Imagine being lied to your whole life; being told heinous stories about your mother and why you were separated from her. Imagine, for over 30 years, being told that you don't have any other family; then one day a group of people walk up to your doorstep and say, "Hi, we're your family from Chicago." Sounds like a Lifetime original movie doesn't it? Well, it's the story of how I met my long lost cousins in Louisiana.
My aunt had nine children, the youngest being two sets of twins (a set of girls and a set of boys). Unfortunately, she and the children's father were too caught up in the hard Chicago streets to take care of them. Unable to take care of all nine children, her mother (my grandmother) took in the oldest five, and contacted their grandmother on their father's side to take care of the baby twins. She did so, taking them to Louisiana, and never contacting anyone in Chicago again.
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Ever since then, my family did everything we could to try and find them; However, there was one thing we didn't try: my mom googled the twins' grandmother, and up came a picture of her obituary (she died only a few months prior), with the links of information about the twins. Jackpot!! My mother clicked on a link that was a website for one of the twin girls' business. On the website was a telephone number to reach her. Mom called the number and put the phone on speaker so I could hear. When my cousin picked up the phone, and when my mom told her who she was, all I heard was screaming. She was crying and yelling, saying how happy she was that after years of searching for the rest of her family, her search had finally been over. I can't explain how I felt listening to her cry tears of joy; the emotions of that telephone conversation are indescribable. However, that was nothing compared to what I felt when we traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to visit the twins for the first time.
We left for Louisiana on June 30, 2011. Of course with my family came the five older brothers and sisters and their families. Their mother died, and so did their father. Seeing the siblings come together for the first time, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I was happy to see everyone reunited, upset that it took so long for this life-changing event to happen.. it was just extraordinary. When we were all cried out and sat down, we talked about the twins' being brought to Louisiana; they told us they were constantly lied to, saying they were told that their mother was in a mental home, that she committed suicide.. every time they asked for information about their mother, they were told a new story. They said they were told they had no other family, and that their mother never wanted them; but they saw through all that; they knew that there was a family out there to call theirs. We set the record straight, telling them that my aunt was a very lovable, sweet person, but she wasn't fit to raise her children.
After the talk, there was fun; we had a picnic, spent a night in downtown New Orleans, and I ate beignets for the first time, which are delicious!! We intended on staying for a weekend, but ended up staying a whole week because we just weren't ready to go home. Spending time with my family was truly a heart-warming experience. This was the best family vacation ever!
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