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Posts Tagged ‘birthmom’


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.

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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.

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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.

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