Sunday, July 09, 2006

How I Met My Birth Mother

Cast of Characters:

Birth Mom - BM
Birth Dad - BD
Adoptive Mom - AM
Adoptive Dad - AD

Some background: the adoption was arranged by my AM's doctor, and I was taken home within an hour of my birth. That would never happen today, of course. My AM told me when I was age 6 that I was adopted - she called it "being a chosen child" - and later on, when I was about 10-12, she told me the circumstances of my conception. I was told that my BM and BD (birth mom and dad) got married 3 days after my birth, but since she had already signed the papers, they could not get me back. BM was age 17 and BD was about 20, and in college.

When I was about 33, my BD's obit was in the hometown newspaper, and AM gave it to me. That was the first time I knew their names or anything else about them. They had 2 children. I was curious about them, as all adopted kids are, but I knew that if I ever expressed any interest in them, my AM would go nuts. She used to ask me if I had any interest in finding them, and I did, sort of , but I always told her no, as I knew that was what she wanted me to say.

Years later, AM died and 10 years after that, AD died. AD had married again about 6 years after AM passed away. My family and I went back home for AD's funeral, and on the return trip, I mentioned that I had the feeling during the wake that my BM might have been there. Dad's new wife and I did not get along very well and so I had never had any interest in talking to her. But 2-3 days after I got back home, I had a very strong urge (and I mean VERY strong) to call her. It was as if somone tapped me on the shoulder to get my attention, and it happened twice in one night. I had never expected to speak with her ever again - so you realize how odd this was to me.

I called, and she said that she had a message for me. The day that my AD's obit was in the paper, she answered her phone and a woman identified herself as my BM. She wanted to know where I was, and if it was okay for her to come to the wake and/or the funeral. Dad's wife said the only smart thing I had ever heard her say; she told BM that she could come, but please not to speak to me or my family, since I had enough to get through with AD's death. I am so happy she said that as it was very true. I told Dad's wife to get her phone number and address for me - and to tell BM that I would contact her when I was ready. Now here comes the really eerie part: Dad's wife told me that BM had 2 children - who had been living in the same town I live in for 10 years! It is not in the same state we were born in, either.

I had not contacted BM yet, and a few days before my birthday the following year, I got a letter from her telling me that she was coming to my town and she wanted to see me. I have to say that I felt just like a deer in the headlights! There was not enough time to get used to the idea - but I called her and told her I would meet her in a local restaurant. That way, if I did not like the experience, I could leave at any time. We did meet; my husband went with me and her daughter brought her to the restaurant. I found out that her children were adopted; after she had me, she was never able to conceive again. I felt sad about that (for her) but I was almost glad to know that I had no blood siblings. Even though I have always wanted a brother or sister, I didn't want to find or have them this way!

She brought photos of herself and BD, and told me a history that bore little relationship to what my AM had told me. When BM told BD about the pregnancy, he panicked and ran away and joined the Navy. He was not in college, as I had thought, but was working and saving money for college. BM's Dad and step-mom made her give me away. Supposedly, she wanted to keep me, but they said no, and she had no other choice. Then when I was 2 years old, my BD contacted BM for the first time since she told him about me, and he said "I want you to make an honest man of me". He came home on leave at Christmas, and they married.

When he died, they had been together 30 years. He did eventually go to college, and she became an LPN. I met her in 1998, and since then have visited with her 3-4 times. Her children eventually moved back to our hometown, so she has no reason to come here anymore. She started trying to put a guilt trip on me about not coming to visit her more often (it is 330 miles away) and I haven't said anything about it to her, but I hardly think she has that right, since she waited a hell of a long time to find me. Of course, she did say that she promised AM when I was born, that she would not try to contact me until both AM and AD were dead. She kept that promise, so I guess she has integrity, but it is small consolation for an adopted child to learn many years too late that she was really wanted.

