Posted in Adoption, My Adoption Story

Adoption Story 6- Purpose

Purpose.

I was not an immaculate conception. L had a little help, getting pregnant. We will call him D. From the little L told me there was nothing extraordinary about their relationship, except maybe he was a bit more intense about it than she. Once I was conceived, L realized that under the circumstances, spending the rest of their lives together as Mr. and Mrs. would not be good for anyone involved. A mistake was made with the sex, no need to perpetuate it.

D wanted to get married and have a family. Yet wanting something does not make it right.

Before I continue I want to explain,I want to be very respectful of D and his family. I love them and care for them. I don’t know if I actually have the ‘right’ to open the closets the skeletons are kept in. I don’t think I should, completely, I will give you a peek. I believe I do need to share ‘the story’, to honor, to acknowledge the life of a young man who loved a baby he never knew, D.

For D,there was strife and turmoil, behind a white picket fence facade. An overbearing father, a mother who chose to be a victim of this. Possibly her desperation to hide the ugly from everyone on the outside and keep that picket fence painted  was even more damaging than the harshness of the father.

The father (my grandfather) was never told about the pregnancy. For fear of his reaction, D and his mother decided to never tell him.  L describes meetings with her parents, D and his mother, trying to work things out. D wanted to marry. L knew it would not work. D wanted to raise the baby on his own. They all knew it would not work.  He could not even tell his father. D’s mother did not want D’s father to know. All of this was a terrible blow to D. D and L’s relationship dissolved. D became angry. L had to remove herself from the situation and moved to the adoption home.

Almost a year and a half after I was born and given to my family, a tragedy of life happened. One of the renditions goes something like this;  D was brought  home drunk,by his mother. From what the newspaper article says, and what the siblings of D know, and adding what L remembered of D, he had been troubled, he was distraught over something only he and his mother knew of. He had been acting out for months. Another argument ensued, the gun his mother had carried with her for protection as she went to find her son that night, was out. D made statements about not having anything to live for, everything he loved was taken away. A struggle between a mother and son, the father watched. A shot, through the heart, and 17 year old D is dead. Tragic.

For my Aunt and Uncle, D’s siblings, this was just the beginning of tragic events. Their parents divorced. Within a year of the shooting their mother was killed in a car accident. Now no one in their family knew of me.  A year after their mothers death their father died from a virus he contracted on vacation in Mexico. By the time Uncle was a high school graduate and Aunt was a freshman in high school, they had lost all family except each other.  As circumstances had it, they were ‘brought in’ by opposite family, Uncle fraternal family and Aunt maternal. Fraternal and maternal had burned bridges with D’s death.

When I met L she told me of D, their relationship, his name and family, and his death. L suggested I not pursue the family. His being dead and his family not knowing of me, it made sense.  I agreed. For a time. About two years after finding L, God started pulling at my heart again.  I felt a need, to find them.  My thought was just to get some medical history. God wanted me to find them for another reason. I know God wanted this to be done, it was so easy to find them, I do not even remember how I did it.  L had given me the family names, same thing I had to work with before, within an hour I had the name and number of my now married Aunt.

I called a couple of times not getting an answer, maybe an answering machine.  Finally Aunt answered. By this time and the circumstances being different, D being dead, Aunt not having the shame to bear, I was not as ‘careful’ about my announcing whom I was. I said “ I am Christy Petty, and I am D’s illigitimate daughter.” Aunt did not even need to ask, she said “ You must be L’s.”  I confirmed and Aunt explained she had had no idea about me but it made sense. Finding out about me helped explain a lot of the turmoil her brother had gone through. One thing she said at the end of the conversation was “ You are the light the end of a dark tunnel.”  I did not know what that meant, until I heard of the estranged relation she and Uncle and the family had had all the years past.  Until I realized the plan God had.

Within months of finding Aunt, we met. She gave me a baby book of my D’s. Pictures of him. He was so young. They found that my cousin W actually does look like a family member, me.  They met all of my boys, and refer to them as nephews and my sons call them Aunt and Uncle.

Since then we have had a  Thanksgiving at my home with my parents, Aunt and Uncle, their spouses and children. Mom and Dad loved them, they became their family too.  We went to the beach with Aunt and Uncle, met some maternal great-aunt and uncles. Had a fraternal family reunion. Some fences have been mended, some bridges rebuilt. God had a plan.

I have come to realize that God does not cause the turmoil, the heartache the shame and grief in our lives. We bring it. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. God has thoughts of peace and all good for us. It is our choices, that bring it on.  Our choices affect the world, sometimes a little sometimes a lot.  God knows our future, though he does not make it. This is a saying God gave me years ago, after the death of my brother, God does not cause these things on purpose, but he makes a purpose for all things.  I have a purpose. God knows.

