Ancestry.com’s DNA test helped me identify my birth mother, and Donald Trump (and Facebook) made me regret it.
After sending in my DNA sample, Ancestry.com matched me up with DNA matches on their website. Through this, I found a close relative who turned out to be my half-niece. I found out I had two half-sisters from my mother, who is 78 and lives in Georgia. (My birth father passed away in 1964, but I did find his sister and have enjoyed being in contact with her.)
My mom was young and single when she had me, and from all accounts, had a hard life. Her family abandoned her when they found she was pregnant, and she actually had me while living at the YWCA. I, on the other hand, was adopted by loving upper middle-class parents who provided me with love, security, education and opportunities.
So fast-forwarding, past the initial tear-filled phone calls with my mom and sisters, past the exchange of photos (I look exactly like my mom) and the cards and gifts sent to them all, we get to Facebook. And Donald Trump.
Soon, we were all friends on Facebook. Shortly thereafter, I discovered that my birth mother and sisters did not share my liberal, democratic political views. (I voted for Bernie in the primaries.) As a matter of fact, their Facebook feeds were filled with everything I personally think is wrong with America: Confederate flags, Bible verses, “All Lives Matter” rants and sycophantic adoration of Donald Trump.
Well, then. Being raised by a Junior Leaguer and the sister-in-law of a past Junior League president, I remembered my manners and didn’t comment on their posts. However, they did not afford me the same courtesy. All my pro-Hillary posts generated comments from my mother and one of my sisters, from the mild to the snarky to the outright rude. I deleted some of their worst comments and just wrote it off to differing opinions.
As the race to the White House continued, so did the nasty comments from my mother. (My one half-sister active on Facebook just tried to ‘educate’ me as to why my views were wrong.) My mother, however, took it upon herself to make ugly comments about Hillary and people who supported her. At one point, one of my lesbian friends was the target of mom’s nastiness; you can insult me, but don’t insult my friends, especially based on their sexual orientation. I told her off and she unfriended me.
About a month or so later, I decided to try to be the bigger person. I sent her a friend request, which she accepted! This made me very happy. Once we were friends, I posted on her wall, “I love you Mama…no politics!” with a bunch of smiley faces.
Her response? (grammatical corrections by me)
“I don’t like here today, gone tomorrow family or friends, I don’t have the time or the effort to deal with anything like this. I’m 75 years old and I’m very tired. My health is not the best it’s been, I’m still trying to get into my little house (*Note: this is a storage unit having plumbing added to it on vacant property in Georgia), deal with K—— getting married in November, and it’s wearing me out!
I don’t have anything to offer you or nothing to give you. I’ve never had anything much to give the other two I have, I just did the best I could and they turned out ok (*Note: actually, not so true).
You would not fit into the world I live in. You’ve got your life together it seems, and I’m happy for you and proud of you!
But I feel you are where you need to be. We live in completely different worlds, you’re well off, I’m poor as a church mouse. I don’t own one thing except a junk car, so as you can tell, our worlds would collide!”
Wow. That really hurt me deeply. Now, I understand she’s probably had a terribly difficult life, and I know that her bitterness and anger are probably justified, but still…Wow.
So, I wrote “Understood. I wish you all nothing but the best” and let that sit there for a day. Then I unfriended and blocked them. I had to, for my own sanity. My life isn’t perfect but this kind of emotional trauma and turmoil, I don’t need. But I’ll always love my birth mother and my two half-sisters. We’re related by blood, and now I know who and where I came from, after years of wondering. I still don’t understand why my mother’s reaction was so vitriolic; I had expected our communications to be along the lines of, “Well, what movies do you like? What did you do this week, anything fun?”
Obviously, there’s a lot more going on here than just political differences. But my birth family’s arguments started on Facebook because of our differing opinions on Donald Trump. Trump somehow enabled their anger and resentment to bubble over, and in some ways, they chose Trump over family. I’m glad to know this now, and although it hurts deeply and painfully, at least I know where they stand. And I truly do wish them all nothing but the best.
And I still voted for Hillary.