Sunday, 5 June 2011

Reality Check

We hung up after the skype call and I was in shock.

The first thing my husband said to me, “You sure didn’t talk much!”. I didn’t? I didn’t really notice! I tend to be pretty shy, so that’s not really a surprise. And what was I supposed to say anyway? I was too busy trying to take it all in to have room left to think about what to say.

Then I had a mini freak out. Maybe a huge freak out. How can Kevin look like a stranger when we’ve been sharing life stuff for a few weeks already?

It was so different to see them live. I’ve seen pictures, and they look exactly the same as their pictures, but now they’re real.

It’s hard to explain, not as though I thought they were ‘fake’ but to know each person is real, and what they have emailed me is really from each of them; I think of the kids especially. Their personalities shone through each email. I can tell just by reading the writing who each email is from if I never saw the reply address or a signature. To match that up to a live face is overwhelming.

It was like I’ve been living in a fog-filled dream world for the last two weeks, and then today in twenty minutes I had my eyes truly opened. The mist cleared away and this was my reality. I’m the plus-one in a new family.
Email to Kevin, from Haley; March 19, 2011 

Hi Kevin, 

This is the first email to you that I'm struggling to write! I hope you can read this with filtered lenses please, I am going to be as honest as I can be - but sometimes I know I can come across as critical instead of honest, and I don't do too well at censoring myself. So please read it with grace lenses :) and I'll ask for forgiveness in advance. 

It was so wonderful to see you all 'face to face'. Somehow it makes it seem so much more real.

I'm embarrassed that I didn't say much; I'm sorry. I was sort of in shock I guess. There's 5 of you and only one of me, and it's hard for me to take it all in and still have room left in my brain to think about what to say next. With emails it's so much easier because I can take the time I need to think. I'm a fairly quiet person when I don't know people well, and I'm even worse in groups. If I'm at a table with 10 of my dearest friends, it takes a lot to prompt me to join in the conversation.

All that being said...I think I need to right-size my expectations. I've been having these grandiose ideas about visiting for a weekend or I don't know, just big plans for an ideal reunion. I have to quit watching tv shows like The Locator and Find My Family! I guess it's easy to splice a 60 minute awkward silence-filled conversation into a 2 minute sound byte. We're essentially strangers, and you get the benefit of me looking like or sounding like someone in your family, but I'm flying blind. It feels so strange because even though we've had a couple of weeks of emails I still look at you and feel like I don't know you at all. It's surreal, like it's not really my life, but someone else's.

I'm scared because of what happened with Camille. I think I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself to make sure I don't screw this up, but I don't even know what it should look like.

So where do we go from here? I don't know. I'm at a loss. I think skype is so cool because you can see each other, and it's almost like you're in the same room, but it's distracting for me to see you and I'm trying to see me in you and I can't think about what to say. It's info overload. I guess I would like it if you and I could just talk on the phone instead for a while. And I think I would like to ask you a few questions about when I was born if that's ok. And if Linda or the kids wanted to talk, that'd be ok, but I think I'd like it to be 1 on 1 instead of everyone at once.

Ok, so that was long and rambling, sorry. Nick went back to work and I'm just processing it all on my own and thought that you should know what I'm thinking too.

I'd love to talk again soon, but you can email me first and tell me how long and rambling I am sometimes :)

Blessings, Haley 



  1. Amazing how it hits you in the moment isn't it? When I met my b-dad, I couldn't look at him. I saw way too much of myself in him. Plus the first time I talked to him on the phone, neither one of us had too much to say. And that's saying a lot because we both LOVE to talk. I was asked to do the whole Skype thing but turned it down because I don't like being on video (I'm weird like that). I can see how it would be totally overwhelming though to see a bunch of people that are related to you all on one screen.


  2. @Jenn Thanks Jenn! I think I just forgot how awkward skype can be, I had done it a few times previously with my brother-in-law who is overseas, but for some reason I recommended it. Looking back, even though it was awkward, I'm still glad we started out that way. It gave everyone a chance to 'see' each other, and just kind of ripped off the band-aid, you know?