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Pennsylvania is not an open records State.   Adults who were adopted don’t have the same rights as everyone else in obtaining a copy of their original birth certificate.  Even in today’s world, there are still “secrets”.  It’s time for adoption to not be treated as a secret that needs to be hidden.  It should be every person’s right to know their origins.

HB 963, sponsored by Representative Kerry Benninghoff, is an unrestricted access bill that would allow Pennsylvania-born adopted adults to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate. The bill, introduced in March 2011, was assigned to the Committee on Children and Youth. Grassroots groups are lobbying for a public hearing.

HB 963 information –

INTRODUCED BY BENNINGHOFF, BOBACK, CALTAGIRONE, CLYMER, D. COSTA, DAVIS, DENLINGER, EVERETT, FARRY, FLECK, FRANKEL, GILLEN, GINGRICH, GROVE, HARHART, HARRIS, JOSEPHS, KAVULICH, KNOWLES, MILLARD, D. O’BRIEN, PICKETT, RAPP, K. SMITH, SONNEY, SWANGER AND VULAKOVICH, MARCH 7, 2011

House Bill 963, introduced by Rep. Benninghoff, authorizes the Pennsylvania Bureau of Vital Statistics to disclose the original or amended copy of a birth certificate upon the written request of an adoptee age 18 or older.

It has been referred to the Committee on Children and Youth in March, 2011.  Here is a link to the Committee Members and their contact information:  http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/cteeInfo/cteeInfo.cfm?body=H&cde=48  This Bill needs to move out of Committee and back to the House.

Please contact the Committee on Children and Youth and request a Public Hearing. 

Hon. Dan Moul – Vice Chair
G32 Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202091
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2091
(717) 783-5217

Hon. Louise Williams Bishop – Democratic Chair
326 Main Capitol Building
PO Box 202192
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2192
(717) 783-2192

I am happy to see that my own Representative, Ken Smith is a co-sponsor of this Bill.

Anyone with an adoption connection to Pennsylvania, or are a resident of Pennsylvania who supports this legislation, please contact Carolyn Hoard, choard@comcast.net.  Carolyn is a Pennsylvania representative of the American Adoption Congress.

Here is a link to American Adoption Congress http://www.americanadoptioncongress.org/

For information for other State’s statutes go to http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/state/

To find out who your Pennsylvania State Representative is go here:  http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/#address

Would I Search Again?


I was speaking to my girlfriend who has known me for the past 30 years or so, and she asked me this:  “Was searching worth it?  Are you glad you did it?  Would you do it again?”  Simple enough questions – right?….

Did I like everything I found?  I don’t consider it a matter of liking – just a matter of accepting.  I suppose if you have true expectations, then you are more likely to be disappointed.  Every adoptee thinks about their birth parents.  It’s when you interject fantasy that you will likely end up disappointed.

The reality is – adoption is profoundly life-altering – to every person involved.  There’s no way around it.  It just IS.

Some choose to never look, some look and end up with a good relationship and some don’t.  And every other possibility in between.  But it is our right as humans to know where we came from.  To seek our truth.  To find peace.

Every adoptee has two sets of parents.  Many adoptees such as myself were raised in a good and loving family.  Many adoptees weren’t. I don’t think either scenario should  necessarily have anything to do with your search and your truth.

Many adoptive parents are scared or threatened by their son or daughter’s search.  There is nothing to be afraid of.  Of course it’s your nature as a parent to worry, but there is no threat.  It is something your son or daughter has to do because it is something they ARE – adopted.  Adoptees sometimes become torn up, feeling they have to “choose”.   Many adoptees are “pleasers”.   They feel guilty.  An adoptee should be able to search without guilt.  There is enough fear within them, and they need your true support and love.

