I just returned from an amazing evening at the lovely Wine Tea Chocolate cafe in Fremont. My friend, I will call her Mimi, organized a get-together there so that her friends could meet her identical twin sister who is visiting. Her twin sister’s 11-year old son and 15-year old daughter, both charming people, were also at the gathering.
This may seem like it was an ordinary event. But, no. It was not ordinary.
About forty years ago, Mimi’s biological mother, who was struggling through difficult times in an East Asian country roiling with political and economic turmoil, reluctantly, with a very heavy heart, gave her to an orphanage when she was just a few months old. An American couple living in California soon adopted Mimi.
Mimi grew up with her adoptive parents and their other children in a loving household. She was aware that she was adopted, but did not feel compelled to find out about her origins.
Today Mimi is well educated and has a successful business in Seattle. Her nature is open, honest, loving, compassionate, smart, humble, and visionary. She defines the term “drop-dead gorgeous.” I would say she is doing an exceptional job at living life.
Though Mimi had not considered looking for her biological family, they thought about looking for her and took action. About a year ago, she received a letter from them–they had traced her through the agency that handled the adoption. That contact was astounding for many reasons—one of which was that Mimi learned that she was born with an identical twin!
The details of this extraordinary story are for Mimi and her sister and other family members to tell. I will say that after corresponding for a few months, Mimi traveled across the oceans to meet her biological family, including her mother, her identical twin, and siblings. Her father unfortunately had passed away in the recent past.
Her biological mother had remained heartbroken over the decades about the circumstance and want that compelled her to give up Mimi so long ago. She had worried through the years, as only a mother can worry: Is my baby safe? Did a loving family adopt her? Where is she now? Is she happy, healthy, alive?
Upon meeting her mother, Mimi assured her that she had been loved and cared for as a family member by people who raised her as their own. She told her mother that she had only great compassion for her, knowing how difficult the times were and how wrenching the decision to give her up had been. She expressed love and gratitude to her for bringing her into the world and for doing the best she could in dire times.
This chain of events led to Mimi’s identical twin traveling to California and Seattle with her family to learn about Mimi’s life firsthand. Mimi invited friends to gather at the coffee shop to meet her sister and her children. (Her twin’s husband had to return to work, so was not present at the event.)
When I met her, Mimi’s sister’s kindness, sincerity, and caring easily overrode the language barrier. Not only did she look pretty much exactly like Mimi, she emanated a familiar feeling of fundamental goodness.
I took photos at the event. The camera caught beautiful smiles and twinkling eyes, some with tears. Everyone looks very, very good.
As I write this post, I realize that this is the second truly meaningful and memorable adoption-related event that I have attended in the past few weeks. How fortunateI I am to experience “family” in such expansive, celebratory ways
How apt that we gathered at a place called Wine Tea Chocolate–add friends and family to the mix and you have something truly extraordinary.