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Posted in Adoption, My Adoption Story

Adoption Story 5-We Meet

I don’t think there was anything extraordinary in the way I presented myself to the social worker that she allowed me information to find my bio family. My knowing where to look, in the library, how to put the trail together, was not my brilliance.  The words, the complete sentences, without blubbering,I spoke, first, to my biological mother, were not my own.  My fearless leaps were not from the unsure heart that beat wildly in my throat.The unbridled joy, bio mother and family,felt at the return of me in her life, was not generated on their own.  The extraordinary, the brilliance, the courage, the joy all were God. This desire, the search, the find, the response, all answered prayers, answered before I prayed, answered before I was born, answered before L realized the heartbreak she carried within her. I knew then and even more now, God is the why of everything good and right. My hopes and joys exist because of Him.

I asked Keith what he remembered of my meeting, face to face, with L, 24 years ago. His recollection is of totally different events than mine. Both are limited. Not only time has robbed me of many memories, but also the fear, the nerves from that first meeting turned much into fog.  We had several conversations before meeting, I remember more of those.  For me the actual meeting, was a whirl of questions, thoughts, impressions, fear, joy.  I was looking at her, a total stranger, yet blood of my blood.  I was listening to every word from her, yet not hearing content only sound. Wondering if she liked me? If she was just being polite, but truly just wanted me to leave? If she liked me more before she actually saw me? If she thought I was fat ?(I wish I was that fat now 😉 ) Had she cried for joy, sadness, or regret over me, ever? Would she would want to know me? Would we become family? Did she think my children were gorgeous? Did she want to claim them as grandchildren? How do I explain to them the difference between she and their ‘real grandparents’ my parents?  Why did she have to live across the state? I wondered if this was the right woman. Why did she keep looking at Keith?

When planning to meet L, I did not want to make the trip just about me meeting her, I hated putting the family out for me. I could have flown by myself, but that would have been awkward, the whole purpose being me meeting her, she seeing me. Not to mention the expense of me getting there and leaving all my loved ones at home eating bologna.  If we all went, she gets to meet  the boys, Keith, my everything. I get to meet her, as if she is   someone from the past I am catching up with. Which she actually was.  We were just dropping by on the way to somewhere else, so time constraints get us back on the road.(a reason to run away if need)  We would stay in hotels, do some fun on the way, make it a vacation. We traveled miles and miles and miles with 3 and 5 year old boys. We were on a vacation, the lower middle class kind where you go and blow money on Holiday Inn and be proud because it is not Motel 6, and eat cheap fast food.We are not big ‘savers’, we probably were going on tax return money and my parents gas cards, to pay back later. The stop to meet the bio family was put in the middle of Six Flags and visiting an old friend of Keith’s who lived in Arkansas.  I am a practical traveler, I want to get all the worth of my time and money, if a relative lives in a town, we must visit.  Keith is not a practical traveler. Keith HATES to visit family in a town if the goal is vacation. He thinks if we have doctors appointments or business in town it is NOT the time to visit others or vacation. He is the ultimate one track mind.

I wore my favorite skirt, high waisted, v front panel, khaki, buttoned with brass buttons up the front. A peach knit shirt, with tiny rose buds on it, like the pattern on my baby blanket, Mom saved for me. This was the year of the perm, so my hair was CURLY shoulder length, and still naturally blond. I felt fat. That skirt, though, would not reach around my waist today, even if I sucked in. My boys, gorgeous, cute and adorable. Their golden blond hair in bowl cuts, they almost looked like twins. Keith tall dark and ever so handsome, my rock. I remember knocking on the door of the cute little house, a home L moved in to from her lifetime home town. I looked down at the boys and up at Keith, knowing my blessings. I looked up as the door opened and into the eyes of the woman who gave me birth. I recognized her from her picture, she was much prettier though. I thought, ‘She does not photograph well, either’. Her mother was standing behind her waiting expectantly. We walked in and a mother I do not know and I attempted to hug, awkwardly. Grandmother, I did not know grabbed my hand pulled me toward her and gave me a hug, I felt my grandmother, Mamaw and my caretaker for my first 5 years, Mamie, wrap their arms around me, I stepped back and looked into tear filled eyes of peace and love.

My bio grandmother died a year after I met her, from the ovarian cancer. Years later, I was attending my sisters wedding ,a sister in law of my bio grandmother told me what peace it had brought Bio Grandmother to have met me. She said Bio Grandmother had worried and prayed for me always. Bio Grandmother had considered keeping me and raising me, but knew that would be hard for L. But she still regretted and worried. The aunt thought that having known I was safe is what allowed bio grandmother to have peace from that the last year of cancer. I thank God I listened when he called.

