“It is from the progeny of this parent cell that we all take our looks; we still share genes around, and the resemblance of the enzymes of grasses to those of whales is in fact a family resemblance.” ~ Lewis Thomas
I have this thing where I study faces. And since he first told me his adoption story, I’ve been studying the face of my husband. Like, almost obsessively.
And when our children were born, I began to study theirs, too. Regardless of whether we know them growing up or not, we tend to look like the people we’re biologically related to – and that’s exactly why I am OBSESSED with YOUR face. Oh yeah.
See, when he was born, my husband’s birth mother must have been in a bad way. Whether she personally made the choice or it was made for her, the baby (who would later become my husband) she gave birth to in the wee hours of the morning on June 6, 1972, was found around 9 a.m., wrapped in a towel and tucked into a box.
The box was inside of a telephone booth in front of a busy convenience store in Kansas City, Kansas, and no one seemed to know who left it there.
The police said a woman called in to let them know she thought she heard an animal inside the phone booth. The convenience store manager supposedly found the baby and a police officer pulled him out.
Now, and since the first time I heard the story more than a decade ago, I look for his features in every face I see.
I notice noses, foreheads, eye color and shape – general coloring and body types and shapes. I look at chins and eyebrows and even ear shape.
Since we had his DNA tested last year, I look at names too. And though I’m a complete amateur, I’m pretty smart – so I pore over the results as each new match comes through.
By now, I’ve narrowed his mother down to a certain generation in a certain family, I think. But his father is a whole other question.
The closest DNA connection we’ve found is a second cousin or grand-aunt.
I have noticed a trend in which a lot of Pennsylvania, Texas and Missouri people that are connected to his DNA.
I have a theory that one of his parents might be a Quaker from Pennsylvania. Or maybe even an English exchange student or immigrant.
This is because, as I understand it, the Quakers are primarily English. And according to his DNA, my husband is 78 percent British.
I think this means that one of his parents must be 100 percent British. It definitely means, according to Ancestry.com, that he is more British than the average British citizen today. That seems significant to me.
We know that he is related to Marilyn Monroe. We know that there are lots of Hogans, Stewarts, Davis, Smiths and Joneses in his bio family.
But what we don’t know is who gave birth to him, who his father was and why they left him there in that phone booth on that warm June day in 1972.
Those are the answers we are seeking. Those are the things I am compelled to discover.
We are not looking for a family, though we would not reject one. We are simply looking for closure and answers to these questions that have plagued my husband for 43 years – and me for nearly 15.
Our kids have a right to know who their father came from. And he has a right to know who his biological family really was.
And if they’d like, they could get to know their relative and two of the coolest kids around.
But as I sit here, writing about it on my front porch today, there is no resolution; there are no answers. I’ve had news stories published, I’ve blogged about it, I’ve even gone so far as to reach out to the world via social media – and yet, despite a few false hopes, we’ve got nothing definitive.
I want to stop looking. I want to give up trying. But I carry on. I am driven. I feel like it’s part of my life’s purpose.
And so I keep looking, searching, hoping for a clue that will tie it all together.