Monday, 15 September 2008

Five sisters.




<<<-the first one one is me...

I woke up this morning feeling lighter. I slept like a baby last night for the first time in ages.

People have often asked me what its like being adopted. Or they say I am lucky, had a good childhood... so what's the problem.

The problem has always been this feeling (expressed many many times) that I am a disembodied twitching limb, with a body 'somewhere'.

That feeling worsened (oh how it worsened) when I discovered five years ago that after I was given away my parents married, and had more children. All girls. So that somewhere there were sisters.

OK, birth sisters. Not sisters born out of childhood fights and cuddles, laughter and tears, shared escapades with Mummy's lipsticks and stealing her high heels to wear while making bonfires in the woods. But sisters all the same. Full blood relatives.

Apart from my two sons, I have never been able to look at a face and know I am related 100%, with that comfort that comes from recognition. Facial features.

I have now talked to two sisters on the phone, and met two more thanks to the internet... masses of emails, photos winging their way hither and thither.

Yesterday, I was bombarded with photos, from these lovely lovely people. Anyone who has met me knows what I'm like. Instantly friendly, most of the time. Open, enthusiastic, talkative. A giggler.

I was on the phone all afternoon to two smashing people who sound exactly - but exactly - like me. Our voices are the same. We have the same giggle -a two-note eclamation. The same rhythms of speech. And both were as open and bubbly, and full of it, and enthusiastic as I catch myself being so often then wonder how people take it sometimes.

But hey. It's me. Or it's us. Or something.

I have photos of all four sisters. Lovely photos. Beautiful photos. And yes, there are strong likenesses.

I have photos of my parents. First time I have seen them. I look like my father, I think, but have my mother's eyes.

And its such a silly thing, but the best question among all the questions flying over the ether yesterday. 'Your legs. Have you got our legs?' and laughing at having stocky legs.

You bet.

And no, I do not expect to suddenly have close and undying contact with these lovely people who were so welcoming yesterday. But who knows. Maybe something will grow, slowly. I hope so.


Douglas Bruton said...

If this was fiction it would be hard to swallow.

How wonderful for you V and for everyone...

reaffirms one's faith in the world and everything coming good - eventually.

I am so lifted by this news, and so happy for you.


Vanessa Gebbie said...

I am tempted to say 'who needs fiction?' but I won't!

thanks D

SueG said...

Oh, V! This is so amazing! I'm so happy for you!!!!

Sarah Hilary said...

Vanessa, following this story and finally seeing this post has lifted my spirits so much over the last few days. I can't think of a nicer person (or bunch of people!) for this to be happening to. Enjoy!

Elizabeth Baines said...

Crikey! this is so immense! Wow!

Lit Flood said...

V! This is the most amazing story, I have goosebumps and a shivery neck.

I'm so pleased for you. Love love love! x

Sara said...

Blimey V!
I send you and your sisters my very best wishes.

Julia Bohanna said...

This is the best possible outcome, one I hoped for you when I saw you at Litcamp. You were still Vanessa of course and your read beautifully but there was a rawness apparent too, a childlike vulnerability. Now you have the company of genetics to help you sleep. How amazing that so much is carried in DNA, not simply physical likeness.

I am smiling and wishing you well.

Women Rule Writer said...

Hi V
Wow. I have fours sisters (one now dead) and I can't imagine not having grown up with them. I miss my sister who died so much.
May you have long years of giggling and chatting with your four sisters. It's an amazing and moving story.
See you this week! Double wow!
N. x

OSLO said...

This is incredibly moving Vanessa; thank you for sharing your story.

Nik's Blog said...

Bloody marvellous, Vanessa. That's really, really great.

Nik X

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Thanks everyone for your sweet messages.

N - I shall look forward hugely to meeting you in Cork...


pierre l said...

This is very lovely indeed, especially after all the sad preceding posts.

Lauri said...

Oh Vanessa, I'm so happy for you. What a wonderful, life affirming story- thanks you for letting us in on it. What a gift to find them!

I'm so happy for all of you.

josie said...

Vanessa, this is amazing and very heartening. How lovely to see these pictures of you and your sisters. I wish you all the best on this journey.

Wordsbody said...

"And yes, there are strong likenesses."

You can say that again, V.

I am so happy for you.

Enjoy this beautiful journey. And how lovely, the reassurance that what will be found - are echoes and reflections of the self.


Kelly Spitzer said...

Oh, Vanessa, I'm so glad for you, and your sisters. You needed this, you really, really needed this, and it sounds like it's working out wonderfully. Good for you, for being brave and open enough to do this.

Alison Woodhouse said...

Vanessa, just picked up this thread and seen all the amazing photos - so, so happy for you and your sisters. How wonderful that your courage and your generosity has led you to the lovely place. Wow. And thanks for sharing your story. xx