#writephoto — Heritage

2142471b-500f-4489-bbb7-15e0f3631cb6Phoebe was excited when the envelope arrived. Having been adopted when she was just a baby, she knew nothing about her heritage. She dearly loved the couple who adopted her, and they were the only parents she ever knew, but once she turned 25, the void in her life, that of finding her roots, had to be addressed. It was an itch that she knew had to be scratched.

It took nearly four months, but the envelope from the DNA testing service Phoebe had engaged finally was delivered. Her hands were actually trembling as she carefully opened the envelope and read the report.

456459cc-6aaf-443e-b38c-11d398393fffWhen she saw that her heritage was 90% Scottish, it both shocked and excited Phoebe. She decided that she needed to dig deeper and to investigate her family tree. Did she come from peasant stock, the working class, or maybe even the aristocracy? Phoebe had to know; she became obsessed with learning more of her heritage. She paid more money to the DNA testing service and ultimately learned that her ancestry could be traced all the way back to the time of the Scottish king, Robert I, popularly known as Robert the Bruce.

That’s when Phoebe took a leave of absence from her job and flew to Scotland to find out even more. She spent two months going deeper and deeper into her family’s history. It ultimately led her to a cemetery where she came across an old stone sarcophagus carved in the shape of a warrior knight. This knight, who had fought bravely in battle along side Robert the Bruce, was distantly related to her historic clan.

Phoebe was so overcome with emotions when she discovered the location of her most distant relative that she came back the next day and placed a single red rose across the sarcophagus, along with a handwritten note that read, “In memory of a loyal knight of the House of Bruce who gave his life for his king in July 1314.”

Shortly thereafter, Phoebe flew home and told her adoptive parents of her discovery, and then hugged them both, thanking them profusely for their love and care.

Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

#writephoto — The Mausoleum

Martin finally received the results back from his DNA test. He was adopted when he was an infant and never knew who his real parents were. He was told that he had been adopted, but he never felt the need to know about his biological parents who had abandoned him. He loved the mother and father who raised him and he knew that they loved him.

But when his adoptive parents died a year ago in a freak car accident, there was a huge hole in Martin’s heart. So he decided to dig into who he is, and step one was sending a small sample of his saliva to one of those DNA testing services.

Martin was nervous when he opened the envelope and read the report. The results weren’t at all what he was expecting.

AF3CBF07-CF0F-4853-86B3-679D360F928DMartin’s adoptive parents were black. Martin’s skin was the color of coffee with a touch of cream. He’d always considered himself to be African-American. And yet, according to the report and the graph, his ancestry was less than six percent African. He was more than half French, almost one-third Jamaican, and about twelve percent Brazilian.

Martin also learned that he had no living relatives. His closest relative, his birth father, had died at the age of 60 when Martin was 19. Martin Googled his birth father and learned that he was a wealthy man who made his fortune in coal mining. He also discovered that his mother had died in childbirth. His father never remarried and had no other children.

The Google article noted that his father had been the great grandson of slave owners in Mississippi. The family left that state and moved to West Virginia after the Civil War due to a scandal over his great grandfather having had a torrid affair with a slave. His maternal grandmother was the product of that affair. She had been handed over to a family of freed slaves after her birth.

“That explains a lot,” thought Martin. Apparently his father, seeing the black baby his mother had birthed, gave the child up for adoption, rather than deal with yet another scandal, since he knew that his unhappy wife had been having an affair with a Jamaican diplomat.

Martin found out that the family had a mausoleum in West Virginia and he decided to go visit it. There he saw a statue of his great grandfather, the slave owner, in the rotunda of the shrine. It was then that Martin decided to contact the lawyers of his late father’s estate and claim his birthright to his birth family’s fortune, using the DNA evidence he had to bolster his claim.

And Martin vowed to donate it all — millions of dollars — to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.