Shae Lee


I still to this day don’t know what way I would have preferred to find out about the truth about my origins, maybe mine was the best way for me. However, looking back and trying to create some fantasy resolution in my head won’t change the truth that would inevitably shake me. I suppose I’ll start where most stories tend to, in the beginning, but the beginning I can recall as my true beginning wouldn’t be something I would be made privy to until later in my life.

I was so fortunate that for the first four years of my life, my lack of paternity wasn’t something I even noticed. My friends had Dads, brothers, and sisters, and whatnot but I felt simply privileged that they all seemed to have the same type of family and I got to have not just a Mom, but an Aunt, two Uncles, a Grandmother, and a Grandfather sharing the home I lived in. My Aunt was a mere twelve years older than me, my Uncles fourteen and sixteen years older and in them, I got all the fun of older siblings and all the protective nature you’d find in Aunts and Uncles. I had the cool big wheel with flames on the side and a Harley Davidson sticker on the back and all the attitude my Uncle could teach me to carry. My hair was always some crazy new way from my aunt who saw me as her own ‘my size’ doll and my taste in music already was far better than the neighborhood kids thanks to my oldest uncle and Mom.

All of this splendor would eventually grow only grander, but insight curiosity. My Mom would eventually bring a man home to meet me a few weeks after an adorable meeting when he thought she had been purchasing a birthday cake for her dog, not her daughter. From basically the moment we met each other we became inseparable, but his naturally paternal instincts toward me raised equally natural questions in my young mind. I would ask my Mom if he was my Dad, to only have it gently explained to me that he wasn’t biologically and that my biological father was, as she put it at the time, ‘A Ghost’. I had barely felt a sting from it as I had never at this point felt any lack of love, in fact, I now grew to understand how a Dad loves his daughter and within a few short years he would have taken steps to not only marry my Mom, but make me legally his.

There is so much more depth in the stories that would sprout from these, but they’d be better suited for a different setting. I’ll cut to a few years after I was adopted by the man to be forever my Dad, and even got a new little brother. Eventually, my parents would become divorced and the Man that would far too soon enter into our lives after that, only reaffirmed what I had already known of my own luck in having the Dad I did. That would go on to be the only thing I would ever be grateful for to him, that and my second little brother. Around the time I was eleven or so there would be a possibly Freudian slip of the tongue by my Mom leading me to realize that my biological father may actually not be dwelling on some distant post-life plane, but instead living not far from where we were.

I’d understandably have questions and asked them to only be answered with what then felt like to be anger, but I’ve come to realize that often fear and anger have a similar tone. It would be a few more years before I’d muster the courage to ask her again about him to which she would blurt out that he had never wanted me, that he was a bad man, and that when she showed me to him he denied me. It would be another length of time I can’t specifically recall how long before I would be able to get a name, we’ll say Harold to protect any identities wishing for anonymity. This fact would be made slightly humorous by the fact that my Mom had opposite gender names already picked out for myself and my brothers for if we had been born as we weren’t. I don’t recall what my brothers would have been but very clearly recall her telling me I would have been named ‘Harold or Henry or something like that’. It blew my mind that she had been telling me a truth about my origin the whole time without me knowing.

Some life events happen, as they do, and I came to a point in my own story where meeting Harold was something I needed, there were too many blind spots in the stories I had heard that needed clearing up for me. I was ready to simply hate this man, to get the info I wanted, and then as quickly as I had gone into his life — I intended to leave, after of course giving him a piece of my mind to chew on. I located his stepmother who instantly knew who I was, it was in this phone call that I learned that things may not have been so black and white. She made quick work of getting together with me, and bringing me to the reunion that it seemed everyone had been longing for. Finally, I met Harold, given my resemblance to my Mother’s family I wasn’t shocked to find him having very light hair and eyes, a sharp contrast to myself. I couldn’t even muster an angry thought when I saw him, specifically when I saw him see me.

I found out his side of the story and blended my Mother’s truths with his. I knew the real truth likely lay somewhere in the middle. They had both had their share of turbulence in their past and showed much reserve when talking about their lives, so that felt like my best course of action. Mine and Harold’s relationship would grow exponentially and he was a facet of my life, and eventually in my sons. There was, yet again more life between this and the next parts I’ll tell you about that are better suited for a differently themed share-all, so bear with me as we fast forward again.

Eventually, after plenty of my own turbulence, I would find myself in, what is still my current relationship with a man who would prove to be my savior in many ways and the Dad to my son that mine was for me all those years ago. One Christmas we decided to surprise him with a DNA test, his family was, and still is, very into their own genealogy. I was excited to watch his excitement unfold with all the possibilities of new family connections a few weeks later when his results came. He even ended up being reached out to by a cousin that seemed to share a similar story to my own, but at the time, I hadn’t even realized and wouldn’t until after the following Christmas when my son and I took our own DNA test.

Our results would come within minutes of each other; we’d even see my daughter pop up in the results whom I had to make the painful decision to relinquish for adoption. At the time it ached me, but looking back I remain confident that given the situation I was in, it would have likely cost her, my, and my son’s life; and while it still hurts I don’t regret it. For those wondering too, yes eventually the three of us would be reunited for a few wonderful meetings. Back to the results and why I’m boring you with this whole story to begin with….the inevitable TWIST!

I opened the app to view my results and didn’t understand at first what I was looking at. I kind of rushed through so I could share with Harold what I found because he was excited to see and it would likely be the deciding factor in whether or not he too would spit in a tube. As I scrolled, I saw a bunch of names I didn’t recognize, not shocking because he wasn’t close to his family. When I scrolled back to the top something hit me, hard, H.A. Parent/Child relationship. I innocently thought to myself, how weird it was that Harold forgot that he took a test already. Then once again a harsh smack of reality, Harold’s initials weren’t H.A, they were H.G. I shut the app down completely and ignored it for a few days, well I tried to.

Eventually, I would open it again and after some FB sleuthing, I figured it all out Harold wasn’t my father at all. In denying me at birth, he was in fact right. A man named Henry was my biological father and I carefully gathered information from where I could and approached my Mom with it hoping for answers. She would break into tears after first denying what I had found out until I showed her his face, and in it my own. From then she would say something that to this day honestly still stings, ‘I didn’t tell you, I was embarrassed, I was taking a lot of drugs and trying to kill it’, as you can imagine that cut deeper than words can express: I…WAS…IT. I was told initially that I was the product of a fling and that she barely knew him.

I would later learn that this ‘fling’ was months long and even resulted in photographs in different pregnancy stages whilst they lived together with my now, new Aunt, cousins, and Grandmother. I know the truth sucks when it puts you in an unflattering light, but I still can’t fathom how anyone would find this light better to bask in. The lies halted me from seeking more information from sources that I had been and after about a five-minute conversation with him. I learned that wasn’t the dark alleyway I wanted to walk down either. I would discover I had nine ‘or so’ more siblings, and eventually, this whole mess would result in a few new, and very close relationships, none of which would be parental, but I feel no lack of love in my life as it is now.

I have new family that I speak to near daily, and a sense of my own worth now that has granted me the ability to take back relationships that were likely hindered by the truths kept from me which inevitably seeped through their cracks. Some volatility obviously ensued when things hit the way they did, but I like to think I came out on top, and even, at present now that the truth was acknowledged by my mom, we may even be closer because of it.