Introductions of boys and Keith were made as we stood in the doorway. The oddest thing to me was their attention to Keith. I wanted more to me, to the boys, I wanted for them to see family members in my boys faces, and they would not quit peering at Keith, who was no relation to them. Keith is attractive, but seriously, not all that, and these are older women, and this was about ME not him. They went to the kitchen together to get drinks for us as we settled in the living room, I felt they were talking of us, impressions etc, or course they would. When they returned L asked a bit about Keith and where he was from. I then thought, maybe this is the wrong person, maybe she had a son instead of a daughter. Or maybe Keith looks like some other family member  of theirs and I am married to a cousin or something. It was odd. Then L began to explain her curiosity, attentions to Keith, she said that he looked amazingly similar to my biological father. What she remembered of him, 24 years ago. Bio Grandmother agreed.   Wow!

 

I met 2 of my three half siblings. The oldest boy did not make the move, he was not living in the home any longer, so I did not meet him. I met the girl, my sister, in passing, she was leaving with friends to go back to her recently left home for a visit. It was a very quick, too quick, introduction. Polite, explained well by her and L that she had plans to visit left friends, she had been busy when I arrived, and would not return until after I left.  The small talk made with her was very nice, she was very kind. I knew, then, it had to be at least weird to be meeting the illegitimate child of your mother.  Sister explained later that she had some issue with all the finding out of me, some sorting out to do.  I can only imagine.  The youngest, a boy was about 13, he was quiet, yet talkative when we spoke alone in the backyard. He had recently lost his dad, moved, his brother did not move with him, his grandmother was dying of cancer, and his mom just came up with another kid, I am surprised he was normal. My impression of him was he might be a bit geeky, if video games existed then he would have been a gamer. I loved talking with him, we talked about nothing and everything while the boys ran around in the backyard, his move, his new school, what he liked. He said he thought it was neat I found his mom. He figured it must have made her really sad to have not known about me all those years.

On first contact with L she explained she had not told her children of me. Her husband had advised her to tell them, as well as search for me, but she never could bring herself to do either. My finding her forced her to tell. Telling them was not as bad as she had anticipated, again one of those obvious God interventions.  A surprise for L was the response from the two older, #1 son said “ I wondered when you would tell us about her.” and daughter said “ I always thought there was another one.”  Sister told me later that as a young child #1 son would tell her that they had a big sister that would take care of them, kind of like an invisible friend.  She said he also would use this ‘big sister’ to scare her into doing whatever he wanted,also, saying the big sis would hurt her if she did not.  No wonder she had to work through things before she got to know me. #1 son does not know how he knew but he said he always knew there was another, a big sister. Did he sense it? Had he overheard his parents talking of me? No one knows.

Keith remembers eating dinner with them in their house, and Lee talking a lot, both boys entertaining, and keeping the mood light. I don’t remember the meal at all. I remember eating at Schlotsky’s and L and I both ordering turkey with mustard, and L noticing and saying how her family thinks it so weird not to eat turkey with mayonnaise. I remember getting in L’s car scooting across the seat, and finding a picture stuck in the crack. It was a black and white, of a girl sitting in the grass, hair in a headband, she looked just like me when I was in high school. I was showing it to Keith and L got in the car, asked where I found it, I explained and she said it probably fell out in the move, and tossed it on the dash. At the same time she said she did not like the way she looked in the picture, I told her it looked a lot like I did.   I wish I had that picture. I remember going to the antique/flea market with her, Keith does not.

I remember conversations with L.  I told L of my wonder over her not remembering my birthday, I explained my romantic fantasy of our thinking of each other then.  I remember us sitting in her kitchen when she explained that in order for her to survive, for her to live with herself she had to make herself forget for the last 24 years. I know today I feel guilt and sadness a sense of failure over not finding lost pets. I wonder on their feeling abandoned, if they died, were hurt, starved, if they are taken by others.  L felt that, and more, for a child, her child. She had to make her self not dwell on these things, she had a family other children who needed her to focus on them, to love them, and she did.

I felt I needed to thank L for giving me a better way, for sacrificing herself, for taking the harder road. Not that she did it for ME, she did not know me, I just happened to be the baby. I wanted to reassure her that I appreciated her, that I sympathized with her. I thanked L for not having an abortion,  and giving me for adoption. L’s answer is something I think all should hear, and know.

L said, she really did not deserve a great deal of thanks. She said she was a good person, she followed the rules,she was church going, she always did what was right, law abiding. Getting pregnant was not following the rules, having sex unwed, was a wrong choice. It would have been much easier to have an abortion and not endure the physical and emotional pain, to not shame the family, except at that time abortions were illegal. Had abortions been legal she would have had one. She had already broken the rules and became pregnant, breaking another and having an abortion would just make it worse. She said she did not want to hurt me, she was being honest. I was not hurt, I understood. So often, too often, we let man be what governs our decisions, define for us what is moral.  We justify our actions, our choices, even if they go against obedience to God, because our government says it is all ok.  I thank God abortions were not legal, then. I pray that abortions would go against all societies moral standards . I pray for  abortions to be illegal just as murder is. If abortion had been legal 48 years ago not only would I not exist, but 3 men and 6 children would not either.   How many lives have been lost,how many purposes destroyed by abortions?

