Born (in 1968), raised, and still living in Michigan, I am a daughter, a wife, a mother of 6 (his 4, my 1, and our 1 together), and grammy of 9. I was adopted into a loving family a month after I was born, and raised in a small farming town in the thumb of Michigan. I loved playing sports in high-school, basketball was my favorite, and I have always had a love for pretty much anything that involves using my hands to create.
Like most people, I had big dreams about my future when I was fresh out of highschool. I had a great job, was newly married, and had taken all but one class needed for an associates degree in advertising / marketing, when my life came to a excruciatingly painful stand still. In August of 1990, four months after giving birth to my first son, I became bedridden overnight. It took a little over two months for doctors to diagnose me with rheumatoid arthritis, during which time I felt as though I lost everything, eventually divorcing, moving away from the small town, losing my job and health insurance, and starting a completely different life from the one I once dreamed of. The fifteen years that followed were paved with affliction, haziness, and ambivalence, although I did persevere with a few small wins, and by God’s grace, I survived. I worked as a waitress, a bartender, and a customer service representative until eventually starting a small graphic design and sign business in 1996. A career that allowed me to make my own hours hinged upon the progression of my disease.
The following five years were a life changing time. I met and married the man of my dreams, together we purchased our beautiful home, and in 2000 I gave birth to our youngest son. For the next 5 years, I sporadically sought medical treatment though I still not able to obtain medical insurance. Life was good, and my business was successful until 2004, when my disease took a downward spiral. Not having medical treatment for 15 years caused permanent damage to all my joints, and I reluctantly but inescapably applied for disability, which I was granted, and in March of that year, I started a new immunosuppressive drug called Humira. Six months after starting this drug, my life slowly began to change for the better. The excruciating pain I had felt daily for the past 15 years began to slowly subside. The diagnosis of rheumatoid, like all autoimmune diseases, is a chronic disease that has negative life changing physical, psychological and social upheaval. It has caused irrevocable alterations to my life and has redefined the very meaning of my existence. My life, for the most part, is confined to my recliner and my heat pad, only venturing out for doctor appointments, occasional grocery shopping or dinner with my family. My young, healthy, athletic self could never have imagined that 35 years in the future I would be taking 6 prescription drugs + another 10 vitamins and supplements twice a day to procure a somewhat normal life.
My parents told me at a young age that I was “special”, I was adopted. They chose me and my brother, who is 4 years younger, because they could not have children of their own. When I was a teenager, I became curious about who my biological parents were, but being born during the closed-adoption era, there was limited information. My mom gave me a file with all the information surrounding my adoption including non-identifying information, and that was all that was available to me at that time. After my son was born, and after I was diagnosed with rheumatoid, my curiosity spiked about my biological parents. Who did my son inherit his platinum blonde hair from, and was rheumatoid hereditary? In 1994 I purchased my first computer, and with the invention of the internet (AOL), I began searching online in adoption forums to no avail. It wasn’t until 2011 when I saved up enough money to hire a CI (confidential intermediary) through the court where my adoption was finalized. The CI found my biological mother, but she had passed away just 6 months prior from leukemia. I was given her name, her photo, and the names of 3 half siblings, who long story short, wanted nothing to do with me. During the next two years, I researched my family tree using Ancestry.com and familysearch.org, plus I also submitted a swab for DNA testing to 23andme.com. I immersed myself in the research, finding out that my biological mother and her brother had also been adopted, but eventually finding their biological parents, which then led to tracing my maternal tree back to at most 17X grandparents in 1380. I decided at that time what I would make a website of my maternal bloodlines for future generations. I also made a family tree book for my maternal line, and both sides of my adopted tree. It took me another 2 ½ years to save up enough money to have the same CI search for my biological father. Long story short, he denied contact. But with the help of 23andme and one particular low percentage match, I found him. It took another 8 years to do it, but I found him. No dispute, no doubt. He had married four years after I was born and had three children. I have not, and will not contact him. He made his choice, and I have made mine. The long desired questions I had have been answered, and there is no need to disrupt his life. Over the past 2 years, I have traced at least one of my paternal lines back to Adam and Eve, and many others back to the Viking age. Seems hard to believe, but I finally know where I came from, who some of my ancestors are, and even valuable health information. I ended up making a separate website for my paternal line as well. This has been my journey that with the support and invaluable help from my sons, eventually led me to starting this website. I want to share all the forms and research material I have used in my search, while also making available all the decal designs, forms, and information I have designed over the years. The path I had thought I would follow is not the path that God had in store for me. His path has led me to be the person I am today, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Our 2 oldest sons are not in this picture, as one now lives in Florida, and the other in Colorado.
I sincerely appreciate and value your support and kind words. KarensCubby will be built with your business and your referrals, so please continue to check back often as I will be updating photos, adding new items, and posting regularly.