Family Knowledge

A few nights ago, I stumbled across old episodes of John Edwards, the medium, on TV. I used to love his show. In fact, in 2012, I actually attended one of his in-person events here in Virginia. I”m absolutely a believer that some of us can talk to folks on the other side. I talk to one of my late grandmothers all the time, and yes, sometimes she responds. It’s kind of like in my head but almost like a whisper outside of my head–it’s hard to explain, but I sometimes hear her. I sometimes hear my paternal grandmother as well, not as often. And I sense my grandfathers’ energies as well.

It’s been this way since each of them passed on. It’s not limited to them–certainly I had other episodes with family that have passed on as well. I can’t do it for others, but it’s been a wonderful comfort for me over the years.

Anyway, back to the show. I was posted up in bed one night, bingeing the show when Hope popped in. Sometimes she loves to hear stories of my childhood and family. I told her about this weird thing that happened when my great Aunt died–her spirit jacked up my GPS just to make me drive past one of her favorite places after the funeral. I was just telling her story after story; I could feel myself getting animated. I love my family, and we’ve had some good times. And then…

“Gosh you know so much of your family. All those people…” Hope said.

My mouth hung open. I snapped it shut, and I stilled. I felt horrible. Here I am chattering along about my ancestors, people I have been so privileged to grow up with, to know, some to still feel. And for Hope, there are just gaps, big huge gaps. While we do have a relationship with some members of her family of origin, it’s often strained. It’s complicated for Hope; there are still a lot of big feelings, and I’m not sure what resolution will look like for her.

I apologized for making her uncomfortable. She waved me off dismissively. But this is sitting with me. I want to share with her that this is what family is, can be, maybe should be. I am so fortunate to have the family I have, to know so many members of my family, to claim and be claimed, to know my generational connections. I want that for Hope.

I have make it clear that I will support her relationships with family always, unless they seem unhealthy, but even then I’ll support her and be there for her. I have no idea what the future holds in that space for her. I also know that as much as we love one another and my family of origin, we may not fill any of the gaps left over. We’ll try. We will always try, but I worry that there will always be limitations.

When I resumed my chattering, I pivoted to talk about how Hope will talk about me to my grandchildren and to her grandchildren, and what they will tell their grandchildren about us. I told her to imagine visiting my mom with her own kids and how wild that will be. I told her that we would create our own dynasty.

I know it may not fill the gaps from her biological inheritance of memories, stories, beliefs, and more, but I promise to pass on everything I can and everything I have. I want so much for her to feel, believe, and know that she is anchored with me and all that I have inherited.



About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted my now adult daughter in 2014, and this blog chronicles my journey. Feel free to contact me at, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©, 2013-2022. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

3 responses to “Family Knowledge

  • rose

    Both my grands, separately, when about 2-3 yrs old said we carry those we have loved ALWAYS in our hearts……. AND those who have loved us…. or would have if they had met us. This is the power of love and loving. As an old person I agree…….. My mother’s mother died before I existed…. but as a very sick small child she came and sat next to my bed once. BELIEVE in the power of love.

  • teachmetonight

    I also LOVED John Edwards and his show. To this day? I cite the example of two of his guests re: love and acceptance. Thank you for mentioning it; I feel like this may make us honorary sisters now, lol (where can I find those old epis?)!

    You are giving your daughter family that accept and claim her as yours. You are also, by adoption, allowed her to build family, especially when you speak of the next generations (I thrilled at the thought of you, one day in the future, becoming a Nana!). I’m forced to think of Spike Lee’s movie title “More Better Blues.” Not ideal; not perfect; not without flaws. More Better, though, than it was. In that? There is PLENTY of life and living that can occur in the “more better.” I say this mere hours after visiting my nephew, his wife, and their newly adopted toddler (May!) after a year of being forced, pre-vaccine, to stand outside their home, in their yard, and leave quickly. Yesterday, when the toddler asked “Noni: are you coming inside my house?” (He had grown used to me saying “not today.”) I was thrilled to say Yes, Enter, and Hug everyone. I know my hug may be different than a blood relatives; I know the hole in a soul that can exist in adoption won’t be filled by my hug. But, today? More Better.

    If Hope decides one day to explore her biological family’s roots and stories? She will do so, “More Better,” given what you have provided and what she and you have created, aka FAMILY.

    Another TV show reference: I remember a famous adoptee did one of the DNA shows and decided to research her adopted family’s roots. She was clear about family; though she was curious about and respectful of her bloodline? She was certain about her family. :o)

  • amypeaclark

    When I was fostering I struggled with my kiddos attachment to her parents, because they had put her life in danger over and over. I did a lot of work to keep her connected to all her many family members, helping her write letters to dad in prison, visit all her siblings and mom, phone calls, built my own relationship with mom, sibs, and all their foster families. I do not miss monthly drives up to the far north, driving in a car triggered some of her worst behaviors, which were dangerous and scary. Kiddo has a new foster mom, In the same town as her bio mom and two of her siblings, and I can see that being six hours away for the year and change she was with me was part of her daily stress. She has a level of calm now that she never had before, even though she may not have all the bells and whistles she had with me. Family, family trauma, absence of family are etched in the bone. At a certain point I drew her my family tree, and she put her self on it which was a wonderful moment. Later she crossed it out when she was mad at me lol. I discovered after she left that she had put it back in again. My family was so wonderful with her and miss her. When we talk I try to keep her connected to what’s going on and to know that they ask about her and still care.

    Thanks as always for sharing your story, I hope you don’t mind me sharing a bit of mine!

    On Sun, Jun 13, 2021 at 9:08 PM AdoptiveBlackMom wrote:

    > AdoptiveBlackMom posted: ” A few nights ago, I stumbled across old > episodes of John Edwards, the medium, on TV. I used to love his show. In > fact, in 2012, I actually attended one of his in-person events here in > Virginia. I”m absolutely a believer that some of us can talk to folks ” >

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