Elk Island National Park and My Story

The Red Chairs at Elk Island National Park

I had originally planned to write a blog about how beautiful my walk was in Elk Island National Park on the weekend.  I intended to touch on the excitement of travelling to other places and seeking out adventures while there.  While I feel like this is an important part of being an outdoors enthusiast, it was not the most pressing issue on my mind after my trip this weekend.

L-R: Sister in law, brother, ME!

On Friday afternoon, I drove up to Sherwood Park for a family visit with my brother, his wife and their two children.  This sounds totally normal and average, except that it is not.  I only just found out I had a brother two years ago.  This sounds crazy, except I’m adopted and so was he. We were both born in different cities to the same biological mom two years apart.  One day, the post adoption registry called me and said, “your brother is looking for you.”  All I’ve ever known is my sister that I grew up with (who is not biologically related to me for sake of factual information, but is as much my sister as any sister could be). I was, to say the least, shocked.

Since then, my brother and I have been working on building a friendship and essentially making things seem normal for the kids, who all are very excited to have new cousins.

I tell everyone I’m adopted, mostly because after some time, you get sick of being someone’s secret.  My mom and dad are wonderful, and have always been super supportive and understanding in regards to my adoption.  They provided me with all the information they had about my family history, and incorporated me into their family at only 13 days old without a second thought.  I grew up knowing I was adopted, but hadn’t met any of my biological family until recently.

Adoption in my case, was a tremendous opportunity, one that drove me to realize how precious life is.  I was given the chance to live my life with a family who could offer me more than she could at the time. It is because of this that I try to seize all the moments and have all of the adventures.

I had opportunity to have some communication with my biological mother, who is still to this day, keeping my brother and I a secret from her family.  I have three biological half sisters who do not know about me, although I do know about them. Our communication was extremely brief, via email, but I was able to tell her she’d be absolutely welcome in our lives should she ever choose to be.  For now, I can see it is too painful for her, and I understand that, even though it feels kind of lame on my end.

Neat finds along the trail.
Whenever I mention that my birth mother gave two of us up for adoption the immediate response is shock, followed by judgment, “how could she do that?” “Didn’t she understand what birth control was?” “How could she just give babies away like that?”  However painful, she did it, for us to have a better life. Another thing to consider is that when you’re asking “how could she” you’re essentially taking away from the fact that because she “could” is the only real reason you can stand there and talk to me about it.  I’m here, only because she “could.”
Hitting the trails in Elk Island National Park

I am so fortunate to have a biological brother with the same set of circumstances as me. I had always wanted a little brother growing up, and here he was all along, just waiting for me to tease and torment him.  I take those opportunities when they come up of course, like any good sibling would.  After all, I was well trained by my older sister.

Now we get to take our kids to enjoy some great adventures together.  We spent some time exploring at Elk Island National Park on the weekend.  It was beautiful there, peaceful, and there were signs of spring everywhere.  I love watching our kids interact together, checking out the fungi on the trees, holding hands, running through the trails, teasing my oldest son about his epic drama over hiking.  If you didn’t know our story, we would just look like another family touring around a National Park on a Saturday afternoon. 

Nothing about my life, or adoption, or the adventures we embark upon is ever perfect.  We strive to do the best we can, just like my biological mother must have tried to do when she discovered she was growing us.  This isn’t much more than a tiny peek into what my life is like, and how complicated these last two years have been for me.  In saying that, I want this blog to be entirely about my story, sometimes it is going to be about hikes, other times, a little more raw.  That is just what makes me who I am and shapes my parenting, my relationships, and my adventures. I hope this challenges the way you think about adoption, and more importantly, the shaming of biological mothers.  I’d hate for anyone to have to feel so alone and isolated in their life story, that they were unable to be honest and share their experience, for fear of being so harshly judged.

For more information on Elk Island National Park visit www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/elkisland/

2 thoughts on “Elk Island National Park and My Story

  1. Thanks for sharing your story Erinn, even though it is raw, and sometimes difficult for you. I did not know all of this about you. I do fully believe that by being completely open and honest with ourselves, and each other, and by being willing to share our story, is the only way we grow, and the best way to truly connect. And through this connection we help each other. <3

  2. Thanks Rachel! I'm big on transperancy in the form of life story. You just never know how you may impact someone else in their own situation by sharing your own. ❤

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