Have you had the opportunity to meet someone, a person you had no idea would come into your life and change it so much and then they are gone too soon?
Meet Warren. Uncle Warren to be correct.
I always thought it would be interesting to know what nationalities I’m made up of. I knew a little from my dad’s side, but my mom was adopted. She didn’t know anything about her heritage other than she was from the Holland Michigan area.
A Few years ago, I was giving a DNA test for Christmas by my family. When I received the results showing my roots, what nationalities I came from, my curiosity was complete. I wasn’t looking for long lost family, that truly never entered my mind, I always knew that there could be family out there. I was happy, I have my family; son, husband, brothers and their families, and my cousins and their families from my dad’s side. Both my parents and grandparents had passed away years ago. In my mind my life and loved ones were complete, but as life is always changing and evolving, this brings me to how I met Warren.
A couple years ago I was contacted by a wonderful lady named Judy asking me who I was and why our DNA was a 50% match. Hmm, lol I don’t know but my mom was adopted, so we started talking and sharing the few details that I knew of my mom’s background. She had always told the story that as a newborn she was told she was left on the hospital steps in Holland Michigan. A doctor found her, he and his wife adopted her. At one-time she tried to find out her background but wasn’t successful. It was a dead end and she never talked much about being adoption or if she had family.
Families keep secrets, or maybe it’s the painful experiences they keep private.
Judy also had a DNA test prior to her learning that her grandparents had a baby out of wedlock in 1912. Her grandparents several years later married and had 6 more children, four girls and 2 boys (Judy’s dad and Warren). Back in those days having a baby out of wedlock wasn’t something that was talked about. Judy’s grandma had a very difficult childhood, how hard it would have been for her being pregnant and to have a little girl and giving her up or was the baby taken away from her. Those detail are unknown and over the years the baby, my mom wasn’t spoken about. It was a shock to Judy’s family after both of grandparents were gone that it came out there was a child and only a couple family members knew about the little girl.
When Judy received her results from her DNA, it showed a person with a 50% match of DNA and being first cousin. My name and email address were provided. I’m grateful she reached out to me asking who I was and what I knew.
As Judy, her family and I pieced the few known details together it became pretty apparent that my mom was the baby. My mom’s date of birth, location of her birth, even appearances, so many similarities it all lined up, it had to be true. My son even had his DNA done and the results were the same showing Judy’s family as our relatives, we had family we never knew of.
My husband and I decided to spend a few days visiting in Holland Michigan where Judy and most of her family still live, we meet and got to know each other. That’s the background of how Warren came into my life. We had a wonderful opportunity to meet him and a lot of my newfound family.
Warren, was my mom’s youngest brother, my uncle, and the only remaining sibling still living when we visited. We lost my mom in 2008, I know she would have been so happy to have known and met Warren and the rest of their family. I’m so happy that I did get to meet Warren as we lost Warren, April 2022.
Warren was so accepting and excited to meet me. I can’t image how hard it would have been to find out you had a sister that you didn’t know about. What a shock that had to be, the curiosity, the whys, and the uncertainties. But Warren welcomed me into the family with open arms, he shared photos and stories about their family. He made me feel the warmth of their family and that I and my brothers are a part of their family.
Warren was one of those people that you meet, but it felt like you’ve known them a lifetime. I would have like to have spent that lifetime with him in my life and not just the couple of years we were given. For me I knew my mom was adopted, I always knew there was the possibility of a family out there. I wasn’t looking when they found me, but so happy to have known Warren, my uncle known to late and lost too soon.
For me finding out I have Warren and his/my family, I do wish my mom would have been able to have known them, but I’m fortunate that I have met and can call them my family. I think and understand on both sides of the family there are possibly people questioned “what do they/she want” “why after all these years”. For me I knew my mom was adopted and there was a possibility there was family although I never thought to look for them. For Warren’s side, my mom’s side it was a hidden treasured secret by her parents. I can only let my imagination think of what the conversations were behind closed doors between her parents. What would they have said to my mom or to me if they were still alive? Back in those days, how hard was it for a young couple having a baby out of wedlock. Did my grandfather the doctor that adopted my mom really find her on the steps or was he part of the whole mystery, the forbidden story. These are questions that will never be answered and maybe that’s a good thing. I’m sad I didn’t have more time to spend with Warren and get to know him even better. He was an artist in his own rights, a wood carver and created stain glass pieces. His portrait will be sent to his widow, I hope that it brings her peace and I’ve captured his essence and love. I know it was a wonderful peace of mind and a release of emotions for me to be able to paint it.
Hugs and love Uncle Warren.
Date completed: April 28, 2022