This is nothing about Panama, but it’s been on my mind for a while, so I’m posting it.

Secrets and deceit have a way of blowing up a family, or at least causing all kinds of trouble. We probably know at least someone or a few people who have stories. I met someone who hadn’t talked to his family in years after he found out that his parents weren’t his parents and that he was born to another relative. He felt that he had been lied to, denied a truth that everyone else knew and that he could trust no one. That’s just one story. I have heard a number of others over the years.

Then came the DNA tests. In recent years I have been hearing many more stories. Someone has a brother they never met. There are relatives with no connections, or connections to other relatives they never knew about. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I’m one of those stories.

Fortunately, someone gave my parents the good advice to tell me I was adopted before anyone else found out. I knew it, and when I was 20 years old I was able to locate my mother. Since then we have had a happy and friendly relationship. But, she was a high school girl and I was a SECRET, never to be revealed. He knew he had sisters and all he could do was honor her wishes and not look for them.

So, DNA! That was legal, right? He just wanted to know my heritage and nationality (overwhelmingly English, who knows?) If I connected with the family, that was just an accident, right? 🤥 First I connected with a cousin, and then with one of my sisters. By then it was obvious that the secret was only half cracked, and my mother went ahead and told my other two sisters. It has worked out better than I ever dared to dream, and my sisters are loving and welcoming. I also have a large extended family that I am getting to know little by little.

Now someone else on the other side of the family got DNA results and found out that his father is not his father. Needless to say, she is reeling and trying to process this news. The good news is that her new father and her family are very excited and eager to meet her. I am very glad that I was able to speak with her as I have recently been through a similar experience. Yes, it’s exciting, but also terrifying. Who are these new people? Will I like them? Will they like me? Are they psychopaths? Ha! Will they want more from me than I can give, or will I want more from them than they can give? Who knew about this and hid it from me? Who can I trust? Whose version of “the truth” is closest to the actual truth, if there is such a thing. So if he is my father, my siblings are now my half siblings? How do you feel about that? Everyone has feelings and the person is in the middle of all of this while he also works out his own feelings. Its alot.

One piece of advice from me, for what it’s worth ($.02), get your secrets out of the closet ASAP, or better yet, don’t keep them in the closet at all. People will probably be more understanding than you think, and if they’re not, do you really need them?

In other news, it looks like summer has returned. It is very hot, sunny and windy, but we have had enough rain to increase the humidity, which makes it feel worse. Even the whistling bugs of summer whistled last night. Panamanians who have lived here all their lives say that this is highly unusual. Some say that part of the problem is El Niño, which is warming the oceans and causing more heat.

Another interesting thing: there was drama in the neighborhood WhatsApp group (all Panamanians). I have been a member for many years and this is the first time I have seen anything like this. Someone was complaining that our neighborhood park is a mess, money had been allocated but why wasn’t everything done and looks perfect etc etc etc? Messages flew fast and furious for a couple of days. I’ve been on social media and forums for a long time, so it was very interesting to see this. I was very impressed with the courtesy, friendliness and loving ways Panamanians have to tell someone to move back and settle down. If the rest of social media were like this, it would be a different world.

In personal news, I am happy to say that my mother left the hospital shortly after we left Oklahoma and is doing much, much better. We are rested and recovered from our colds, the car is running again and the last weekend off could not have come at a better time. So all is well in our little world, and we certainly can’t complain about being cold. 😁

About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.

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