The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

Smith’s journey leads to long lost relative


Lin Smith of Goldendale recently discovered she has a sibling she never knew. In this conclusion of her story, Smith shares how this extraordinary life event occurred.

My journey does have a happy ending. For the last seven or eight years, I have spent many hours, days, weeks, months and a little money trying to find my birth family. Resources have so much improved through the years and the internet has been like liquid gold when you are looking for answers. There are ancestry sites, genealogy groups and public records at your fingertips. Occasionally you need human assistance and there is an abundance of that also.

I eventually got my adoption records unsealed because of a woman in the county clerk’s office who interceded for me with the court system. Those records held a wealth of information and filled me with an excitement I can’t even explain. I am now 63 years old and most everyone from my childhood is dead—except one person! I have a living blood relative and she is my sister! There was a handwritten note in the records which merely mentioned the last name of the family who had taken care of her.

Finally, about six months ago I was contacted by another researcher who knew someone who had a very similar story. Her name was not Jacqueline, but the timeline, geographical location and some family names were all a match. It was worth checking out and I wasted no time in contacting that person. It turned out to be my sister’s step brother and we talked for about an hour and a half. I spent most of that time answering questions from him designed to prove I wasn’t a fruitcake and I ended the call with a promise from him to contact me again if my sister wanted to talk with me. At the time of the phone call, she didn’t even know I existed!

Three days later her step brother called me back to say she was astonished that she had a blood sister and yes, she wanted to talk with me. What an incredible rush of emotions: joy, excitement, anticipation, and fear! I had been looking for my sister Jacqueline for years but her name had been changed to Cheryl when she was adopted and they had actually changed her birth date also.

I called her and we talked and talked and talked. Now we talk every week. We have not met in person yet because neither of us has the money to make the trip. But, I am saving for air fare and Cheryl and her husband are planning a trip to Goldendale as soon as the snow melts in northern Wisconsin and they get their motor home fit to travel. Who knows, maybe when she gets here she will stay. We’ve been apart too many years and we have a lot of catching up to do.

The main thing I’m really writing for is to encourage the reader who is on a “journey”: never give up! It may take some time (mine took 60 years) but you will feel such satisfaction, fulfillment and excitement. Any journey has twists and turns as well as mountains and valleys. There isn’t always a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow—sometimes we just find a smug little leprechaun. But the journey itself helps us grow and learn more about others as well as ourselves.

My Journey of Discovery is coming to a close, but a new journey is on the horizon and I can hardly wait to see what life has in store for me!


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