I searched because I wanted to know who I looked like and I wanted to know my medical history.  I already had my family and life, and nothing was going to change that.  I met both of my birth parents, and now I only (minimally) speak to one.  You would expect that it would be your birth mother who you end up having a relationship with, but that’s not always the case.  I will never understand  my birth mother’s need to control, and her disappointment and disapproval at my resistance.  I also don’t understand how she can have grandchildren in this world who she rarely or never sees.  She had started a college fund for her granddaughter, who is now a senior in high school, and apparently is forgotten.  I don’t judge her – because of what happened to her in 1961.  I don’t understand her, but I don’t judge her.

It’s a lifetime journey that is always evolving – you may find your truth, and you may always struggle.  Nothing can change being adopted.

Would I search again?  Without a doubt.

2011 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,500 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


As some of you may or may not know, Apple giant Steve Jobs was an adoptee. If you’re a member of the adoption triad, then you know the feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood that it entails. The world lost one of the most important visionaries of our time, a magnificent contributor, and Steve’s family lost a husband and a father and a son.

This post is a tribute to Steve Jobs – fellow adoptee.

Steve’s estranged birth father John, who had given him up for adoption, had been hoping that Steve would call him. John did email Steve, but the emails went unanswered. Pride kept him from calling Steve because, understandably, he feared that Steve would think he was after his fortune. Sadly, pride kept them apart, and now it’s too late.

Steve was born February 24, 1955 to two graduate students, John and Joanne who gave him up for adoption. It’s been said that John did not want to give Steve up for adoption, but Joanne’s family would not approve of their marriage, and they weren’t financially stable. They married in December of 1955 and 2 years later they had another child – Mona Simpson (novelist). I do wonder what changed for them that enabled them to get married 10 months after Steve’s birth.

——————-

A snippet from the Wikipedia page on Mona Simpson (Steve’s full biological sister):

She is the biological sister of the late Steve Jobs, co-founder, former CEO and chairman of Apple. Jobs, the eldest sibling, was placed for adoption by their then-unmarried parents (who married 10 months later). Her 1987 novel, Anywhere But Here, is dedicated to her mother and “my brother Steve.” She first met Jobs when they were adults, after she invited him to a party promoting Anywhere But Here where she revealed that they were siblings; Jobs was 32. The two of them forged a relationship where he regularly visited her in Manhattan. Simpson said “My brother and I are very close, I admire him enormously.”

Jobs said “We’re family. She’s one of my best friends in the world. I call her and talk to her every couple of days.” The interactions between Simpson and Jobs, and learning how similar they were, had a major effect on Jobs. Steve Lohr of the New York Times wrote “The effect of all this on Jobs seems to be a certain sense of calming fatalism — less urgency to control his immediate environment and a greater trust that life’s outcomes are, to a certain degree, wired in the genes.” A few years earlier, Jobs was staunch on most of his character having been formed from his experiences, not his birth parents or genetics (Jobs frequently referred to his adoptive parents as “the only real parents” that he ever had). From Simpson, Jobs would learn more details about their parents, and he invited his birth mother Joanne Simpson to a few events.

———-
Steve was obviously very loyal to his adoptive parents, Clara and Paul Jobs.

Quotes from Steve’s birth father:
“Now I just live in hope that, before it is too late, he will reach out to me, because even to have just one coffee with him just once would make me a very happy man”.
“I really am not his dad, he said – Mr. and Mrs. Jobs are, as they raised him. And I don’t want to take their place. I just would like to get to know this amazing man I helped in a very small way to produce.”

How very sad.

We need to take something from this. If you’re questioning yourself, or your dreams, or if you should seek out a parent, sibling or relative – do it.

“Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011


I’ve been reading both “The Primal Wound” and “The Girls Who Went Away”.  I’ve also been talking to adoptees and birth mothers from around the world since starting this blog.  It’s amazing how one thing leads to another, to another, isn’t it?

