Ireland…home of fairies and long lost birth-ancestors!

I can’t say why I’ve always been drawn to the country of Ireland. I chose it as the setting for my second novel, Chasing Eternity, without really knowing why. Often in my writing, things like plot lines, character traits, and settings choose themselves, regardless of my best intentions. I usually just roll with it, knowing that my subconscious is where my true intellect resides. Those islands off the western coast of Ireland seemed the perfect spot for my very, very, very elderly characters: remote, entrenched in the old, Gaelic culture, removed from the whims and niceties of modern society. I did a ton of research on those islands…the Aran Islands, Inishbofin, the Blasket Islands.

I never traveled there, although I really wanted to, mostly because I believed that an author needs to truly know an area if she’s chosen it as a setting. But alas, life with a family has a way of rendering international travel a Santa-list wish, so I contented myself with the internet and books…besides, those islands had become almost fictional in my mind. Craggy, foggy, lonely, magical, pure of soul. Actually setting foot on one of those islands seemed outlandish, like stepping back in time or into the pages of a book.

If you’ve been following my adoption journey, you’ll know that I’ve recently connected with my birth mother, Lori. It has been a life-altering, heart-warming experience for me. Since our face-to-face visit (with her awesome sister Darla!) last March, I’ve been toeing into the waters of a family and heritage I didn’t know I had. I’ve been exchanging letters and photos with my birth grandmother, Winona, a stunningly pretty almost-90-year-old living in Indiana! Lori also helped me to connect with my birth father’s sister, but unfortunately their family hasn’t communicated with him a very long time and no one knows where he is. He is a Vietnam veteran, and it sounds like the war did a number on him, post-combat. This is in fact a primary reason he and Lori chose to put me up for adoption, and soon afterward, divorce.

But I am now a Facebook friend to his sister, another lovely birth-aunt. She has given me some much-appreciated information about their family’s heritage and medical background. For instance, (drum roll please) my ancestors were very much IRISH! I just knew it. You only have to look at my blue-eyed, red-haired, freckly son Dorsey to see that there must be some luck-of-the-Irish in the blood, and now we know. In fact, my birth great-great-grandmother was from County Clare, Ireland, on the west coast, and married a fellow Irishman, a man whose last name (the same last name I would have had had I not been adopted) now adorns many spots in his Ireland hometown, not the least of which is a book shop. Now my husband and I are in the process of planning a trip to Ireland with the kids for the summer, completing a large and stretchy circle that began back in the 19th century. Isn’t it amazing how life really can be as magical as an Irish fairy tale?


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