52ancestors, Holtberg Family history

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – #9

Written by Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 9: At the Courthouse What neat discoveries have you made at the courthouse? Or, do you have an ancestor who spent a lot of time at the courthouse, either as an official or as someone who ran afoul of the law? 

This is Me

It was this week’s challenge that got me to see I have overlooked a valuable resource and it’s time to revisit them. In all honesty I have yet to visit any courthouse for research. This week’s challenge has caused me to reflect and revisit some moments in my own life that possibly needed healing or maybe a better word is Grace. This week’s blog post is of my own personal experience of the first and only time I did go searching that a courthouse.

That a very young age, I always had this ‘feeling’ or sense that I was a little different in our family. I couldn’t explain it. I grew up in a loving home with 3 sisters in mid -Minnesota so to be clear it wasn’t a matter of being treated poorly or badly. To set the story straight from the beginning; The reality is that I was an average teenager growing up in the 80’s. I was bullied from Kindergarten to graduation day in school, in church and organizations that I was in, by those who felt I was not pretty enough. I was anorexic and an alcoholic by the time I hit 11th grade. A failed attempt to cope. I had two parents that were crushed by my behavior and didn’t have the means to handle it.

At a young age, I was intrigued by our family’s history. I asked a lot of questions and the answers always seemed vague and few. I was a senior in high school in 1986, when while cleaning the kitchen I came across a white napkin with my parents names on it with a date. It was the date that caught my eye. It read May 18 1969. I recall wondering what may  happened on that date. See, I was born on the 15th of July 1968. I assumed my whole childhood that they were married before I was born. I vaguely remember asking my parents about that napkin. The response was a non answer but enough to make me not think about it to much.

Two children and a marriage later in 1989, I finally got tired of that ‘feeling’ and made a trip to my hometown courthouse. I had decided it was time to check to see if there was a record of adoption. Why did that napkin give that date? Why was I born before that date? The courthouse has a feeling about it. It’s been there since the beginning of time, I’m sure. It has marble floors and pillars. It’s cold and old feeling. On this day I went with my first husband. We walked directly to records. At the time my father was well known throughout town. He served as a sheriff in town. His whole family grow up in this town. The women behind the counter knew him and me. With a shaky voice I asked her to look up my information. She asked, “Are you sure?” I said yes. This woman came back with a small white piece of paper. On it she wrote. Nancy Lee Holtberg adopted Aug 1969 by Mark Holtberg. The man I call my dad today, legally adopted, me as his own. My parents got married in 1969 before my father went to war in Vietnam. I remember feeling, in a flash of a moment, crushed when I read that paper. Today I blame that feeling on a life time of being bullied. It didn’t allow me to see the gift and wonder that being adopted had given me. Instead I focused all on being different and less then. My parents attempted many times to get me to see that it wasn’t a bad thing and that I am loved no matter what. I became more distant and angry. By 1990 I weighed 90 pounds and drank most of the day.

This is me in the middle holding my 2nd daughter in 1989. My parents are on the right side of the picture. My first husband and his parents are on the left.

There is a happy ending but it took a life time, so it feels. I ruined my first marriage to my high school boyfriend. I brought chaos and nightmares to my children’s lives. Then in 2011, I meant an amazing woman that listened to me cry and carry on about the horrors of my life. When I was done she asked if I really wanted change? This change would mean to change everything I am and everything I thought I knew. I was broken so I agreed. On July 17, 2011, I quit cold turkey, drinking all day, everyday. This is my sobriety date. I have changed everything about me. I have worked my butt off to heal, forgive and grow. Sobriety is not for the weak. I wear it with a lot of pride. For a short while I lost 30 years of my memories of life but over time regain all of them.

With God’s help I have overcome years of bulling verbiage stuck in my head. I AM present for everyday. I AM a part of my family’s lives everyday. I AM LOVED.

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