One of the topics we were discussing on a Facebook group I belong to was memory – Is it possible to remember being born?  Is it possible to remember the first months of your life?  You would think not at first, but could it be possible?  Here is a link that was posted to an article discussing this:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/notesandqueries/query/0,,-2899,00.html

I was visiting my parents today and asked them for more details about myself as a baby.  Something my mom told me stopped me in my tracks.  When I was very small – maybe 5 – we had a conversation where I told  her “my mother has black hair” (and my birth mother did).   Isn’t that odd?   I feel as if there’s “something” buried in my memory.  I don’t know what that something is, but the feeling is getting stronger.

“The Primal Wound” discusses the repercussions of a child being taken from their mother.  It got me thinking.  Birth mothers went through horrors of which most of us can’t fathom – and they carry it with them for the rest of their lives.  Adoptees suffered trauma by being taken from their mothers, but they, of course don’t remember their birth and relinquishment.  But it’s got to be buried in there somewhere – doesn’t it?

Our adoptee group discussed hypnotism – would it be possible to access these memories?   What would happen if we did?

I have lots of other questions.  What was it like being a baby living at St. Joseph’s?  Who took care of us?  I’ve contacted St. Joseph’s to find out more.  I will be blogging about these questions and more in days to come.

 

 

 

P.S.

It annoys the crap out of me that everywhere you type in the word “adoptee” it’s unrecognized as a word.  Type adoptee and it’s underlined in red.


I will be turning fifty on September 15th.  Age hasn’t bothered me much, – okay – fifty is a bit hard to swallow!  I remember 25 being difficult too for some reason – 30 no problem and 40 was okay as well.

This year, I was secretly (well maybe not so secretly lol) hoping that somehow we could do something which would be “surprising” – something fun and different.  I realized that probably wouldn’t happen unless I just did it on my own, but that would defeat the “surprise” factor.  I just felt I wanted a “surprise”.  I can’t explain why.

I have found through the years though and looking back, that there is a pattern with me when it comes to my birthdays.  Usually around the very end of August or the beginning of September, I start feeling “off” – sort of down, and blah.  It increases as my birth date approaches.  I’ve always thought it must be because this time of year marks the end of Summer, and before you know it,  it’s Winter which I don’t particularly care for.  But since blogging about my adoption, and thinking more about things, I’m considering there may be another reason.

Could it be because I’m adopted?

I recently started reading “The Primal Wound” – which is a book about “understanding the adopted child”.  It seems to be a very polarizing book within the adoption community – many adoptees do not think it has ANYTHING to do with them – and, many think it has EVERYTHING to do with them.  I think I fall somewhere in between.  In a nutshell, for those of you who don’t know about the book – the theory is –  that being separated from your mother at birth is so traumatic, that you are “primally wounded” – whether you know it or not.  It is an interesting theory.

As a mother, I cannot imagine the horror of losing your child.  As an adoptee though, how would I remember how I felt when I was an infant?  I do believe that there would have to be some sort of damage done to a child who was separated from their mother and put into an institution for a few months before being adopted.  I just never really thought about it before.  But – what if?  What if being adopted has shaped my life in ways I have never realized?  It is certainly something to consider and look at.

There is a sub-chapter which covers birthdays and birthday parties.  The book claims that “there seems to be a memory built into the psyche and cells, an anniversary reaction (often also felt by the birth mother), which sends many adoptees into despair around their birthdays.”  Wow.  Okay – well this is something new to consider isn’t it.

So, surprise or no surprise – I have a wonderful family for which I am grateful for.  This year, the “feeling” seemed to be building up, but thankfully it has abated somewhat, and possibly, I am coming closer to understanding why I feel the way I do, and in understanding, there may be peace.

And, that – is a gift.

Hey – maybe I surprised myself… 🙂

 

 

 


I haven’t talked to Jeanne in 13 years.  Life went on.  Nicole is 16 now, and I have a wonderful husband and life.  Yet – I’ve felt something missing, and I’ve never attributed it to being adopted.  Being adopted was just something I was – like being female, or being funny. 

