Seventeen years ago, I was blessed to gain a big sister — and two big brothers, but that’s nothing like suddenly having a sister, amiright? They, and their families, are all part of this remarkable birth family journey that’s changed my life in wonderful ways I could never have dreamed of.
Yes, I’ve learned about and experienced sadness as all families do, including when we lost our brother Robin at the young age of 61 (my current age) in January 2009. But it’s all good — no, it’s all GREAT.
And about that sister, who’s not on social media — TODAY (Monday, December 19) is her 68th birthday!
Teresa Ann Workman Zoubovitch, who was too young and unaware to even know our mother Betty was pregnant leading up to my birth and adoption in February 1961, welcomed her new little brother warmly in June 2005 — once she got over the shock.
I’ll always be grateful for her acceptance, love, understanding, patience with my unending stream of questions about the family I never knew until I was 44 years old — and the fact that she and I look so gosh-darn much alike and so much like our mother.
I’m including two photos of Terry with our brothers when she was an adorable little girl, taken in the late 1950s in our hometown of Huntington, West Virginia. The older boy is our brother Crys, who was born in 1944 and is 10 years and 10 months older than Terry. He’ll be 79 on Feb. 28, the same day I’ll be 62, a double birthday I’ve cherished from the moment I learned we shared it.
The other photo is little Terry with our other brother Robin, who was born in July 1947. I love both of these photos so much. It’s a safe bet they were taken by our father Bob, who Crys has told me was a photography buff and had his own darkroom in an upstairs bathroom at the rented duplex they lived in on Eighth Avenue in the late ’50s before Betty and Bob divorced in 1959 — about a year before then conceiving me out of wedlock before fate pulled them apart forever.
As many who have followed my journey know, I learned from a police report and newspaper clippings after finding my siblings — who never knew this — that Bob drowned in the Hillsborough River in Tampa after a drunken tussle in July 1962, apparently having been homeless much of the time he spent there after moving from Huntington.
A few years back when Terry and I visited Huntington (she and Crys and their families have lived in Colorado for decades), she gave in to my pleas to knock on the door of the Eighth Avenue duplex, explain to the resident that Terry used to live there as a young girl and ask if we could look around. It was a brief tour, but I did see that upstairs bathroom where Bob had his darkroom.
I love you so much, Terry. Thank you for being my Big Sis and giving up your role as baby of the family to me. Happy birthday!