Bio grandmother was an amazing woman. L is a product of her. L is an amazing woman. I am a product of her. I hope it is genetic.

 

Posted in Adoption, My Adoption Story

Adoption Story 4- Contact

I am calling my biological mother at her sisters home, because my sister who does not know I am actually her sister,  gave me the number and told me to call her mom, mine too. ” …because it would do her good to hear from someone from her past .”.

I sat in my bedroom, on my bed. Tethered to the wall with a phone. I hear my two boys, (third is not a twinkle yet)  playing in the other room with their dad.  I hear the ring tone in the earpiece. I pray that I  know what to say. I pray that she be there. I pray she want to hear from me. I pray that God give me the courage to …  The ringing stops, a child’s voice says “Hello” , I ask if L is there.  My heart is pounding.

“Aunt L, it is for you.” I hear voices in the back ground, women talking.

Hello?

“Hi, I’m Christy Petty.  You don’t know me…. “ I really do not know verbatim what I said, I only have snippets my words, – My mind was a whirl ,my heart was pounding, my soul was leaping and jumping for joy.  I was talking to my biological mother, I was hearing her voice for the first time. I was trying to picture her. I was wondering if she would want to know me. I was praying she would. I hoped I would not hurt her, cause her any more turmoil in life. What if she hung up? What if she is angry? How do I explain my understanding of her not wanting me in her life, when all I do want is her in my life.  What if this is somehow not the right person? Like the Gann name being wrong?

I have to be clever and romantic and hint who I am.I tell her I know she has had a lot of things happen recently and that if she does not have the time for me right now, I will understand. And then I ask if my birthdate means anything to her?

She says “Go on.”

I think, ‘OH CRAP, this is not her, how can that not mean anything to her. For as long as I can remember I knew that on my birthday my biological mother would be remembering me on that one day of the year, the time that we would both be thinking of each other.I say “ I was born in San Antonio, in the Mission Home, I was put up for adoption… by you.”  The last more a question than statement.

What I heard next I will always always remember. Two words, spoken by L, actually  to the women in the room with her, her mother- my grandmother, her sister- my aunt.

L said. “It’s her.”

I hear a woman respond with “What?” in the background.

L repeats “It’s her.”  emphasizing HER.

Screaming, laughing repeating “It’s her.” “She called.” She found us.”  goes on for minutes from female voices in the room with L

Just those two words, the reaction to the two words, removed all doubt, all fear for me.  These women, a mother of a daughter who gave up a child, a grandmother of a lost grandchild, a mother who gave a child away, a daughter who disappointed, a sister who watched her sister struggle and cry,, they all thought of, desired to know, wanted for, HER,-me.

They quieted down, I could hear sounds through the phone, others asking what was going on, women’s voices explaining.  L began to talk again. She says, her mother and sister are with her, they have always wondered about me always wanted to know about me. She says she always wanted to find me.

She asks, “ Do you hate me?”

I am a bit stunned, saddened,  that obviously, this was a burden L has carried.

I answer “ No definitely not. I love her. Mom and Dad explained to me the sacrifice you made, how your love is why you were able to give me up for adoption, to give me a better life.”

She answers with praise to my parents. She asks about them, about my family. She says you have brothers right?  She knew and remembered things they told of the family who adopted me. They were teachers or something right? She treasured things in her heart for me.

L wants to know how I found her, I explain. I hope, to her, she is not angry with the social worker, she is not.  She explains she wanted to look for me, her husband, who by the way is NOT my father, had tried to convince her to do so, all the years past. She never did because she was afraid I would not want to meet her.   I tell her of calling her daughter, she tells me her name. I told her I did not tell her who I was.  L explains her children do not know about me. She will need to explain to them, before I meet them of course.  Well of course, and she wants to meet me.

I ask about her children. The oldest son is just a couple of years younger than I, L married her husband just after high school and had first child with in the year after.  Just like me. Daughter is next, about 4 years younger than I, then the youngest another boy, about 9 years younger

Everything L tells me generates about 50 more questions.  Names of half siblings, ages., What school did you go to. How did husband die? When are you moving? Who was my father? L had questions of her own, of my parents, were they good to me? My brothers ages.  Married to whom? When did I marry? Where did I grow up?

What we don’t talk about is the ‘how’ of my conception, the whys, the what for’s.  We basically knew what we knew. It was not necessary to get into the details, this time, that was for later.