Writing this blog has seemed to open things up for me that I’ve never considered.  It’s made me think more about the circumstances surrounding my being and it’s making me realize that all might not be as it seems.  Maybe there’s something to the “primal” theory – that a person is irrevocably changed when removed from their mother.  That a mother is irrevocably changed when forced to give up their child. 

Being a mother myself, I cannot begin to imagine how my life would have been ripped apart if my daughter was taken from me at birth.  How could a person ever recover from that? 

Women – especially women “back then” – didn’t even get to talk to anyone about their pregnancy – they were shamed and sent into hiding.  Who could they talk to about their feelings?  My birth mother, like many – was “sent away” – as a young girl – to experience pregnancy on her own, and forced to “behave” by not even crying.  They went through one of life’s most changing experiences – alone, and then were expected to just go home and get on with living. 

There is a book called “The Girls Who Went Away – The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children in the Decades Before Roe vs Wade”.  I intend to read it. 

I believe now that something that happened to you at birth, of which of course you have no memory of, can have effects of which you won’t understand – unless you try to understand – if that makes sense.

I have been having conversations with my sister – Jeanne’s daughter, which has made me realize that Jeanne never recovered from her experience as a young woman.  I don’t think Jeanne realizes it herself.  I will talk about these conversations with my sister in another post.

Maybe, in trying to understand Jeanne – I am trying to understand myself.


Nicole, my brother Kevin, and Jeanne in the background

I haven’t spoken to Jeanne in 13 years. Surprised? I am too, but I know my reasons. I just didn’t know Jeanne’s reasons.

I have been reading about adoptions extensively since I’ve started this blog, and  I’ve discovered a few articles and studies that would explain why and how a birth mother feels. Whether she knows it or not. I don’t believe Jeanne realizes the implications of what happened to her almost 50 years ago.

It is interesting this information that I am reading, yet most of us haven’t even heard about. There are millions of adoptions, and nobody talks about what really happens to a woman (a girl, really) who has relinquished a child and what it does to them. Young women left to deal with the aftermath. How it carries on throughout their lives and the effect it has on their future relationships and their families. I’d like to understand it better and I’d like to hear other’s experiences.

My beautiful daughter Nicole was born in 1994. Jeanne and her husband came out for the christening. Nicole wore my christening gown, and it seemed everything had come full-circle. Except, Jeanne was very – uh – disassociated for lack of a better word. The one thing that stands out in my mind most is her lack of wanting to hold the baby, as you would expect a grandmother to want to do. Especially since she lived in Michigan and we live in Pennsylvania. Nicole’s godmother had a party at her house after the christening, and she had a ferret. Jeanne walked around the entire time holding that ferret and making a fuss about it. Really?

As time went on, Jeanne would call me – often. And she didn’t want to talk baby talk. She wanted to talk about Jeanne. Incessantly. I couldn’t get off the phone with her. Jeanne seemed to be undergoing a transformation of sorts. She had decided that to become highly educated was her answer. So that’s what she did. And that’s what she wanted to talk about.  For  hours.  It didn’t matter if the baby was screaming in my arms.  She seemed not to notice.  I would practically have to hang up on her to just get off the phone.   And Jeanne didn’t approve that I didn’t have the same drive as she did at the time. I was raising a baby and she just didn’t seem to “get it”.

I had hoped that even though we were clearly very different people, that she would be happy that we were reunited, and accept me as I was. That we could enjoy a friendship. But it didn’t work out that way.

So, I stopped answering the phone.

We haven’t talked since.


We came back from Michigan, and now we would discover what our “settling in” period would be like. There is a “honeymoon” phase that you read about with adoption reunions, and I think Jeanne’s trip to Scranton and our trip to Michigan were a part of that phase. There’s so much excitement in the beginning, and uncertainty, and emotions – it’s all sort of a whirlwind.

We lived far away, and this was before the internet really took off. So, we talked on the phone. We exchanged gifts for holidays, birthdays, etc.

