Right around the teenage years I began wondering about my birth mom. I wanted to meet her more than anything. I didn’t know her, or anything about her, but I knew I loved her and would give anything to meet her. In my later teens and early 20’s I began searching for her by calling numbers of people with her name, Phyllis Harkins. I had no luck. I would do this often throughout my life. When the internet was born, I began searching on-line for her, again no luck.
Many years later, in February of 2017, I went to Target to get nicotine lozenges, (which is unusual as I always get them from Walgreens), next to the nicotine lozenges was something that caught my attention, a colorful box that said 23 and Me DNA Kit. I had never seen one of these before and wondered what it was, so I picked up the box and began reading about it. After reading the description I thought maybe at the very least I could find out what my nationality is by doing this. All my life I’ve wondered what my nationality was and now maybe I would know. I went back and forth with getting it but finally I pulled the trigger and bought it.
I had it for a few days before I opened it and followed the instructions to spit in a tube and mail it to the address given, the results would come (on-line) in about 5 weeks. In slightly less than 5 weeks I got the results, I discovered I am mostly Irish and British, which was surprising as I have olive skin and dark hair, people usually think I’m Greek, Italian, or Native American. I searched around the website and found that there were other people with similar DNA, family, so I began looking at people who were blood related and sent some messages out to see if they knew Phyllis Harkins.
After some unsuccessful replies, and even someone sending me obituaries with my mom’s name, I finally got a message back from someone who’s mom might know who Phyllis Harkins is. He said he’d get back to me. In a couple days he did get back to me he said his mom new Phyllis and gave me his mom’s number. I immediately called her she was a cousin of mine and she was going to get in touch with my aunt who also called me, I couldn’t believe this, I was talking to blood relatives! After I talked to my aunt Linda I then talked to my sister, holy cow I have a sister! I then talked to another aunt on the phone who put me in touch with my MOM! It was the moment I’ve waited for my entire life, and it finally was happening, I was going to talk to my mom!
My mom was living in a group home as she had schizophrenia and couldn’t care for herself. She had an extremely tough life and lost so much yet she was filled with such love and kindness. We talked on the phone every day for 2 weeks. We learned we both loved to read and had countless conversations about the books we enjoyed and were reading at the moment. We sent letters and gifts to each other in the mail.
A few months went by, and I got a call from my aunt, her and my uncle wanted to fly me out there to meet Phyllis. I couldn’t believe their kindness; they didn’t even know me yet they wanted to buy my plane ticket and stay with them so I could fulfill a lifelong dream.
A week after that call in November of 2017, I was on a plane, and I was going to meet my birth mom in person at last. My uncle and aunt picked me up at the airport in a big black shiny Chrysler I hugged my uncle I couldn’t believe it I was in the company of a blood relative, my mom’s brother! They drove me back to their home we talked late into the night, the next morning I would meet my mom.
The next morning I woke up so excited and full of joy and expectation of the day ahead. Thousands of questions ran through my head, do we look alike, will she like me, will I cry when I see her?
We finally left the house and headed first to see my aunt and uncle which was bittersweet as my aunt had cancer and wouldn’t be with us much longer, she was an amazing women and I’m so thankful to have met her. My uncle was quite kind too.
Once we left my aunt Chris and uncle Marty’s home we were on our way to see Phyllis. After what seemed like a lifetime of driving we finally pulled up to this huge building, this was where my mom lived it looked like a hotel, as it should, as before becoming an assisted living residence it was a huge hotel. We went through the large sliding doors and my aunt Denise and uncle Ken told me where to stand, behind a huge pillar, so she wouldn’t see me when she came out at first. We waited for her to come down the elevator, I hid, she came down I heard her voice she was talking to my aunt and uncle, my uncle Ken said, “We have someone we’d like you to meet,” at this point I walked out from behind the pillar, my mom said, “Adrienne?” I gave her a huge hug, we hugged and cried, she said I don’t deserve you I said, “yes you do, I love you.”, We cried and hugged some more. It was a moment I will never, ever forget. The day I met my mom.
When I found my mom I felt whole. I felt like my life had come full circle and I was complete, I was filled, I was happy, everything made sense I felt like this was the moment God had been preparing me for all my life and it was a gift from Him, and I couldn’t be more thankful or blessed.