*For the sake of simplicity and to eliminate confusion in this post, “Mom” refers to the mother I grew up with; “Dad” refers to the father I grew up with; “Birthmother” and “Birthfather” refer to my biological parents, whom I’ve never met in person.
I’m adopted. And back in 1982, adoptions were closed – mostly all of the time. My parents never got to meet my birthparents. All communication was done from their attorney to the birthparents’ attorney. My mom received information about my birthfamily simply because she thought to ask some information about them. Growing up, I knew that my birthmother had brown hair and brown eyes; and my birthfather had blonde hair and blue eyes. I knew how old they were: 16 and 19, respectively. I knew that my birthmother was 5’2″ and my birthfather 5’4″ (people of small stature). I knew that my birthmother’s father was a Mounted Policeman (rode a horse). I knew that my birthmother’s mother was adopted, too. I knew they were Catholic and wanted me to be raised the same. The only other piece of information that I knew were my nationalities: Irish, Scottish, and Italian.
Growing up, there was no confusion that I was of Irish or Scottish decent. I’m redheaded. “You must be Irish”, strangers would exclaim upon meeting me or seeing my red hair. I’d say back “You bet!” I was very proud to be Irish. It wasn’t until later on in my life that I found out that more redheads are in Scotland… but whatever, I still loved being Irish.
Fast forward to my college years. My roommate, junior year, wanted to get her ear pierced again (on that little flap part that covers the ear hole…this gives me the heeby-geebies just thinking about it) so we (me, her, and our other roommate) went to a tattoo/piercing parlor to get it done. My other roommate decided when we got there that she did want to get a tattoo – she had been vocally contemplating it all day. So she decided to get a star tattoo on her butt. We laughed and laughed. While we were waiting for the tattoo artist, I was looking through the pages of the tattoo book. What did I see but a shamrock! It was so cute! So green! So IRISH!!!! My Irish Pride took over me and I decided to get another tattoo. (I have a butterfly on my hip. I know, how original. Not.) I got the shamrock tattooed on my butt, ala Xavier Roberts and the Cabbage Patch Kids. It’s small. Probably no more than an inch wide and I’m lucky it hasn’t stretched one bit from being pregnant twice. (Unlike my butterfly. Insert sadface here.)
Fast forward about a month. (In another post, I’ll detail my search for my birthfamily. It didn’t take me long AT ALL which was very unexpected.) The first time I spoke to my birthmother… it was really strange. Good, but strange. She had been told I was born at 12:12am but I had grown up being told I was born at 12:24am. Other slight inconsistancies occured. Such as my nationalities. According to my birthmother, I was indeed Irish, Scottish, and Italian – although not in that order and not simply those three. I was more Scottish than Irish. And my nationality background includes the following: Scottish, Scotch-Irish (? is this really any different than Irish or Scottish?), Italian, English, German, Dutch, Blackfoot American Indian, and JEWISH. Apparently, my birthmother’s mother had been able to trace her biological roots and find her birthfamily or information about them- quite unheard of in the days in which she had been adopted. Turns out, they’re Jewish. (This is not a bad thing, of course, simply funny considering I was raised Catholic and by blood, then, am Jewish. Weird and also slightly explains my lifelong fascination with the Jewish religion…)
Okay, so back to the Irish thing. So here I am, with my lifelong pride of being Irish and a freshly inked Shamrock Tattoo to show it – and I’m not even Irish! Well, I am… but I’m a whole lot of other things besides Irish and not nearly as Irish as I once thought.
I LOVE my shamrock tattoo. And I love that I have a good story to tell about it. 🙂 I’ll never regret getting it because although I’m a real MUTT in terms of nationalities – I’m the most proud to be Irish. 🙂