This is the story of the search for my birth-mother. It is more of a story of the history of my feelings and attitude. I hope it portrays the changes I have undergone. I must give the glory to the Lord who has opened the doors each step of the way. What was taken will be restored for the Lord says:
"I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down. Assuredly not!" So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper: I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me? Hebrews 13:5-6.
I never had the desire to search for my birthmother. My attitude was; she didn't want me. She gave me away why would I want to know her? I always had the feeling of being an outsider no matter where I was. There was something out of kilter. I knew I was adopted since I was small. It was never an issue at home. I didn't conscientiously think about it. There are four of us all adopted with different sets of birthparents. It was something we all accepted.
I was about 10 when I really understood what being adopted meant. It came about in a heated argument with a fellow student who was supposedly "my friend". I don't remember what we were arguing about; but we were angry. She told me my brother was not my blood brother. Of course I said he was my brother and proceeded into trying to do bodily harm to her. No one was going to talk about my family that way. When I got home that afternoon; I told mom what had happened. (She says I was crying. I don't remember.) Mom sat down with me and explained that we were not blood related but we were brother and sister. She and Dad couldn't have children. They wanted children and once they found out they could adopt that's what they did. We were special right? Yet why was there that feeling of being abandoned, fear of rejection of never being good enough? It was something you didn't or couldn't put into words. It was buried deep in the recess of your soul.
I must have been abut 13 or 14 and was thinking or wondering about my birthmother. I remember asking Mom if I was illegitimate. (I read alot and so knew what that term meant.) I remember the look on her face when she told me yes. I believe that's when I closed the door to any more questions of my birth. It was not a subject to be discussed. To me that was the reason I was not wanted or kept by my birthmother. In that era of time being born out of wedlock was very bad. Your birthmother had to be a bad person. If she was bad; how could you ever be good enough to meet the high standards of society? You couldn't, you were born out of shame and given away.
Please understand; these are thoughts and feelings that I had but could not, would not express. When you don't know what the real facts are, you don't know what to believe. Your mind conjures up all kinds of senario's. You live in a world of reality and a secret world of fantasy.
I had heard and seen how the ladies talked about a girl or young woman who was pregnant and not married. The whispers and looks behind her back. It didn't happen often but the few times it did was enough for me to know it was not good!!
I graduated left home to go to college as most kids did in my era. I went thru a short period of rebelliousness, met my husband, got married and began a family. We are a close knit family; yet that feeling of never belonging always a ghost at my side.
I remember having a discussion about 10 years ago with my younger brother and brother-in-law (who is also adopted) about looking for our birthmothers. I was very much against it. I said no way did I want to know who she was. She didn't want me, why would I want her? I was very ignorant at the time.
In 1984 I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I believe this is a very important part to this story. As you will see; He was already at work putting the broken pieces back together.
In January of 1999, I was introduced to the Internet. That was the beginning of my education of the adoption world. I began to read the different stories of adoptees. I realized we had so many of the same feelings, many felt they must be an alien from a different planet. We have that disconnected feeling unable to really connect with anyone. We live in limbo. Many of us live in two worlds. There is the real world of our life with
our family that we are raised with. The family that we in turn raise. Then there is that person tryingto live up to the standards of our parents and society. There is that person who lets no one into that secret place, that is buried deep down into their very inner being. We do not want to risk being rejected again. There is always a part of us sealed off. You don't let anyone get too close.
I began to read about the birthmothers searching and the story behind their giving up that child. I began to read about the injustice of the time. How these mothers were forced to give up their baby. There were not given a choice. The young teenager was told by the parents, "The baby will be given up for adoption." They were sent off in secret and shame to maternity homes or relatives in another state. At the maternity homes they were told they had no way to give the baby a good life. The best thing was to give it up for adoption to a loving family who could do it justice. They were told to never try to look for or have contact with the child. They were not told of the 30 to 90 day waiting period they had to change their mind. The ones who did try to go back to get their baby were told it had already gone to the new family only to find out later the baby had gone to foster care until it was adopted. They were told they could have other babies, to get on with their lives. Many were drugged and didn't know what they had. Many couldn't remember the birthday. They were sectioned off from the maternity floor. They were not allowed to even see their baby. (My mother was blessed. She got to see me for a few minutes and name me before I was snatched away from her.) Some would sneak up to the nursery to try to get a glimpse of their baby. Once in a while a kind nurse might let them have a quick look or to hold their baby for a moment.
When they went back home, the subject was never, never discussed. They had been off visiting relatives was the story given. It was a secret that was locked down deep inside the recessof their soul. Many did get on with their life but never forgot the little baby they had to leave behind. That empty spot could never be filled or revealed.
My heart broke for these mothers. I began to see the real story. What an injustice, the secrets and lies. I began to wonder what my story was. The desire to know who I was, where I came from began to grow. did I dare to try to find this ghost mother I never knew? I thank the Lord for preparing me for what the consequences of the search could bring. I must be prepared for anything.
I began to post my information to adoption registries. That first post was scary. I felt as if I was doing something wrong. It was opening a door that would lead to where? I didn't tell anyone that I was searching for a long time. When I finally told my husband I was surprised at his reaction. He said everyone should know his or her heritage. He had always felt I had the right to know who I was. That was such a blessing to me.
