“Adoption Reunion—with cousin Johnny!”

I was at a crossroads—fight or flight? I had discovered my roots and true self-identity, but the consequences had been catastrophic. My birth mother had confessed her identity to me privately, but only after she coldly rebuked me for my transgressions. She was terrified that I would spoil her reputation and she was adamantly opposed to meeting me in person. The shock that I had caused my birth father had triggered a massive heart attack. I was uncertain if he would live or die. The euphoria I had initially experienced during the discovery phase of my adoption search was overwhelmed by a depressing melancholic low. Sadly, I asked myself, “Is that all there is to an adoption search?”

One last thought came to mind. My birth father had mentioned the name of his nephew Johnny Fazio (my cousin) living in Denver. I looked in the phone book. There was only one person by that name. I boldly dialed his number. A man with a deep masculine voice answered. “Your father is a great guy. He is my favorite uncle. He told me about you before he had his heart attack. We are cousins. Why don’t we meet for dinner after the Denver Bronco’s football game. I can tell you all about your family.” My euphoria quickly returned. I was happy as a lark.

Denver Bronco Cheerleaders

My cousin Johnny and I had never met. I was amazed to learn that he had identified me sitting across the field in a crowded football stadium based solely on my facial resemblance to my birth mother. I hugged him warmly. I was thrilled knowing that I was genetically related to this handsome man—the first biologically related individual I had ever met.

The football game was exciting and undecided until the final minute. None of the fans left the stadium until the game was over. As we got up to leave, Martin grabbed my arm and held me back. The crowd surged around us and nearly pushed us over. I had mentioned the section of the stadium where we would be sitting, but I had innocently neglected to tell my cousin what I was wearing or how to recognize me. “Look at that guy on the other side of the stadium. He is walking directly toward us into the flow of traffic.” The man bulling his way through the tightly packed throng was a broad-shouldered, rough-looking, handsome man with thick muscles and a dark, menacing mustache. He forced others out of his way as he moved through the stadium crowd until we met face-to-face. “Hello, Judy. I am your cousin Johnny Fazio.” He leaned over and gave me a warm Italian hug and crushing handshake. “You look just like your mother. Once I recognized your face from all the way across the stadium, I was certain you were my cousin,” he said with a broad friendly smile.

We talked enthusiastically over dinner. He told me the entire history of the Rossi family, places of employment, education, habits and appearance. I listened in awe when he told me about my two sisters and my brother I knew nothing about. Many of the things he said were eerily similar to my dreamy childhood images of a perfect family. Learning about my birth family was an awakening that gave me a great deal of satisfaction and pride. Your mother is very attractive. Your father is a restaurant owner. He has many friends. He is a tough guy who is proud of his Italian heritage. He is a marine veteran and a patriotic American.” The positive images he provided of my birth family sent chills up my spine. I made a decision—I definitely wanted to meet them in person.

Reference: Adoption Detective, Chapter 34-Cousin Johnny, p. 232. Adoption Detective is a narrative non-fiction story of an adoption search and reunion.

http://www.adoptiondetectivejudithland.com

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About Judith Land

Judith Land lives in Colorado and Arizona with husband and coauthor Martin Land. Judith is a former nurse, retail shop owner, college instructor and avid outdoor person. Her book "Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child" is a true story detailing the journey of Judith Romano, foster child and adoptee, as she discovers fragments of her background, and then sets out to solve the mystery as an adult. "Mothers and fathers everywhere in the world need to understand children are forever and always." --Judith Land
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