I came back from Michigan armed with (finally) what my family medical history was. I wanted to become pregnant, and I knew now that I (and my then-husband) would have to get genetic testing. I won’t say why – maybe I will in future postings, (I’d have to find out if it is okay) – but not now.

Luckily, everything turned out okay, and I was able to go ahead and try to become pregnant. It was a long road – so it seemed at the time, and after 10 months of trying, I was thrilled to find out I was finally pregnant.

I don’t recall a lot of phone conversations with Jeanne at this time. I was, of course wrapped up in my life, and being pregnant.

I think it was then that I noticed that Jeanne was a little – “off”? For lack of a better word. She seemed very self-absorbed in this phase of our relationship, and that seemingly self-absorption would only increase as time went on. Things were very superficial, and I didn’t understand why. I was learning a bit more of her own family dynamics, and I remember at the time, being grateful for being in the family that I was in.

My birth mother didn’t seem “connected” – with me, or my pregnancy. This seemed surprising to me. And, as time went on and my delivery date drew near, this surprise would only deepen.


It was time to meet Charlie – my birth father.  I had no clue what to expect.

We were to meet at a restaurant – my (then) husband, myself, Charlie and his wife. 

It was – awkward. 

I didn’t really know what to expect, so I expected nothing.  My birth mother, I could sympathize with – my birth father – well, was just that.  Someone who I shared genes with.  I knew nothing of him, except that he was tall.  And that he had disappointed Jeanne. 

I couldn’t exactly fault him for that.  Unexpected pregnancies happen.  It’s the women (or teenager) left to deal with the consequences.  Which Jean did to the best of her ability.  They were both young.  Stuff happens.

He was nice, and he was pleasant – he seemed to feel awkward as well (as I believe the picture shows!)  We made small-talk.  I apparently had a half-sister and a half-brother who knew nothing about me.  Charlie wanted to keep it that way.  He told me about them – where they were at in their lives, and that was about it. 

He also shared medical information with me – and that was important.  I realized that I would need to get genetic testing done if I wanted to have a baby myself one day (which I did).  What he told me that day stayed with me, and played in the back of my mind for years.

So, we spent about an hour together.  We took a few uncomfortable looking pictures, and we said our goodbyes.

I wouldn’t speak to Charlie again for 18 years.

Charlie & Me - Hmm - Awkward?!


Jeanne and I first met in Scranton, as I have written earlier.  Our first meeting went quite well.  My parents were sweet and welcoming to her.  My mom always said she felt thankful towards Jeanne, and she gave her a special gift.  We all got together several times, Jeanne met my family – my brother, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Jeanne and I exchanged gifts.  She also brought me a photo album of her past and her family.  She brought me a pin that was her mother’s.  Things went as well as anyone could  have hoped for. 

I then travelled to Michigan to meet Jeanne’s family.  Her husband, son and daughter as well as her brother – my Uncle Leon. 

Michigan was great – as was meeting everyone.  Jeanne loved cats and had two beauties :).  My brother and sister, Tracy and Todd and I hit it off.  Everyone was so nice!   

Here are a few photos from our trip –

Meeting Tracy and Todd for the first time 🙂

Tracy, Jeanne, Me, Ray, Uncle Leon, Todd and Jack

Jeanne and Uncle Leon had also arranged for me to meet my birth father, Charlie during this trip.  We would meet the next day at a local restaurant.  Time to get nervous again!  I had no idea who, or what to expect.  As a woman, you can sort of relate better to what your birth mother went through.  I had no clue whatsoever how Charlie was feeling about all of this, but he HAD agreed to meet me – so that was a good thing – right?
 
 
 
 
 

At Lake Scranton - The day we drove to St. Joseph's


Mom, me and Jeanne - Jeanne's first visit


re·linquish·ment n.

    Synonyms: relinquish, yield, resign, abandon, surrender, cede, waive, renounce
    These verbs mean letting something go or giving something up. Relinquish, the least specific, may connote regret: can’t relinquish the idea.
    Yield implies giving way, as to pressure, often in the hope that such action will be temporary: had to yield ground.
    Resign suggests formal relinquishing, or acquiescence arising from hopelessness. Abandon and surrender both imply no expectation of recovering what is given up; surrender also implies the operation of compulsion or force: abandoned all hope for a resolution.