The photos she brought were very interesting. She says I resemble my BD's side of the family, and that I am the spitting image of one of his sisters. That is another eerie thing, I almost went to college in Ohio where one of them lives and I lived for 5 years in Norfolk, where another brother lived then. Of course, I knew nothing about it then. My son is almost identical to the photo I have of BD, even though his photo has very dark contrast, you can see the resemblance. One of my daughters looks a lot like BM did when she had me. It is nice to know where those traits come from and it ws great to find out about the medical history. The only other synchronicity I can remember to say is that she and I have one trait in common: we both do crossword puzzles in ink - and we do them everyday. How's that for genetics and heredity?

This is actually a repost; I didn't remember posting it before but found it in the archives.


panthergirl said...

See? This is why reposting is a good thing. I had never read this and find it fascinating!!

I do think it was good of her to keep her promise to your adoptive parents. Not everyone would do that.

Oh, and I do crosswords in ink every day too... are we sisters? ;)

Wonderful story, Judy. Thanks for sharing it.

Here by way of michele again!

Carmi said...

Thank you so much for having the guts to write this. Your words reinforce the meaning of fate...this was clearly meant to be.

I'm so glad you were able to get answers to the questions that hovered nearby for so long. We all deserve to know where we come from. It helps us become more complete people.

You never fail to move us with your words.

Peggy said...

Great Story. As an AM myself, I hope to always support my child's decision to find her BM. I'm ready when she is - always. It's a part of her and I love every part of her.

Oh, Michelle pimped me here, so to say!

ET said...

That was very much of a human interest kind of thing that I enjoy reading about. Touching.

Star said...

Thanks for sharing that with us Juday. My family was never very close, but at least I knew my heritage and who I look like. I have a friend who adopted 2 Asian orphans , both now adults . I was looking at pictures of her newest granddaughter, and I almost said how much she looks like her aunt. But the adopted children were not blood related.I think she would have been fine with it if I had said it though.

Laura said...

Good thing you reposted this one. I hadn't read it before and found it very interesting.
When you mentioned the similarities you have in common, I had to smile.

One of my daughters has the same facial expressions and mannerisms as my husband's sister, even though she only saw her once when she was a baby. Odd that she would pick up the exact same expressions as her aunt, without ever having seen them first hand!

I find it really interesting how these mannerisms are carried out through family traits, and I'd imagine that happens with adoptive children as well.

Karen said...

Judy, this is such an amazing story. Thank you for sharing it again. I can't imagine how this must feel, but I kind of think I'd feel the same way that you did - feeling both pulled and torn in different directions. I hope that, in time, your birth family and your adoptive family will both become a strong support system for you. You're such a lovely person. I can only imagine that both families played a part in this. Thanks for sharing your story.

Michele sent me and boy am I glad!

Paige said...

This is sad to me. Such mixed emotions you must have.I can find no words that would bring comfort to you. But I believe you will play out the hand of cards that have been delt to you as best you can.
Here by way of Michele's.

Last Girl On Earth said...

This is a truly amazing post, Judy. I'm glad you reposted it as I hadn't read it before. You are lucky that you got to meet BM after all. Now you won't wonder and she's there if you want or need her.

I'm REALLY impressed with the crosswords in ink!

srp said...

Who knows why people do what they do. Back then adoptions were so hush-hush and details kept secret and for what purpose. It must be hard on the one hand to think your BM didn't want you and yet the feeling of being "chosen" is special too. I think all adoptees need to know where they came from if only for the medical history.

Crosswords in ink? You probably do Sudoku in ink as well?

mar said...

Thanks for sharing your amazing story. We have adopted twins in our family, their biological parents were way too young, jobless and already had two boys. The girls are 5 now, so I wonder how they will receive the news about their adoption...their AM is my husband's sister. I love ink , it's something I learned while living in Germany. Have a wonderful sunday :)

Raggedy said...

That was a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.

Have a wonderful day!
(=':'=) meow hugs
(")_ (")Š from da Raggedy one

Sue said...

Very interesting story and I, too, am glad you reposted it. I understand about the medical history thing as we have the issue of adoption and all the "unknowns" in our family as well..

