What Runs in Biological Families? An Adoptee Explores…

As a child I was obsessed with Mt. Rainier. OBSESSED. As in, I wanted to live there permanently. Whenever we would camp I would eagerly go to the visitor center, join the junior ranger program, and read books about wildflowers and animal tracks. By the time I was in highschool I had 42 of 84 wildflowers of the North Cascades memorized by sight. I mean, I said I was obsessed.

Because I loved being outdoors so much, I decided (at the tender age of 9) that I wanted to be a park or forest ranger. And I knew that my dream was to be a park ranger in the Ohanaepcosh campground of Mt. Rainier. Or worse, down the road at the La Wis Wis campground (which was always our backup campground). It wasn’t until 11th grade that I gave up that dream, after meeting a gal at an environmental camp that casually mentioned the regulation changes for park rangers, that they had to attend police academy and carry a firearm. That sealed it for me, being a park ranger was out…I would NOT carry a gun for work. Not because I was opposed to guns in the backcountry (Grizzlies and mountain lions aren’t to be messed with people!), but because I didn’t want to be a law enforcement officer in a national park. I didn’t want to have to shoot someone. Nope. No thanks.

So I’m having dinner with my bio dad, and we were chatting about the crazy wildfires happening here in Washington…and he said, “Well, you know, my sister stopped being a forest ranger when she had to deploy her fire shelter on the fire line.”

And then I remembered that my bio aunt had been a forest ranger. Whoa. Uncanny, right? And where did she work? La Wis Wis campground. OF ALL PLACES, she worked right down the road, as a forest ranger, from where I wanted to work from 9-17. Whoa. And we got to talking, but he finally said, “But then the laws changed, and she stopped doing it because she didn’t want to carry a gun.”

He happened to say that at the EXACT same time that I said the reason that tipped me over the edge was when I didn’t want to carry a gun.




When researching your family history, any crazy “whoa, that’s just like me?” stories? Share away…


  1. About 2 months before I went to Taipei, Taiwan to meet my biological family for the first time after my birth, I began taking Mandarin lessons. We had not found my birth family yet, but I stepped out on faith and wanted to go to Taiwan anyway to connect with my country of birth. Less than a month before I was to fly to Taipei, we found my eldest sister. Ironically, she told me that about 2 months before we found her, she felt a strong urge to practice her English and she didn’t know why. She said that she believes it was because I was searching so hard to find them. I thought that was pretty incredible.

  2. That is pretty uncanny. I have to say, though, that your love of nature is where we differ. . . so maybe we can’t put our faces on T-shirts and have people get all confused! I avoid nature at all costs! While I enjoy going to the ocean, and looking at it (as opposed to swimming in it), I do not enjoy forests or all of the bugs, snakes and wildlife. In fact, it pretty much petrifies me! Sigh… and I thought we were so similar. Seriously though, I love reading about all your adventures (nature, India). You live the life I can only imagine!

    • did someone say SNAKES? eek. Thankfully, where I live, and even in the mountains around here, the snakes are pretty…um…tame? At least I’ve never seen a snake, except for 1 time, and it was a harmless garter snake. Now bears or cougars on the other hand…scary! I heard a statistic that every ranger at Mt. Rainier has been stalked by a mt. lion at some point….whoa, probably good I didn’t go into that field…

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