by Carole Hemingway

Questions about my birth used to haunt me when I was younger. Being older now and hopefully wiser, I’m no longer haunted. To set the record straight, I believe in ‘knowing’ who you are. For me, that didn’t happen until I was 40 years old, and my mother was on her deathbed the end of July, 1981. I left home with one identity and returned home with a new one.

All genes aside, recent research shows that our behavior patterns are influenced and formed by the people who raised us into adulthood. Those patterns become part of our DNA. When you’re adopted, the order of your life is going to be somewhat disconnected, especially not knowing who your biological parents are. It makes you wonder—where did you get your sense of humor or lack thereof? And yes, even the things and people you’ve come to love or not.

Does it make sense that we are able to control who we are by what we think and who influenced our thinking? We are capable of showing a new side of ourselves to the world, once we know how the heck we got here.

Our mothers, like it or not, were our primary image of an adult woman, and our fathers were primary images of an adult man. As a result, we may lack spiritual stability; the truth of where we came from. We become more open to the truth of who we are, hopefully. If we don’t know where we come from, how do we know what we truly need?

Knowing who your biological parents are is a mass awakening. If you resist this awakening you become numb, and you won’t be as powerful as you would want to be, and nothing you do makes up for that separateness. Where did you get these patterns?

Birth is not a beginning but a continuation; I, for one, do believe that life goes on forever, just the soul occupies another body for the purpose of being visible so everyone can see us. Physical incarnation is a classroom experience, and some souls come into class to learn. It’s a lot like the channel selector on your remote.

There is brokenness and pain in finding your roots, because you have to try to heal that pain while finding yourself, but how can you do that until you heal your heritage? Confusion about heritage translates into confusion about ourselves. The internal tension cannot be denied.

Our messages from childhood were shaped early, and might you still be hungry to communicate with your adult self?

I’m a great believer in finding the right therapist, and I was blessed to have met some of the best over a 15-year period. No one else helped me connect my feelings and connect the dots to my loss and abandonment issues. Trying to connect the child-self to an adult body is no easy process. Today, I have a voice—at times loud—and speak in my new identity. I am thankful for the deepest truth my mother shared with me so very long ago. Resolving the anger was a big one. Therapy cuts through the layers of confusion to honesty and relieves the pressure of conflicts, along with the intense pain involved.

The reality of adoption isn’t and won’t be easy to hear or read when you decide to dive into something like, and what will take place inside you can be like opening ‘a can of worms.’ But it’s worth the pain to do the research, to dig; however deep it takes you to find the truth. I strongly support these methods of strong reality. Embrace the newness!

If you don’t know your history, you are like a leaf blowing in the wind that grows up to be a tumbleweed and will never see or know that the leaf is part of a branch on a tree called family!

Carole Hemingway is an internationally regarded author, speaker, and historical writer. She recently moved to a horse farm in Kentucky (close to two Triple Crown Winners) and where she is writing three books about Gettysburg.