When I asked of my biological father, she says, “You know he is dead don’t you?” I did not, but I for some reason had a feeling he was, for years.  I figured with his age he would have served in Vietnam, and for some reason believed him to be dead.  I told her this, she explained he died by a tragic shooting accident about a year after I was born.  She did not see him at that time, she would explain more later.

L is the one who brought the phone call to a close, she said she had to go and talk to her mother and sister. She had to gather her thoughts.  She was going to call her daughter at home she thought, and explain to her, or maybe wait till she went home.  She had to gather her thoughts. We had been on the phone for over an hour, this would cost too much. (pre long distance was affordable time) She would call me soon or I her, we would figure out a time to get together, to meet. She would be moving within the week and the kids would be moving, starting new schools.Leaving home they always knew, where their father had recently died. L. had a lot of explainin to do.

We exchanged numbers, addresses. I asked for pictures and she did the same.  I don’t remember sending her any, I hope I did. I received from her, a few days later, maybe weeks. Prompt response and correspondence skills or lack of turns out to be genetic.

I still have my stack of pictures from L. Picture of Grandmother, Aunt, Cousins, Sister, Brothers. Polaroid shot of L. All very random shots, someone sitting on couch, two standing in kitchen in some house. This was pre digital days, pre internet– we are so spoiled now.

L was packing to move,her husband had recently died, mother in last stages of ovarian cancer. L went through memories, tragic memories at a time she was having to start over, to find glimpses of a her life to share with someone, though genetically hers was a total stranger. It seems small, I suppose, but I think it great. I can not imagine what she was looking for me to see, for me not to see. I do not know how many pictures of her husband she passed over as she searched. How do you choose a picture of yourself to give to someone you thought hated you for 24 years?

My first reaction when I saw her picture? She is thin, skinny, petite, just like Mom, so now what is my excuse?!!

Posted in Adoption, My Adoption Story

Adoption Story 3 -The Find

I had not lost hope in finding my biological family. Actually I knew I would sometime, I had that peace-that -passeth ‘feeling’, about it. Mom and Dad were supportive, in that they would ask occasionally, if anything had turned up. They were interested in information I received. They even offered to help out financially with the legal fees, if it came to that.

Once I sent the letter to the home to state my searching, waiting for my bio to do the same, I basically quit actively searching. I would pray often, probably daily, that God would let me find my mother. I recall one of my ‘intense’ prayers on this, I was out driving alone, probably mad at Keith, pulled off the road in the country and was praying and listening to the radio. The song Somewhere Out There came on, that is one Fivel sang when he was searching his family, I had loved this song, because it so matched my, find-mother thoughts. ‘“Somewhere out there someone(my biological mother who will understand me like no other) is thinking of me”….  I prayed and sang and cried and pleaded with God. You could say the Spirit moved within me, it was a sitting on my Fathers knee and laying my head on His chest moment. I did not know then, but God was working some miracles up then, and got me involved.

Keith and the boys and I had attended  my cousin’s wedding, near San Antonio. It was a great family reunion. I saw my brothers, parents, all the clan. God blessed me with an amazing family. There were 10 of we cousins, 4 boys 6 girls. And we were adding more with weddings and babies at a good steady pace. After the wedding and celebrations, Keith, the boys and I  came through San Antonio and met Keith’s parents for a couple of days of more vacation. Vacation is not something we did very often. At this time of our life, we were usually broke. I think this was my first time to San Antonio since being married, and having kids. I told Keith I really wanted to see the adoption home. It is like  driving past the house you were born in, even if you don’t remember it , you want to see it. Keith agreed and I called the home to see if I needed an appointment.  The social worker first started with not having any more info, I interrupted and explained I was coming to see the place and if she were there I would like to meet her. She said she very much would like to meet me and set up time she would be there. I was not expecting anything but a tour of the campus.

Thinking back to this day, I do not remember anything at all about the home. I don’t remember the social workers face. I don’t remember her name.  What I do remember, changed my life.  We were in the office of the social worker, Keith and I . I suppose we had left the boys with Keith’s parents. The social worker was making small talk, about the home, my parents, my kids. We all must have said something about my searching. She made the statement that she thought I was very well-adjusted and seemed to have a healthy attitude about the possibility bio would not want me to contact her. Not knowing how to respond, I thanked her. After a bit of conversation she stood and said

“ I have something I have to do, and I want you to stay here in my office,I will be back in a few minutes.”

