Links to the posts on the search for my birth family in chronological order are below 

Just back from visiting my birth mother in her hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana. Back from meeting my birth sisters, aunts, cousins, my nephews, their children- all for the first time. Back from finally stepping foot in the historically dense South, a region I had long sworn held no pull on me. Back from a deep deep dive.

Flying into Dallas in that nether land of limbo that travel inhabits, which I love, my entertainment system on the Lufthansa flight from Germany, happily, provided me with a couple of interesting documentaries to pass the time. Two in different ways seemed delightfully serendipitous. Firstly, “Don't Forget Your Music” offered a much-anticipated glimpse into the roots of the sublimely talented baritone, Gregory Porter sans hat though, woefully, no explanation on why he relies so on it. (What a great thing that there is space in the world for success for the likes of Mr. Porter. A no frills pure pure heart alongside gigantic talent. ) Then “Won’t You Be My Neighbour”  a documentary on Fred Rodger's career which catapulted me back to my childhood. It felt rather appropriate and I watched as scenes from his show, that I had forgotten over the years yet instantly recalled, provoked the sensation of my child self, with Oreos and milk, immersed in his world … to inhabit the skin again of that young girl. It sort of felt like flying backward through time even as I was speeding towards my mother's hometown. As the plane descended towards my past future, into the town that, if circumstances had been different, I would have grown up in. I've got a lot more I could say about Mr. Rogers and the conflicting little girl vs grown woman views on the man, along with what I learned from the documentary, but that's perhaps best saved for another time!

Arriving at Dallas Fort Worth’s airport I was all aflutter despite, or perhaps because of, the long sleepless flight. I waited impatiently for the sight of my bag thinking I was long overdue for the loss of it, flights had been going entirely too smoothly lately, when my big blue battered bag clattered onto the carousel. 

 "Hurrah and phew," I thought "a great beginning!" as I hurried on towards the exit where Mom was there to greet me with her phone in hand. Yup, she gets me already; she knows I want documentation!
The three and a half hour drive to Shreveport flew by. Randolph stopped for a meal an hour into the drive and I got a second wind while Mom and I kept up a steady patter without delving into anything too serious. Sitting at the table with them, I felt so... so pleased to belong to them. I kept seeing through other's eyes the obviousness of our being related.  

  "Does your mom want that to take away?" the waiter asked while she was off in the bathroom. 

That filled me up. I was giggling inside.  Every time I call her Mom too, there is an effervescent thrill that goes through me.  

Seeing Randolph and Mom on their turf was already enlightening and we hadn't even gotten to the house yet. Our sweet young waiter was telling us about his nervousness as he was planning on meeting his girlfriend's conservative parents the next day. The server had pegged us as a family he could confide this stuff in, had seen us as nonjudgmental listeners. None of us disappointed him, we all asked questions and encouraged him, and I was so proud to be with them. Mom and Randolph claimed me so completely, teased and coddled me. It’s embarrassing just how much I revel in Mom’s indulgent smile every time she looks at me.

Once we made it to the house  I changed into my jam jams and took the tour. The place was bigger than expected from the WhatsApp tour Mom had provided me with and very cozy with fireplaces in each room. What struck me immediately was the care and artistry with which Mom had decorated for harvest time and all the black art throughout. Black subjects by black painters and sculptors (a lot of Thomas Blackshear) everywhere. I thought about what it would have been like to grow up in a home where such beautiful representations and artful technique of and by people who looked like me. How that might have felt.

Thomas BlackshearSculpter Unkown (I'll find out and update! ;) )

 Ida Jackson

As I was climbing up into the bed, even that bed conspired to make me feel like a young girl, it nearly took a stepstool to get in, my younger sister Katherine arrived to meet me. I was on overload by this time, but her impatience to greet me, her enthusiasm and copious tears dispelled all nervousness and I gladly took on the role of older sister to which I am accustomed, entirely different than with my older birth siblings. It's odd how the order of our birth marks us. I have always been so completely identifiable as the oldest of my adoptive siblings.

I never can do more than doze on planes, I cannot for the life of me relinquish control and sleep, so perhaps that’s why once my head hit the pillow I was out, or maybe it was the warm feeling of security and being cared for, spoiled really by my birth mother for the very first time. Whatever it was I sank into the soundest most restoring sleep that I had had in a long time. 

Thanks to all of you who have been on this journey with me for sharing your thoughts and for sharing this blog. There is so much more to come- so stayed tuned for more on my adventures with mom Shirley in Shreveport, first time meets with my sisters Rhonda and Cassandra as well as a whole lotta family in Tennessee!

Posts on the search for my birth family in chronological order here:

memories and lemonade

what's in a name

womanly love, birth family search, & #AME

ta da! meet my birth mom shirley and my birth siblings

everything that came before - everything that is to come

birthday girl

back from a deep deep dive

love is in the details

sedaris you wish back from a deep deep dive part-3

first times - back from a deep deep dive part-4\

For non birth family-related musical meanderings and other essays