Let’s start with some history- this story can get a little complicated, so I’m going to try and keep the story strictly from my perspective.
My father was married before he met my mom and had two daughters. That…ended abruptly and along came…me and my parents short lived marriage. After their divorce, I remember having visitation with my him when I was reeeeally little and seeing pictures of my oldest sister Kendra up in his room/apartment at the time. I remember asking him once if it was me, we did look pretty similar (and we 3 are pretty close in age), and he told me that I had two sisters, but that he had not seen them in a long time.
Growing up, I heard all kinds of things from my father about my sisters, and their mom. But I never really understood what happened, or why I could not meet them or talk to them. A curiosity really set in for me when he got re-married and I gained a step-brother. We were similar in age too, and we were each others shadow every time I wentto visit my father (which was every summer, and every other Christmas). I had a brother, I wondered what it would be like to know my sisters.
All throughout elementary school, when I was asked to draw my family, my unknown sisters were always drawn in with my mom, my father, and my brother (and my younger half brother, who was also born into the mix). I remember explaining to my friends all through school that I had 2 brothers who lived out of state, and two sisters who lived somewhere else, but I never really elaborated further because the story was never told very clearly to me in the first place.
After a pretty major falling out with my father happened in junior high, over some things completely unrelated, my drive to find them (and the discovery of our first home computer and dial-up internet) pushed me to start searching myself. I started Googling their names…nothing. I had remembered the last time I talked with my father about them, he told me that he had heard that they had been adopted by their mom’s new husband. I started Googling their new name, only to find…absolutely nothing. But I still thought about them, and wondered all sorts of things about them…Did they look like me? Did we talk alike? Would they like me? Did they hate me?
One very random night, after work a few years after I graduated highschool (2007) I came home and was wasting some time Myspacing (yes, it’s a verb.) Myspace was still fairly new to me…and the idea to search there for them popped into my head. I found one of them! I was almost sure of it, she was close to my age, it was the only identical name match, she lived in the same city as I grew up in. THIS WAS IT! After taking nearly two days, re-writing probably 30 messages of things to say to her, I clicked send, and held my breath. I remember now, feeling so nervous and scared that my message (basically saying Hi Kyle, My name is Kayla, I think I’m your half sister…and I explained just the few things I had been told, etc.) would be ignored because it wasn’t her or that she would block me. I literally checked my MySpace, constantly for a reply.
I don’t remember the exact time frame, which you’d think I would, but I want to say it was nearly 2 months later (good thing I didn’t literally hold my breath- hehe…)- SHE WROTE ME BACK. This was a definitely a start to a major highlight in my life. Not only did she write me back, but she was just as curious about me. Her mom had known about me, and had told them I was out there somewhere too. Kyle had left me her phone number in her reply, and I dialed immediately, I didn’t think twice.
That phone call, was nearly 4 hours long if I remember correctly, and that was only one of many long conversations about…well, everything for the past 20+ years. I got to hear her side, of her story. I had been waiting my whole life to hear her voice, or to know her. My heart felt so full.
Along with the joy of finding her, and getting to know her, there were complications. I felt differently about my mom, and my father, when it came to the story. I didn’t know how to talk to my mom about them. I also had no idea how to talk to my father, who at the time I was still trying to work towards building a relationship back with. My mom was supportive, but we didn’t talk much about it all. But more than that my sisters and I had some common bonds, we all felt similarly odd about our father’s parents. I’m going to leave that part of the story there, for now. My sisters, because they recently had interactions with them, and possibly other reasons, were weary of our father. Kyle had asked me to please not talk to him much about them at all until she felt like she could handle more. Kendra has very vivid memories of our father from when she was very young, she even remembered my mom. Kyle was too little at the time, but watched Kendra battle with some of those memories their whole childhood. Kendra was even weary of meeting me. That news, was hard for me. I never told Kyle, and we didn’t talk about it very much, she never wanted to speak for Kendra. I never wanted to put any kind of pressure on either of them. But, a part of me knew exactly where her hesitation came from, I had grown up with my own issues with our father, and his parents.
After nearly a year of talking, a whole lot, Kyle called me and told me that her and Kendra would be visiting a friend up near Dallas later that year. She asked if I would like to come up and meet them at Six Flags. DUH. How could I have ever turned that offer down? Not only was I going to meet my sister Kyle, who I had almost instantly formed a bond with, and had been strengthening it throughout the past year…but Kendra my oldest sister, the little girl in my father’s old photos, wanted to meet…..me! I counted down the months, days, hours, minutes. I had never been so excited to meet anyone in my entire life.
I tried my best to tell them about our father’s family, our handsome half brother and step-brother, my wonderfully sweet cousins, …I know, it’s a lot to take in all at once. They filled me in on their adoptive father, and life with him, his son (their step-brother) and their mom. I remember feeling like I couldn’t hear enough, most, if not all of our phone calls were cut after hours of talking due to dying cell phones.
We had our first hug on August 9th, 2008 at Six Flags in Dallas Texas. I was excited, probably the happiest person in the whole world that day, in that moment. Here is a few of our first pictures together…ever.
A few short months later after even more talking, their mom, their new dad (well not really new, he did adopt them when they were both in elementary school) and his son invited me to spend Thanksgiving with them. At the time I had just gone through the biggest break up of my life, and that invitation couldn’t have come at a better time. Their mom is the sweetest, and I couldn’t be more happy to have her in my life. Their family immediately accepted me as another sister/daughter and it was one of the best Thanksgivings I had ever had in my life.
Coming home was difficult for me, I had such heavy thoughts weighing my mind. I had a difficult conversation with my sister Kendra while on that trip, that caused me to take some steps back. I wanted to allow her space, and allow her the time she needed from all that was said. I did my best to understand why she felt the way she did at the time. I also came back to even more conflict with my dad, which slowly ended our relationship, unfortunately. Sometimes, if a solution can’t be worked out, and an understanding seems far from reach, you have to walk away- for you own sanity. Needless to say, 2008 was a difficult year for me.
My sister Kyle, their mom and I all stayed in contact over the next 4 years via phone calls and texts. Their mom sent me cards, emails, Facebook messages, checking in and always making me smile/laugh. Her husband is pretty funny too- boy did they all get lucky having that guy in their life. :) Kyle called me one afternoon and says she is coming to visit and wants me to meet her boyfriend Miguel and his three kids. Well, remember this post? (“Ahh! I’m holding frozen vegetables! Congratulations!”) One of my big sisters got engaged right here in Texas.
Not too long after- we celebrated their wedding, and Kendra, Kyle, their family, and I reunited. This time, only with love. Kendra and I got to talk, and during that conversation with her, I really felt like my heart was about to burst. A long time dream had been fulfilled and it was better than I ever imagined; along with seeing my dear sister Kyle so happy on her wedding day, I was accepted by both of my sisters and their friends and family; I felt so loved. I love them all, so much and I’m so thankful they have been so open on getting to know me.
So what does the future hold for us? I’m not sure, we are all spread out in different cities. I hope we continue to grow closer. I hope they know how much I love them, and how extremely happy I am to have found them. Thanks to them, and their family, I have felt a little more whole.
Thank you also to to Kendra’s long time friend Dejon, for inviting them to go visit you in Dallas 4 years ago, and well for being a great friend to all of us.
Kendra, Kyle, Thank you. Thank you for wondering about me too. Thank you for giving me a chance. Thank you for loving me too. I could not be more proud to call you both my sisters.