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The Go Between—Rochelle makes a new connection

The Go Between — Rochelle makes a new connection

Early morning, December 11, I received a text from my son, Ben. It read something like, Have you received any emails from 23andMe?” I answered, Not sure.” Ben went on to say that a fifty-seven-year-old man, Jay Minsky, had emailed him, believing they could be related. He and Ben were a twenty-six percent match. That’s significant, maybe cousins.

Throughout the morning, research-driven Ben texted with Jay and learned his birth father’s name was on his birth certificate; his birth mother’s was not. Jay, who had been adopted at birth, was being encouraged by his wife, Ivy, to learn about his family, for both health and emotional reasons. He never felt at ease, always wondered about his birth family, wanted to figure out where he fit in. Too many parts and pieces of his story were missing, but he feared rejection. Ben texted a picture of Jay to me. He looked familiar.

At the time of Jay’s adoption, one of my sisters, who already had three sons, was a working mother. Her first husband (father of the three boys) had died, and she had divorced her second husband. Shortly after the divorce, she’d delivered another son and given that baby up for adoption. The father listed on Jay’s birth certificate was my sister’s second husband. My sister, a voluptuous woman, was able to hide her pregnancy and never spoke of it. Her three sons, now grown men, never knew about their brother. I did, but before December 11, I had no reason to tell them.

Later that day, at 2:00 pm, my son Ben, my husband Doug, and I met with Jay and Ivy via Zoom. Ten minutes into the call, we were related. By 3:30 pm, the question of whether to tell my three nephews they had another brother bubbled up. I decided to email them, explain what had happened. I assured them I hadn’t shared their names or contact information and knew they may need time to process what had happened. I ended with, should they want to learn more or connect with Jay, they could go through me. I’d be the go between. Within minutes the phone started ringing. The nephews I spoke with were filled with overwhelming and contradictory emotions, everything, all at once — disbelief, trepidation and curiosity. At this writing, two have decided not to engage and one, Barry, is delighted to have Jay and Ivy in his family. In the photo up-top, that is Jay on the left and Barry on the right.

My niece, daughter of my other sister, totally embraced her new cousin. She has met Jay and his family for meals and trivia night at a local bar. I have exchanged emails, and my husband and I spent a delightful afternoon with my niece and the Minskys. I know my sister, Jay’s mother, would be happy to learn he is good and kind. I am now the oldest on my side of the family and happy to be available to answer Jay’s questions as best I can. I applaud his courage to reach out. And love him only because I want to.