She left. I stood up immediately and seemed to know what to do. God took me and moved me to her desk, showed me, sitting on her desk was an open folder and a piece of paper was sitting there on top with handwritten names. A girl name, first and last underneath that was “Father:” and then his name, last name the same as the girl name, and a town. I grabbed a piece of paper of my own and wrote these three names down. That is all I needed. Keith at first had gone towards the file cabinets, and when I went to the desk and saw this, I must have said “here it is.” I don’t know if Keith knew, being the unadopted ;), that this was all of it. But I did.  I put my note in my purse and moved over to my chair and we waited a few more minutes for the social worker to return. I explained in hushed tones to Keith what I could do with just these three names. Having a real name and a town WAS everything.  I wanted to run out the room right then and start.  The social worker, the angel disguised in human form, returned walked to the desk, closed the file, apologizing for having to leave. She then spoke of hoping my search would go well and she enjoyed meeting us.  We shook hands and held on a bit longer than necessary and left. Nothing else, no hints, winks, or raised eyebrows.  The sun was a bit brighter, the air clear and the sultry Texas heat wrapped it’s arms around me and gave me a hug as I walked out of that building. I do recall that envelope of love. God is an awesome God.

I wanted to go to the library right there in San Antonio. And find what I could find. It was closed. It was Saturday on 4th of July weekend. Bother! Then when we arrived home I was not able to get in the library on Monday, it was Monday July 4th. ARGGGGH.

Tuesday, I was there, I asked the librarian where the phone books, land books were kept, she pointed the way, to the basement. She also explained that there were cross-reference listings, these showed people associated to addresses once you had an address. I did not think that would pertain to my search, but thanked her anyway. My search started a search for the father’s name in the  current phone book for the town. It was not there. Then I looked for the same in the year I was born.  I found it pretty quickly. My heart leapt.   Then I thought, what do I do with this, obviously they have moved, or died. I remembered the cross-reference and had an ‘Aha’ moment (God). I went to the cross-reference and found the name, then all the names of the people who were neighbors of.

I then went to the present phone book and found a couple of people who still lived in the neighborhood and now I had a plan.  Remember, this is pre computer, pre cell phone, so all of this is flipping pages and taking notes and going back home to get to a phone to make an expensive long distance call.

I thought up my story. I was a friend from high school of L and I was trying to track her down. Very simple, and not quite a lie. I called one of the neighbors, they recalled the family, but they did not know them as well as the So and So’s, the other name I had, and suggested I call them. I did, and received all the information I needed. The father (my grandfather had died) L, such a sweet girl, had married just out of high school to Mr. Right.  (Was Mr Right my father? )  They had 3 children. Such a sad thing had recently happened, Mr Right had died a few months ago. (Was this my father?) Now L’s mother (my grandmother) was now battling cancer and they were all going to move to another town to be closer to L’s sister. My heart ached for this mother I never knew. They had a number for L, because my grandmother had given it to them.  WOW. I was given the phone number to call L.  BUT, I had to consider, L. was going through a pretty rough time of her life, this may not be the best time to step up and say “ Hey ‘Mom, remember me?”  I thought on it, prayed on it, called Mom and Dad and talked to them about it, discussed it with Keith.  WE all knew I had to follow through.Look at all the doors God had flung open. I had to prepare myself to her not wanting or being able to do this right now.

A couple of days later, that is all I could wait, I called the number. A female answered, I asked for L. Female explained L, her mother,  is not there and had gone out-of-town to move some things to new home for them, mother, grandmother, herself and brothers. Could she take a message?  My mind is spinning, my heart is thudding, I am speaking to my sister, half, at least, I say No, I would call later, what would be a good time?  My little sister, then asks who I am. I come up with my friend from high school story. Sis then proceeds to give me her Aunts phone number, saying her mom (OUR mom) does not have many friends in her life anymore and how hard it has been with the death of husband/sisters father etc, it would do her good to hear from an old friend.  I took the number and hung up. I pondered. I thought, No, I should not call her , not now, not knowing all the turmoil in her life.”  Then a still small voice told me I should. What better time than when she was with those that definitely ‘knew’. I dialed the number.

Posted in Adoption, My Adoption Story

Adoption Story 2 -The Search

In the 60’s open adoptions did not exist. Names were changed or deleted to protect the innocent. Unwanted pregnancies, illegitimate children were morally shameful and those involved were shunned, so no one wanted to be connected to such, ever again. Adoption records were sealed and placed in a mystical locked vault somewhere in nowhere land. Court orders were needed to open the vault. Those wanting to open records, be it the adopted or the bio mother had to prove need, such as medical, and that would have to be dire need, such as no other kidney in all the universe could be used. This is all the daunting information on finding out the From -Whenst -I- Came information .In addition to this I was also told of the turmoil I could cause my bio. if she did not want to be found. The latter, became a concern of mine. But I still had to search, I HAD to.

