I have hesitated writing about this because it has been such a personal and poignant experience, but I had posted earlier that Neil would be looking to connect with his birth parents. It's only fair that I follow through and report back.
Literally, days before Neil reported to his mission, he was able to make contact with both sides of his biological family. We were filled with a jumble of emotions as we pushed our way into the lives of these unsuspecting people. All were caught off guard as you might imagine, but they each opened their hearts to Neil. I'm so glad he was able to leave for his mission with some questions answered, and to feel the support of so many people.
Personally, this has been one of the most moving experiences of my life. For one thing, it has given me a glimpse into why Neil is Neil. His caring nature, his passion for adventure, his fun-loving attitude, his kind heart, his devotion to family--all these characteristics and more are evident in his new extended family. Though our relationships are awkward and new, the admiration and love I had for them before I knew who they were has grown. I've come to realize what I should have thought about before--It wasn't just his birth parents that were involved with the heartache and struggles that surrounded his adoption. There were supportive grandparents, siblings, and eventually, spouses and children who would be affected by the event. I love them all for opening up their lives to Neil and to us. I feel very blessed to be connected in some small way to such amazing and strong people who have been through so much. My heart is full.