It gave me courage to keep on going.
I built my own web page and then built this adoption registry. I became a member of the New Mexico Adoption Registry. So many people helped me along the way. The information highway on the Internet is amazing. One by one the doors were opened for me. I learned my birth name and where my birthmother stayed. Each piece of information was like a precious stone yet so eleusive. It was frustrating knowing that there was someone out there who knwe who you were yet unable to give you that information. To be talking to the person who has your records in their hand but because of the laws were unable to release names and places. I just wanted to reach across that phone line, grab my records and say I have a right to know. I am not a child that needs to be protected from the truth. That adopted child is a grown mature person who can handle what ever is there.
The maternity home is now closed but was run by the Salvation Army. I had all the right information for them to open an active file on me. That is how I became sure that my birthmother did indeed stay there. (Her mother and stepfather took my birthmother to the Booth Memorial Maternity Home in El Paso. She was a young frightened girl who was only a few months pregnant. She was left there to go thru the pregnancy and birth alone with no support from her family. She was hidden away in shame.) After about a year they decided to do a search for me. I became their guinea pig. I was more than willing to be the first person for an adoption search. What a surprise. Agencies do not help search. The Lord"s hand was in this. No doubt about it.
They located my birthmother in about 2 months. I couldn't believe it. She was found. It took only a year and a half to find her. I was elated and scared. Would she be happy I looked for her or upset? What would she think of me? Would she want contact? So many questions, so much fear to overcome.
It was so easy to give advise and give encouragement to others but hard to take it myself. I waited for that first contact. What was she going to do? Call or write? I seemed like forever before my first letter came. I would check mail first thing when I got home from work. Finally after a week "The Letter" was here. It was a letter that helped put many pieces in place and began to heal that secret corner within this hard heart. I was very saddened to learn that I was a product of rape (told in her story), yet elated that she did not want to give me up. She still loved me despite the circumstances of how I was conceived. I knew this was a possibility and had really hoped this would not be the case. I felt bad at first but when I talked to her and realized she mourned for me all these years it was an amazing thing to take in. Our healing process has begun.
I have gained a wonderful extended family. I hope to build a relationship with time. I have a stepfather and 6 half siblings who all welcomed and opened their hearts to the family and me. I have a wonderful birthmother who is so like me it is scary. (ha-ha) Our spirits are connected.
I have not said much about Mom and Dad. They will always be just that. I am so thankful that they are the parents the Lord chose for me. Mom and Dad took us in and loved us, and raised us the best way they could. What amazed me was that they had written down the last name of our birth name. Mom told me she didn't want to forget what they were. She thought that maybe someday we would ask about them. I had no idea they had this information. I am thankful that Mom would do this even though she must have felt apprehension of how this could change our relationship. They too had to go through the pain of not being able to have their own children. No one can take their place. They were the ones who were and are always there. I am not sorry about being adopted. I believe adoption is a good thing. It has given many children a home they otherwise may not have had. I don't agree that the records should be closed. A person has a right to know who they are. I value my privacy and believe we should honor the decision of our
birthmothers/fathers/families of wanting contact or the decision of no contact.
I believe adoption was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time. I could have been aborted. I had a good home and a wonderful family. I had opportunities I wouldn't have had otherwise. What I am sorry about is the secrets, lies and shame my birthmother and the many other birthmothers have had to go thru. I have the better of two lives. That emptiness and aloneness is beginning to be filled. There is still a piece that needs to be in place before the picture can be finished.
I do plan to find out about my birthfather also. I know he is dead but I also need to know who he was, who his family is. I would like a picture of him. I just want to know what kind of a person he was. He was a stranger to my birthmother, someone she had just seen around town. He apparently was attracted to her. He would wave to her but maybe because of his family status and she from a poor family he knew they would not approve. Who knows what was going on in his mind on that fateful night? It set into motion the events of this story.
I do not know at this time if there will be any kind of a relationship with his family. I know at the time they didn't want to accept the fact their son was going to be a daddy or that he raped a young innocent girl. What parent would want to believe that? They had plans and dreams for him. I do wonder if they ever thought about the baby they rejected. Especially after their son died. I'm the only living thing he left behind. I will let the Lord guide me as He has done through out this process. I must point out I have no anger or bitterness over his or their reaction. Just a sadness of what they missed.
I must say I stand in awe at the way my Lord has restored this family together. I see He began the work from the time I was conceived until this day. He is truly a God of restoration.
It has been seven months since Mom R and I were reunited. We have been in constant contact calling each other weekly. Our relationship is growing. We are good friends yet also mother and daughter. We are able to tell each other things that we are unable to share with others, maybe because our lives have been very much alike. We have gone through experiences that are so much alike.
I just came back from a visit with Mom. I once again went through the albums. Once again that disconnected feeling came back as she would point out who was who. They are my blood yet they are strangers. As I watch my sisters and brothers interact with her, the familiarity of knowing, of being part of her all their life is there. I still feel an outsider, not by anything they have done but by the years of separation. I understand this and hope with time it will change. I must realize it is two different worlds coming together, merging into familiarity, there is already sameness about us. It is a journey of getting to know oneself, know who I am, where I came from, what I may have been, where I am headed.