I knew a little about ‘them’ , I had notes my mother had taken , I suppose in one of the interviews, or maybe when they picked me up.One side said ‘Mother’ the other ‘Father’ with a line drawn somewhat down the middle. Listed were their ages, grades completed.The number and sex of siblings and their ages and eye and hair colors. Their parents and ages and hair and eye color and education, degree or not. I did treasure this paper, and it’s information, I imagined my parents, and how they lived, the houses they occupied, the family dinners they shared from this paper. The home also provided a similar type written paper for Mom and Dad, the age of eye color, hair color, very basic. I could find them if knowing the age, eye color and amount of siblings one had was enough.

After having Lee, my first child, I became serious about searching. I was 19. (Yes married, yes within the ‘time frame’ yes we planned it , yes I WAS young. No I do not regret any of it!.)After a bit of research on how to search I contacted MMH to find if they had any contact with my bio mother or family. This, I learned, would be the best scenario, her asking to contact then me contacting then the home would get us together. No best scenario though, no contact from the bio. Once I took the step to contact the home, they were very helpful, and ‘assigned’ me a social worker, basically. I was ‘given’ to someone who would explain all the legalities of and protocol and, I think, council me a bit as we discussed things. I asked lots of and lots of questions for anything they had on file that they could share. I had read also to get a relationship with the case workers and someday if there was information to be had, then someone may drop a hint or make a mistake and let something out. My hope. One day I received some papers in the mail, most were the same as those my parents had and had given to me, except one had the name ‘Baby Girl Gann’ on it. I had a name! This was in the 80’s pre everyone has a computer and way way before internet and Google. So I was back in the library to find out more of what to do. I found that this was still no where near enough information, I needed at least a place of origin to be on any kind of trail. So I started calling the home again, about once a month. This is in the 80s pre historic technological time, there was no such thing as free long distance anywhere , ever. No cell phones. Definitely no home computers or internet. I would call just after paying a phone bill and have 3 weeks to wait till Keith found I had made another too long, long distance call and catch hell scrape up the money pay the bill wait three weeks and…. I was getting nothing. We had no money for any kind of legal open the record fees, heck couldn’t even afford 10 minute calls to San Antonio.

Life moved on, and making it from paycheck to paycheck and raising a child, children (Brian is 18 months younger than Lee) and family took precedent, as it should. Finding ‘her’ was always in the back of my mind, though. If we were visiting another town, I would grab a phone book and look up Gann, knowing that she was remarried and I had no way of knowing which Gann might be her family, still I felt I was doing something. One time we were playing with a Ouija Board with friends, (we were NOT Satan worshipers, just thought it was a game, we were naive) I asked ole Ouija my mothers name, it spelled out Daisy Gann, in some town I forget now. ‘It’ did spell out the “Gann’ and of course out of curiosity of the game and … I called info for Daisy Gann in the town. There was one. I got the number, I called it. I had to, right? I mean what are the chances of Ouija giving a name that actually exists in the town it tells me of AND it be bogus? Well this poor woman answered I go through the whole thing of how I came to her name first, then I tell of why I was searching , I got a real long silence for a response then a very cold response, “I gave up a baby a few years ago, ‘good bye’, then hang up. I don’t know what I did, but it was something very very wrong. I will not ever touch a Ouija board again,nor believe there is nothing to that evil thing again!! This was one of those moments in my life where I did REALity check. I was relying, obviously, on my might my expertise and not God. I gave the whole thing over to Him, asked him to lead, open doors, bring us together, how HE willed. I meant it, believed it, and let go.

I had a notebook of notes of conversations with the adoption home and documents I received from them, I would gather it and set myself up on the floor when I made my calls to the home. I remember ,soon after my ‘let go and let Him decision, making a check in call to the home, sitting on the floor with my notes sprawled before me, boys taking a nap, I had been passed to a new ‘case worker’(by God), I explained all I had done and asked if any more information had come in, like my bio mother calling. The new caseworker did me a HUGE help that day. She said ‘you know Baby Girl Gann is the name your mother or the home chose to give you don’t you?” I did not understand. She explained that the girls many times would just choose a name for the babies, or let the home, so their name was not associated with the baby, just in case. So all this time I had searched out Gann’s and harassed some poor woman Ouija sent me to I was going on a fake name. Crap. OR Thank God, for getting me on the right path!

This social worker and I ended up developing a pretty good relationship. I talked to her a lot about why I wanted to find my bio. More than curiosity, but less than an obsession. I felt drawn to. After having my own children and finally having this family, something is actually a part of me connection, I never ever had before, I just could not see how my biological mother would not want to at least see me, even if it was to walk away afterwards. I wanted to know medical history, I wanted to know if there were siblings, I wanted to know if I lived next door to someone I was related to. I also did not want to mess up anything for my bio family. I knew that possibly she had never told any one of me. What a mess that would be for her if I showed up. I told my case worker of the presenting stories I had made up so as not to ‘out’ my bio in my search. This case worker explained to me that opening the records could cause her to be outed, depending on the circumstances. I did not want this. The social worker had a letter put on file for me, that I wanted to be contacted if my bio contacted. I had come to a point where I needed to wait and see what would come of my prayers and hopes.