.

Two weeks after giving birth, Jeanne had no choice but to surrender all hope, and it was decided that I would be relinquished to St. Joseph’s.

She went back to Michigan with her mother, and life went on. I don’t know, nor can I imagine her heartache.

I was in St. Joseph’s from October, until December 22nd. Which is where my story began. I was adopted by my wonderful parents. Merry Christmas Mary Christine! They had applied for adoption in August, and surprisingly, they got their baby four months later.

I have pictures of the day I was adopted – red-haired baby bundled up in my grandmother’s laundry basket, where we were visiting. I will look for them, and post them here. I will also post pictures that pertain to individual parts of this story:)

Jeanne and I parted ways in early October of that year, and we wouldn’t meet again until 31 years later….


Jeanne had avoided going back to St. Joseph’s. She gave birth to me at a hospital in Scranton. After a few days, she and her mother and I went back to their apartment in Clarks Summit. It was still her hope that somehow, she’d be able to keep me.

She had me baptized at a beautiful church in Clarks Summit – “Our Lady of Snows”. The gown I was christened in is the gown she would keep for 31 years. The gown she gave me when we met. It was the gown I had my beautiful daughter, Nicole christened in.

She had named me too – Veronica! (I will say, I’m happy my name didn’t stay Veronica! lol)

Jeanne kept me for two weeks – all the while hoping that she’d somehow be saved. Hoping that my birth father would come through. She knew her time was up and decisions would have to be made.

One day, Jeanne was holding me and was going downstairs. I guess an argument with her mother ensued, and her mother pushed her on the steps while she was holding me. I can’t imagine what she must have been going through all these months, feeling trapped, hoping she wasn’t in this alone.

But she realized she was. She was a 19 year old girl, with a baby and no support system. Her mother apparently wasn’t the answer. My birth father wasn’t going to come through.

With that push on the stairs, Jeanne knew it was over.


Jeanne was left with no alternative but to tell her mother. I don’t know much about that conversation, but I do know Jeanne was “sent away”. From Michigan to St. Joseph’s in Scranton, PA. The “home for unwed mothers”.

We drove to St. Joseph’s together and sat and talked. It looks so institutional there.

She described a desolate place filled with unhappy girls and strict nuns. You could go out for a walk – if you were “good”. Being good meant that you sucked it up and didn’t CRY or show emotion. Very Christian place. So, you’d cry at night after the lights went out, and hoped that you weren’t caught “being bad”.

Jeanne begged her mother to get out of there. She couldn’t come home, but her mother agreed to come to Scranton. They got an apartment together in Clarks Summit. This is where she waited out the rest of her pregnancy.

In the meantime, she held out hope that my birth father would somehow come to her rescue – you know – “do the right thing”. I believe his parents were supportive of her, and I imagine, but am not sure, that they would have encouraged him to step up. She told me they were extremely nice people. So, she held her breath, and waited.

I was born on September 15th.


We got all settled in at the house. We talked a lot that first night, and she brought a photo album for me – of Jeanne as a child and growing up, her parents, her family, and her son and daughter – my half-brother and sister. Our plan for the next day was to take a ride around Scranton, and talk some more.

We drove to St. Joseph’s and sat outside awhile. I could tell it was hard for Jeanne to relive this. Her story was an incredibly difficult one.

Jeanne was raised in a very strict Catholic family. Very disciplined. She was happy to go off to college and start living her life. She dated someone who would be the first person she would sleep with – my birth father. It was Christmas night (there’s that Christmas thing again!), and they went on a date and had a few drinks.

What happened that night changed everything – forever.

