically famous? Do you know your heritage? Have you been to visit the part of the world where your ancestors are from?
It’s all very fascinating! I hope to one day have a better handle on my full family tree, but for now I’m satisfied with the information that I do have.
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