Posted in Adoption, My Adoption Story

Adoption Story -Typical Part 1

My adoption story has two parts, the typical What The Adoption Home Lets You Know and growing up knowing that story and the Fill in the Blank story after I found my bio family.

The typical: My bio mother and father were teenagers and by the ‘luck’ of things bio mother became pregnant. In the 60’s it was not easy on anyone involved in teenage pregnancies. The best option was to give the babies for adoption. My bio mother took that option and went to an adoption home to finish out the pregnancy and put me up for adoption.  My parents were wanting a daughter, my mother was advised after her second son to not have more children, I think she had a hysterectomy soon before adopting me. First they looked into adopting an older child, around 3 or 4. My mother’s uncle a district judge advised them to adopt an infant, because older children at times would have issues to deal with and sometimes the adoptions actually had more red tape than infants from homes. (He, knowing my mom, he may have known she would not have the patience to ‘handle’ a child with any ‘extra’ needs) So my parents put in their application to the Methodist Mission Home in San Antonio. Back ‘in the day’ the MMH would try to match the bio parents physical appearance to the adopting family appearance. In January, when my bio mother arrived at the home, my parents were contacted with the announcement of IF I was a girl they had a perfect match. I have a miniature tea cup and saucer with the January carnation on it, from my grandmother, commemorating the ‘time’ they first heard they would be getting me.  Four months later in April I was born and I was (still am) a girl, so my parents received their call and 7 days later arrived in San Antonio to pick me up. From that day on I was and forever will be Marvin and Patsy’ daughter.

I have always known I was adopted. I do not have a time that Mom and Dad sat me down and explained it to me. They just always told me. I guess at sometime I must have asked for clarification of it’s meaning, but it must have been at a young age. As far back as I can remember, which is probably 4ish, I could explain that my mother that carried me in her stomach gave me to my parents because she loved me so much she wanted me to have a mother and father and two brothers. My parents said when I was  2 years old, I would toddle around the local restaurant to the other diners and hold up 2 fingers and say “ I ‘dopted.”  There was never that moment I had to grasp what had ‘happened’ to me. I have been adopted just as I had blond hair and blue eyes, only difference is my hair has turned darker and grey and my eyes became hazel green when I was about 10,  I am not blond and blue eyed, but I am ‘dopted.

Being adopted is to me the same being a girl, being human, it is just who I am. My informing others of my being adopted comes up now and again. Usually I would bring it up, I kind of like the specialness of being adopted. I liked getting the attention, it made me stand out a bit, and usually I did not. Sometimes something irksome would come from others knowing, like the time my close friend Craig was jeering me for not knowing who my real mom was. His payback came when our other neighbor friend informed him he was adopted too. It really did rock his world, I don’t think he ever recovered! Other irksome times are when people will call my parents foster parents, or more ignorant, step parents, it does not hurt me really, just astounds me how ignorant people are of adoption, which then make me feel a bit odd.

Other times I would become aware is when family would sit about and talk about family members of the history, the greats, those that fought in Alamo, Civil war, fought indians, the ‘proud’ talk of lineage.  I would love to hear of it, and take credit for being part of it, but knew in my heart I really was not anymore connected to General Lee than Davy Crockett was. I was, am , proud to call them all my ancestors, but again in my heart of hearts. I know…..

When I was a teen my mother and I battled a bit. Mom did not battle just with me, she battled my brothers, so it was not ‘just’ that I was adopted and we did not ‘think’ alike. In the heat of the moment I would, at time, pull the adopted card and explain to her she could not tell me what to do because she was not my real mother. My real mother would not treat me in such a manner. Just crappy, mean, teenage, attitude at work, my adoption gave me a bit of mud to sling at times. One time after a rant of how misunderstood I was and that my real mother would not treat me thus and I wished I could be with her instead, my mom proceeded to tell me that my real mom would probably not take me back the way I was acting.  Damn, that one shut me up!

I was always curious about my biological mother. Thought especially about her on my birthday, and  she would think of me then, we would be thinking of each other, so poetic. Wondered if she was some rich princess or movie star. I never thought of her as being anything negative, Mom and Dad never portrayed her to be anything but a good person who made a loving choice to give me up, I could not think ill of her. In high school years I did justify my ‘promiscuity’ because, of course my mother had been also, but that was just me dealing with my own bad decisions and guilt from them.

I always wanted to find my bio mother. ALWAYS. Always knew her age, added 16 to mine. Imagined where she would be at that time of her life what she would look like. When I had my first child I knew I HAD to find her. I started the search. This is where the second part of my adoption story, of filling in the blanks begins,and this post ends….