Oh hey, you're still here. I didn't know if the last journal piqued your interests, or confused the hell out of you.
Anyway, shall we carry on?
It's safe to say I'm desensitized to family drama. So, when I received a text from my wife that simply said "I have a sister", I pretty much knew what she was talking about. "Let me guess, your dad had a daughter with your stepmom you didn't know about, and she's younger than you?"
Boom. Nailed it.
You see, things were complicated back then with her parents, but shortly after Joann was born, her would-be step mom and father had a child. This would Joann's younger half bother's full blooded sister. A combination of both the stepmom being young and controlling parents, they forced her to put the baby up for adoption. This was against Joann's dad's wishes, because you see, he did love her stepmom. Ultimately the adoption was carried out at birth, years later they would marry and have a son, then the stepmom would pass away after battling cancer in her mid 30's.
Let's go back to the picture(s). This was pretty much the only source of information for Joann's father to go on. In those pictures were the baby sister and her adopted brothers, along with their first name. That's it. Besides another tiny tidbit that all three kids in that home were adopted.
Joann's father told us he thought about this little girl every day. What she was like, if she was okay. Was she even alive? He always hoped the best, and not necessarily needing to connect, just to find out info about her. He did give Joann a blessing to find her and reach out to her, but with such little info, finding her would be a mountainous task.
The ride home was interesting. Joann wasn't upset, and really not even shocked. She was more excited of the possibility that she had a sister out there. What was she like? Did they have any common interests? Was this the big thing weighing down her heart for so long?
You see, my wife is a very religious person. She believes in God, spirituality, etc. She is also a big believer in this higher deity and how there is a plan for everyone. Her belief is what took her out of her comfort zone in Houston after 35 years, and gave her the added confidence to move to Austin earlier this year. Unfortunately it took a tragedy like Sutherland Springs to make her reconsider her relationship with her dad, but interestingly on the way to drop her off on Saturday she told me, "I don't know what it is, but I feel there is something there with my dad, something that he needs to tell me." I kid you not.
I'm a very over analytic person. When you couple that with a pinch of cynicism and the need to script pretty much any event, all of this news wasn't really shocking to me and from the moment I was told, I was outlying a story in my head.
What I was about to learn was that ability is pretty scary...and pretty dead on.
Me: "My gut is telling me she's not in Houston...something is telling me she's in Austin.'
Joann: "Get the fuck out of here! That would be wild."
We get home, I crack my knuckles, grab a bite of my burger and get to work. With little info to go on, it was going to take a lot of time to compile any data I could find and create a timeline and family tree in hopes of locating a last name for the family. This would take patience and a lot of luck. Well, I had a healthy dose of both, because it took only 5 hours to find her.
Wanna here the crazy part? This sister LIVES IN AUSTIN. Not just Austin, but 10 minutes from us. Imagine Joann's face when I turned to her and said, "Holy shit, I found her. And you're not gonna believe this, but she's here."
Aside: My PI rate is $200 an hour in case you need any info on a person.
This really was playing out like a Hollywood script, and luck most of those scripts, it comes with a very very sad turn. You see, after running dozens of search algorithms, the crack in the case came by an unfortunate source....an obituary.
Like i said early, her sister was adopted by a family that adopted her two other brothers. They all grew up healthy and happy here in Austin. The turn happens in the early 2000's when the youngest brother joins the military. He suffered from PTSD and eventually rejoined civilian life, but it wasn't easy for him. He passed away a few months. It was bittersweet. We were able to track her sister down, but the obituary was really the key to unlocking the mystery.
Joann's notified her sisters. At this point, she is overseeing the initiation of contact with her newly discovered half-sister. There are many factors that complicate the situation...This girl is still dealing with the sudden lose of her brother, she has little-to-no internet presence, and what if she doesn't even know she was adopted? After a little more digging I was able to squash that last tidbit, which opens the door for Joann to reach out to her. We understand this may be a trying time, but honestly, there never really is a good time to tell someone, "Hey, I'm your long lost sister you may have not known about, and we just learned about you 3 days ago."
Joann has spent hours upon hours drafting a letter, trying to find a balance of emotion and information, looking to not steer overly in either direction.
So, to some it all up: My wife has a half-sister she never knew about, a couple years younger, that has lived in Austin this entire time and is now attempting to reconnect with her. To say nerves are shot would be an understatement, but she's more excited about it. My job is to be supportive and to also prepare for the possibility of rejection.
Anyway. This has been an emotionally charged and quite adventurous week. I really appreciate you taking the time to read the craziness that is now our life. I'll update you all on how things turn out.