Sonia said...

Dear Judy, this is a truly moving and touching story. I know that you are an adopted child because I remember that I already read this history before. I have the habit to make a notation about some interesting and moving post I read and also about the Profile of my blog’s friends. I guess it’s a journalist habit. So I have a folder where I keep all interesting information. So, I keep your Post “Who Do You Look Like?” and in this post I just made a comment about my twin sister. Another lovely Post I keep was about your Dad, “My Dad, the Man I hardly Knew Until.....” at Thursday, September 08, 2005, where you said that your Dad and your Mom adopted you at birth.
Finally, I agree with Carmi and l also think “we all deserve to know where we come from. It helps us become more complete people.”
Thank you so much Judy for sharing this sensitive story again with us.

Suburban Turmoil said...

Wow, that's amazing. I'm so glad you got to meet her!

Jennifer said...

I remember this story. I enjoyed it then, and enjoy it even more now, I think, knowing you all that much better this time around.

P.S. Think we might be long lost cousins? I'm an daily ink usin' crossword gal, myself. ;-)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I remember reading this when I started it I thought..Gee, I think I've read this before....I'm so glad you mentioned at the end that it was a repost! I'm glad to find out I hadn't somehow "known" this because I am psychic! (LOL)...I also remember I was very moved by your was very very good to re-read it Judy...

claude said...

A great story, beautifully told. Thanks for reposting it and sharing.

margalit said...

I read this really late last night and it reminded me of a friend of mine who also found her BM fairly late in life. The initial meetup was good, but as she got to know the BM and her family, she became more and more thankful that she was adopted into her family and not raised by her BM. It was kind of sad watching her go through this, realizing that the adoption that was so painful during her teens, turned out to be a huge blessing for her.

That was a really lovely post, Judy.

Here from Michele...again!

Pearl said...

Glad you got to meet up finally.

Raehan said...

Wow! That's a very moving and thought-provoking story. You have and had a lot to chew on, emotionally.

Jamie Dawn said...

I enjoyed this very much.
I'm glad you met your birth mother. I wish you could have met your birth father as well.

Peter said...

That was a very poignant story Judy, I'm sure it stirred up all sorts of feelings at the time.
Glad you reposted it as I hadn't read it before.

gemma said...

just found your blog as a result of a comment you left at another blog. I am so glad I found you. This was a great post. New and unexpected family connections certainly provide a lot to sort through.

Shephard said...

I find the synchronicity fascinating, and always reassuring about life having meaning and purpose. Enjoyed reading this.

"The say Confucius does his crosswords with a pen." ~ Tori Amos

Terri said...

Add me to the list of glad you reposted this, as I hadn't read it the first time.
For some reason, and I'm not adopted, adoption has always held my interest. In college, I did a term paper about it. My second novel dealt with adoption and the one I'm working on now has adoption as a major theme.
So needless to say, I very much enjoyed you sharing your story with us.

colleen said...

This was fascinating and emotional to read. Thanks for sharing it.

vicki said...

Judy- I read this post in the middle of packing boxes and then thought about it a long while and now I came back and re-read it. You say so much in such a straight forward, mater-of-fact and simple way that it makes this one of the richest and most purely emotional posts I've read in a long while. Thank you.

Miz S said...

Amazing story, Kenju! You sound so matter-of-fact and grounded about the whole thing. Wow. So many poignant details.

Cowtown Pattie said...

Very touching story, Judy. I know you must have had so many emotions running through you, but yet you have kept a level perspective it seems.

I do feel a little sympathy for your BM, she must feel like she has so little time to be with you and wants to not miss a minute.

Merle said...

Dear Judy ~~ Thank you for reposting this, as so many of us had not seen it the first time. I think you know I am an
AM of three, so adoption is dear to my heart. I am so glad you got to meet your BM and it is great that she was a woman of her word. I imagine she wanted to meet you sooner, but waited until the deaths of AM and AD. You are a very
courageous lady Judy, thank you.
Take care, Merle.