Talking to a lady at another Staffordshire WI earlier this week, I learned that her daughter in law had been adopted. Although curious about her origins for many years, she resisted finding her birthmother. However, curiosity overcame her and she began a search. She started by visiting a convent from where she had been adopted. There she learned she had been a twin but both of them had been allowed to be separated and put up for adoption individually. The convent staff were unable to tell her who had taken her sister. Eventually, she managed to trace her birth mother but sadly there was not a happy outcome as she wanted no contact but she did tell her she had a half-brother. Incidental to her story was an interest in motor cycle racing and as she lived near Donnington Park she would regularly go to meetings where she developed (a long distance) crush on one of the motor cyclists. She continued to look for her brother and after a time found him through the internet. They arranged to meet in a pub local to her home. As she waited nervously for her brother to arrive the motorcyclist walked into the pub. He was, of course, her brother. There has been a happy outcome here as they are now close.
The story told to another two other WI members as we sat after my talk drinking tea prompted a discussion on how we are attracted to people who look like us. Supposedly girls are attracted to men who resemble their fathers and boys to women like their mothers. Not surprising that she had liked the motorcyclist. One of my greatest joys is to be told how like my brother I am; how I walk like my mother. One of the ladies suggested adopted children have the family of their adopted parents and their families to tell them stories and anecdotes about their history and so the adopted child absorbs these and frames them for themselves to hand down to their own children. That was certainly true for me. Only after a successful search for a birth parent can an adopted child have another set of stories to tell about their birth families but, of course, they never have the opportunity to be a part of them as they grow up. I think it is this lack of shared experiences that makes some reunions with a half-sibling fail. For me the best thing my brother did was to take me to see the houses our father lived in; the grave yard where he is interred and the places he himself grew up.