Hello and thank you for coming around this section of my blog! As the title suggests, I’ve dedicated this part to sharing my ancestral journey. I grew up with my birth mother’s family, and didn’t have any relationship with my birth father or his side of the family. I’ve spent the first 30 years of my life thinking one particular man was my biological father, and that his heritage was half-Irish and half-Italian, and I spent nearly my entire childhood without a father figure (sans the first couple years of my life where my mother was still with my legal [birth certificate] father, before they split up, only for me to be reunited with him when I started life as an adult in my 20s). I’ve spent the better part of my life looking for my biological father, and trying to learn more about my paternal roots.
You’re probably wondering [or you will wonder as you read through my ancestral journey] why I’m using terms like birth mother, legal/birth certificate father, etc. If you’re confused by my use of these terms of parentage, I’ll further explain. Some people only have biological parents, and some may not only have biological parents, though their biological parents may have separated and found other partners (“stepparents”). Personally, I have 2 other parent types actively involved in my life, aside from the type that’s biological. The following technical terms you’ll see here on my blog while reading about my ancestral journey are biological/birth/natural, step, and legal/birth certificate (all are acceptable for 3 different types of parents).
Please note: when I use these terms here on my site or on any of my social media accounts (i.e. Facebook, Instagram), I DO NOT specifically use them to represent my emotional/relational connections to any of my parents. I also DO NOT use these terms to identify the strength of each of my bonds, as they’re all unique and special in their own way. Because I have multiple parent types in my life, it’s incredibly easy for many people to become confused by which mother or which father I’m referring to in conversation. My maternal grandmother [whom I live with and take care of] is a prime example of this. Anytime I talk about what my “Dad” is up to [when I forget to mention ahead of time which one I’m talking about], she always has to ask me which one, “Bio or Bob?” I have to admit, if I was in her shoes, I’d be just as confused too. So, I use the terms bio/birth/natural, step, and legal/birth certificate to identify which parent I’m talking about. I’ve listed them each briefly below for you to have a well-rounded understanding of what they mean to me in my ancestral journey.
BIOLOGICAL / BIRTH / NATURAL
Naturally, like every human being on this planet, I have a biological father and mother whose genes and personal connections with one another have made it possible for me to be born and to exist.
Birth Mom (BM) – this is my preferred technical term for the mother who gave birth to me, though sometimes when I’m speaking about her (may she RIP), I may refer to her in shorthand as BM or Mama. In my heart, she’s known to me as Mama or Mama Bear.
Birth Father (BF) or Bio Dad – these are my preferred technical terms to identify my biological father. He’s not listed on my birth certificate as my father, because he wasn’t married to my mother at the time of my birth, and he also didn’t know that my mother was pregnant with me, so he never knew I existed until I was on the verge of turning 31 years old.
LEGAL / BIRTH CERTIFICATE FATHER
Legal / Birth Certificate Father (BCF) – by legal definition, this means he is the man my mother was married to when I was born, and in the eyes of the law there was no other father figure in the picture to contest paternity. Therefore, the Commonwealth of Virginia put on my birth certificate the name of the man my mother was married to, and his last name is the one I still legally carry to this day. When writing, it’s easiest for me to just say BCF, but I will also use legal father as well.
Birth Certificate Mother (BCM or BM) – this is not a technical term I use very often, as I prefer the terms bio/birth mom and stepmom to identify which type of mother I’m talking about, though sometimes I might use shorthand for BCM or BM for my biological mother.
Please Note: In the past, some have confused this Legal Father term with Adopted Father. These parent types are similar in their technical sense as fathers with legal bearing. However, an Adopted Father will have adoption papers to show they’ve gone through the court system to establish their parental rights. A Legal Birth Certificate Father doesn’t require a judge’s approval for their parental rights status, because he’s married to the child(ren)’s mother at the time of the birth of the child(ren) in question, unless paternity and/or parental rights are otherwise challenged by another individual or entity through the court system.
STEPMOTHER / STEPFATHERS
Stepmother – I have a stepmother who is married to my biological father. In my heart, she’s known to me as Mama Shannon.
Stepfathers – My biological mother never remarried, though my legal father did. His first husband was also my first stepfather. However, since the passing of my stepfather (may he RIP), my legal father has remarried. This is how I have a second [equally awesome] stepfather.
So, now that we’ve got all that out of the way, I’m thrilled to open up the story of my paternal roots and genealogical discoveries. There are several parts. There are six posts about my entire journey, and one is still pending (but not for too long!). Check out all six below (they’re listed in chronological order), and stay tuned for the 7th and final post of this series. There are plenty of goodies within the six published posts, such as photos and a video of meeting my birth father for the first time, so I truly hope you enjoy your read. ^_^