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  • June 6, 2009
    7:31 p.m.

    Hi Lisa,
    I know this is really informal but I tried to contact you recently through New Life and they didn't have any forwarding addresses for you.
    I've been thinking about you for a while and wanted to send you my graduation announcement.
    If you would like to establish contact, please let me know.
    I really want to know how you are doing and tell you about all of the things I've been up to.

    All the best,
    Janna
    -------------------------------------
    11:48 p.m.

    Dear Janna,
    I cried when I read your message! It has always been my desire to get to know you when you were ready.
    I've been thinking about it a lot lately, even looked up New Life online.
    Not only have I been curious to know you and about your life, my entire family has.
    My parents ask me often when I will be finding you, as do my children.
    I just let everyone know that you sent me this message and they are all very excited!
    My guess is that you are graduating from college and I want to say congratulations!!! I would be honored for you to send me an announcement.
    I have a million and one questions and am dying to see what you look like!
    How are your parents doing? I hope all is well with them. Please say hello to them and give them my love.
    Below is all my contact information. Any one of these methods will work for me!
    Please contact me ANY time you want or are able. I stay up late most nites. I can't wait to talk to you!

    Lisa
  • When I look back at that first message I sent, I'm kind of shocked about how casual and light I was. I wasn't too worried that she would reject me because she had contacted the adoption agency a couple of years before I made contact. Around my college graduation, I went looking for Lisa.

    I checked the traditional channels first - adoption agency, people searches. But everything came up dry. She had moved too many times, changed her number too frequently.

    And then it dawned on me - why hadn't I tried Facebook?

    I typed her name, hit enter, and there she was. The first name and picture on the screen.

    I wasn't even supposed to know her last name, but I had discovered it while looking through the photo album she left me. Right above my bassinet there was a card with her last name scribbled on it.

    The long Facebook messages continued on for almost two and a half years. It was rough going at first - I mean, how do you start to share your whole life with someone? How would we get to know each other?

    For the longest time I contacted her with a dummy Facebook profile, one that was stripped down and bare bones. No last name, no pictures from high school, no silly wall posts from friends. I wanted to control the interaction - only reveal as much as I was ready to. Sometimes there were huge gaps between messages. I wavered on where I thought the relationship would go, and why I was doing it. I think I thought it would be as it was when my parents were in contact with her - an occasional letter, pictures and christmas cards.

    Gradually I let go and began to open up. In December 2011, shortly before my nephew Ashton was born, we started communicating on G-chat and texting. This photo of Ashton was the first text Lisa sent me.

    I was still scared to talk on the phone. It was an unreasonable fear, I know, but I was afraid to hear her voice and that it might become real in a way I wasn't prepared for. Finally I caved and called her in September 2012. That phone call helped clear the air between us and paved the way for my upcoming trip.

    There's no going back now.
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