When she realized she was pregnant, her fear must have been unbearable. HOW would she ever approach her super-religious mother with this news? She told her older brother her dilemma, and they decided the best approach would be to tell their father – he would likely be the more understanding of the two, and would help her break the news to her mother.

Then, the unthinkable happened. Just as she was going to tell him – he died a sudden death – heart attack.

Oh. My. God.

She was left with terrible grief, and a terrifying secret and only one person to turn to – her mother.


Today was the day I was to meet my birth mother. I was almost 31 years old.

We drove to the airport in Allentown to pick her up. She had gotten the picture of me that I mailed to her, so she knew what I looked like. I didn’t get the picture she’d sent – so I had NO idea who I would be looking for in the crowded airport. We nervously waited.

The plane landed. People started getting off – and I was sort of expecting she’d be one of the first off the plane for some reason. But nobody looked like they were looking for me lol. More and more people got off the plane, until it was just the last few stragglers getting off. At this point, I started joking around – saying under my breath to ANY woman who got off the plane – old or young, black or white – “are you my mother”? lol

Well the plane emptied. No Jeanne. Now what?!

I phoned her house and learned she had missed her flight! Wow – more waiting!

So, we sat and waited and finally her plane landed. When people started getting off – I saw her. She was petite – just like me (lol -not!) and she was cute. And we hugged. We laughed about her missing her flight. We looked at each other and smiled a lot.

She had something in her arms that she had carried all the way from Michigan on her lap on the plane – My christening gown. My 31-year-old christening gown. She had saved it all these years. Waiting for this moment.

How sweet is that?

I couldn’t wait to get home, get settled, and TALK.


Friday finally rolled around – I thought it would NEVER come! Pacing, staring at the phone, crazy! RING phone! – And in the same thought – Oh my God! What are we possibly going to say to each other?

It’s funny – you get consumed with “the search” and when reality slaps you in the face – you have a whole other set of issues to deal with – and you have to deal with them fairly quickly! And you have to have courage. Something like this definitely takes courage…

Finally the phone rang. It was my birth mom, Jeanne. I could tell she was nervous as well, so that helped. We did the dance most adoptees and birthparents probably do the first time you speak. “How ARE you?” “I’m fine – how are YOU?” LOL – good god – REALLY? Awkward City!!

So, we then quickly got to the snapshots of each of our lives. Jeanne is married and has 2 children – a boy and a girl. So I have 2 half siblings. I am excited about that! There were odd coincidences – she had been pregnant with twins – a boy and a girl, and she lost the boy. She had named him Christopher. And, she lost him at Christmastime. We talked for quite a long time, and it was nice. And it became easier. I could tell she had quite a story to tell. All that had happened to her leading to this day.

We decided that we would meet. We (snail) mailed each other a picture of ourselves so that we’d know who we were looking for at the airport.

Jeanne was to come to Scranton within a week.


Years went by since I tried to find information about my birth parents.  I lived in Virginia when I went to St. Joseph’s with my mother, and left the letter giving my permission for them to release my information to my birth parents if they so desired.

One day the phone rang.  It was mom.  She said “are you sitting down”?  Hmm.  This might be interesting.  I wasn’t alarmed because she didn’t sound upset.  “Go ahead mom – I’m sitting down.”

YOUR BIRTH MOTHER IS LOOKING FOR YOU.

Wow.

What a rush it is to hear those words.  A million things go through your mind.  Now what?  Whoa – am I READY for this?

Finally – my birth mother had contacted St. Joe’s.  They looked in my file and there was the letter I had left years ago.  The contact information I had left indicated my phone and address in Virginia.  I had moved back to Pennsylvania and never thought to update it.  Luckily, they had my parents phone number and they called them and told them the news.  I was to call St. Joe’s.

So, I called – and yes, it was true.  My birth mother wished to have contact.  It was a Wednesday.  I was to wait until Friday for her call. 

Really?  They tell you this BIG news, then make you wait.  They STILL wouldn’t tell me anything about her.  I didn’t even know where she would be calling me from, or what time.

So, I waited.

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