Wednesday, January 20, 2016
I thought there might be a few who follow us that felt we had dropped off the planet. Well I just couldn't figure out how to get back into this blog after I started writing a new one with just some of my thoughts that really didn't have anything to do with my GREAT FAMILY
I am happy to report that the Family Blog is back. ! :D
And this is what we have been up to the last few months.
Dennis’ Story of being found
Dennis was adopted, that is almost where this story begins. He was adopted by two very loving and wonderful people who raised him in wonderful circumstances. He was well loved and grew up knowing that he was adopted. His parents were never secretive about that part, but all they knew was that he was part Native American, Born in Bremerton Washington, and that he was a ward of the state. They encouraged him in his desire to learn about the Pacific Northwest Indians and fostered his love of all things ocean and beach.
He was curious about his birth Mother, and a few times mentioned that he would like to know his heritage and medical history, but never went looking for her as he was also told, “Somethings are just best left alone”. So He did.
In July of 2014 Governor Inslee in Washington State, declared that all sealed adoption records for persons who were adopted before 1993 should be unsealed. Dennis filled out the paperwork and received his original birth certificate within a few weeks. We started looking up the birth mothers name, Olive May George Costa, and after a bit of sleuthing, located her in a censes in the tribal records for the Port Gamble Tribe. Dennis contacted the Tribe in September 2014, and was given contact information for Patricia Rudd, who we would have to work through in order to get any more information.
Patricia was very happy to help and after looking at a copy of the Birth Certificate, found his Mother on the tribal rolls for the Port Gamble S’Klalams. She was sad to report that his Mother had passed away in 1982, but was willing to help Dennis fill out the paperwork for enrolling in the tribe which his mother had belonged to. In October of 2014, He started this process and while we were waiting for all the steps to take place, Dennis received a joyful piece of news. In July of 2015 Patricia called to let him know that he was the youngest of 6 siblings, and that she had found contact information for the oldest Sister, Sharon Black. Sharon and her Sister Cathie had been told by their mother Olive, before she passed away, that she had had another Baby and that they needed to find him.
The circumstances of this conversation are in and of themselves a tiny miracle. Before Dennis was born, all 5 of his older siblings were put into Foster Care and then put up for adoption by their Father, while their Mother was recovering from domestic abuse. They were, all 5, adopted by wonderful Parents, Dean and Alta Jacobson, and grew up as a group, thinking that they were all that there was. It should be noted that Dean and Alta had already raised children of their own and then adopted the 5 Costa children along with another Girl, Barbara.
Upon the untimely Death of the oldest Brother Gary, Olive came to the funeral at the invitation of Alta, and shared with the girls that she had birthed another boy after the kids had been taken from her. This boy, she told the girls, she had named Donald, and they should go and find him. They looked for about a year to no avail as they were looking in the wrong state, Mis-information on the part of Olive whose memory was not in very good shape.
After some time, Sharon contacted the Tribe in Port Gamble and left her contact information, “In case Donald ever comes looking for his Mom”. During the process of enrollment, The Tribal member working on Dennis’ paperwork remembered that she had contact information for Olive’s son, Donald, when they realized that Dennis and Donald were one and the same, the passed this information on to him.
Dennis sent an email to Sharon, and asked if she was looking for a Donald Costa, She replied and said she had been looking for him since 1986, and asked are you he? Dennis replied, “I am he”, and the phone calls that ensued were joyful.
There have been many tears of joy and love, and sadness in these last few months. Joy at finding out that he was not alone, there are Brothers and Sisters who want him in their lives. Sadness at the discovery that His Mother and older Brother Gary have passed on and he will have to wait for that reunion.
We attended the Tribal Council meeting in October of 2015 and Dennis was officially voted back into his tribal family. We went up and spent Thanksgiving with his Uncles and Aunts, some cousins, and one of His Sisters, Cathie, who drove all the way up from Utah to surprise him for the holiday. He has had such a warm welcome from the four remaining siblings.
We are anxious to see what the future holds, canoe trips in the sound in hand carved canoes that Dennis will be able to help make. Salmon bakes on the beach of Point Julia, complete with clams and oysters that seem to want to just walk up to your fire, tribal stories and Artwork to learn, and then pass on. So many cousins and Aunties to get to know and laugh with, and Uncles who want to pass on their skills and traditions, all of this and more we look forward to. Thank you for joining us on this journey and encouraging Dennis to follow his heart, it has led him to some pretty amazing people.