A ‘Surprise’ Branch of My Family Tree

Rod, Heather and Dorie-the ‘sibs’- I am a surprise branch of my family tree.

Last weekend Scott and I made our annual trip to Newport Beach to see a  surprise ‘branch’ of my family tree. This side of my family, the Swansons, are my birth family. I am the oldest sibling, adopted to another family at birth. Rod and Dorie are my full-blooded brother and sister and were raised by their parents never knowing there was an older sister.  A number of family members knew about that first baby-but not these two.


Dorie always thought she was the oldest sibling (nope!). I think that makes us even more alike-two first born sisters.  We’ve never had a fight, though she laughs and says maybe we should “just to say we did”.


Lovely Marcia (my birth mom/Dorie’s mom) and Dorie’s daughter Rylee (my niece).

We are just goofy…and just have so much fun together. I can’t even tell the difference between our voices (neither could my mom, Jeri, the first time she spoke to Dorie on the phone). I had never met anyone with my genetic makeup and it’s really a trip to see such similarities in an entire branch of the family.

Rylee, my only niece, was just a toddler-with a big white bow-

when I first met the family.

I have not written my entire adoption story in full. Dorie calls it an ‘Oprah’ moment. I believe I will share it someday………when it feels right. Suffice it to say, the gift of adoption, is always inspiring to me. I was incredibly blessed to be adopted by my wonderful parents, Jeri and Curtis, at 3 days of age. Along with my younger sister, Heidi, and they are my family through and through.   I was doubly blessed to find and meet this ‘surprise’ branch of family at age 36.

As I always say, you never, ever know what can happen around the next corner in life……

it may be an amazing adventure.


It’s always a whirlwind when we hit Newport Beach. From soccer games to out on the town to cozy dinners and beachfront bites and lots of time to catch up. Cousins joined us to make it even more of a family reunion on Friday evening. Ryan and Martina, our rock star cousin, (next to me) who has beaten breast cancer three times, and is a warm and fuzzy bright light in our world. I’ll always remember she about knocked me over with a huge hug the first time we met 17 years ago.

(When the boys ripped off all the cotton candy this is what was left staring at me.

I think the thing is sticking it’s tongue out which is why I don’t eat the stuff.)

Hudson, Holden and Beck (my nephews).

Fun at Soccer…such sweet boys!

And then there is the Casa Swanson or ‘Swanson B & B’

with the comfiest suite. Fresh flowers, lit candles and turn down

service are usual fare. My lovely sister-in-law Andrea, and Rod, completely spoil us.

For more on the stylish, yet cozy, home Andrea and Rod have created (and our last visit) for their family


You can see why we want to move in every time we visit. #spoiled

Soco Collection preview

I was inspired by the infusion of beauty and style on this trip.

Rod and Andrea’s stylish home, a wonderful Soco adventure, and

a glorious brunch at the home of  fabulous blogger Tamera Beardsley here.

I am looking forward to posting on my time with Tamera later this week.

Style, beauty and sweet family love. 

Lovely reader, do you have any surprises to share? ;) wink


Curated Collections at my Stylemindchic Boutique here!

Heather Lindstrom

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Wow! That is such an incredible story!!! You are such a gorgeously good looking family! I really want to hear more – fascinating stuff! By the way I really love your outfit, incredibly cool, looks like a Missoni pantsuit?


Sista, Speechless…. You definitely got the “creative writing” gene of the family… I lived this with you and this posting still made me cry…. Love you SOSSOSOSO much and SO blessed to have you in my life!!!!


Heather, what a fabulous story. I’m so happy for you that you have such two great families to love you.


How beautiful you all look, Heather. My heart always melts when I see snapshots of family gatherings. My husband and I are only children and with the exception of our parents minus my dad who is now in heaven, most of our family is back in Cuba. We are a very quiet family, probably the quietest Cuban-American family in Miami. :)
I had no idea you were adopted but when it does feel right for you to share your story I’d love to read it. Your birth mom shares my name and your sister-in-law (Andrea) shares my daughter’s name.
Always so uplifting to stop by.


It was lovely to read about your family and you were having so much fun together. I can definitely see the resemblance with your brother and sister. I’m just catching up on your posts after my week away.


Such a beautiful family (branch;) Heather! Your pictures are wonderful. I felt like I needed to take notes to be able to comment so I wouldn’t get all this confused! There are challenges with blended families, adoption, etc. but sometimes it can be the absolute best as you have a HUGE family!! My family is small and we (unfortunately) aren’t that close. Sometimes it makes me sad because I wish I had a close sister or cousin I could call when I wanted to talk.

So glad you had this little reunion Heather! xxL


I can see where design is genetic in your family. What a marvellous house they have.

What a very unique large family.



WOW! Heather! It makes my heart sing when life’s little detours wind one back to find so much love and joy! What a beautiful love story! Your family tree is abundant!


Your brother and sister look just like you! Your family is fabulous :) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Heather, you guys are really beautiful, seriously! And, how cute that you allow your ‘younger’ sister to share the spot of being the older sister–but not twins. Ha! Love it! Nevertheless, you all look so happy! I pray for continued share joy for many many more years. I look forward to the time you feel you can share your inspiring adoption story.

I love your sister in laws home. They really do have great taste in style. What an incredible B&B, to say the least. Casa Swanson….how sweet.

Thank you for introducing Tamera. Looking forward to your post in regards to your brunch get-together!! xoxo


Wow Heather, you have been so busy with many family events! You are so lucky to have so many types of family. I have a very small one so am envious of big ones…looks like you had fun and your niece really looks like you! Xx


Heather I loved seeing all these wonderful photos of your birth family and I admit, I’m SO interested in your story. Whatever it is, it’s clear that you all share so much love and fun together–(and great looks too). And I agree with you, we just never know what lies ahead do we? Life is full of unexpected blessings. Thanks for reminding me of that wonderful truth.


Heather – Your last two blogs have left me with happy tears in my eyes…The whole step-family thing coming together is beautiful! And I have loved the story of you finding your birth family. You are blessed and spread those blessings to all. Love reading your blog! ~Pamela


Another post … filled with such love and light my dear … so just like you! What I think is so amazing … all three of you siblings … have found lives filled with such style! I am completely taken with you, Dorie… and now Casa Swanson.

Heather my dear friend… I truly miss already!!



What a wonderful family, Heather. You all look like a close-knit bunch. I’m glad you had a nice visit with them all. And I can see the tongue sticking out in the cotton candy!

Have a happy week.



I have to hear the whole story, Heather, I’m confused…but the pictures definitely express the joy all of you sisters feel! And you look so vibrant and beautiful and glowing in all of the pictures…you are so truly happy I can see!



How lovely to have such a wonderful extended family! It sounds like you had a perfect weekend in Newport! xoxo


What a fabulous yearly event! Everyone looks like they had such fun together. It is super cool to see the family resemblance! Beautiful!!!


WOW! Wait, I’m confused now! The gorgeous bride mother you featured a while back….she is your adopted mom? YOUR FAMILY IS FABULOUS! Your brother and sister look just like you! I so wish I could find out that I have a long-lost brother or sister out there….beautiful, my dear friend. Anita

Love to hear from you!