Big Picture

As a younger person, I don’t think I had a big picture plan for my life. I just kind of let one day fade into the next. Once I got into college, I made plans for where I would spend the school year or the summer, but I really think my style was to watch how things unfolded. I could abandon anything. I saw myself as an artist, but I didn’t envision myself accomplishing, or succeeding at anything. That came later.

I’m still kind of that way. I don’t move around anymore, but I’m still not very businesslike in my approach to life.

What I’ve always wanted to do is to express myself through art. It wasn’t something I decided to do, I just kept trying it. The process of expressing involves internal archaeology and philosophy. I have to know what makes me tick. It’s very individual and I thought that made me unique.

I no longer believe that I am unique. I’m made of other people. Those who have lived their life, and have passed their DNA on to me, live in me now. I’m not me. I’m a combination of them. We’re a biomass that oozes from prehistory into the present day, an unbroken chain of heredity that, for this moment, culminates in me.

I am 60 years old, with no offspring to carry my progeny into the future.

When I adopted my kids, I adopted their biological families, too.

From the very beginning, we agreed that they would maintain contact wherever possible. In one case, we had the challenge of a closed adoption. We eventually made that contact, and had an amazing trip visiting them.

With others, we make frequent video calls.

This week, I was able to track down the ancestors of my youngest two, and discovered a colorful history woven over the past five hundred years.

They are now part of my family tree.

Through my grandson, I am related to half of the county, even though I was an immigrant to Minnesota over 30 years ago.

If my offspring had survived in utero, and grown to pass on my genes, I wouldn’t have the wonderful kids that have come into my life through other means.

This is not uncommon. My great grandmother was adopted. My youngest two kids’ great grandmother was adopted.

This is how our story plays out.

Traits are inherited, but they can be passed on in other ways, too.

I want to raise my kids to believe in themselves, and to dig deep into their history, unearthing the things that make them unique, and the things that make them so much like the rest of us. In this way, we can tell our story and it will be authentic and valuable.

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