On a weekend day like any other for a five year old I was with outside playing with my friend from across the street, when out of his mouth came “ your mom and dad aren’t your real mom and dad”. I pondered what this meant for a little while. My young mind not being able to decipher what this meant I went home to what would become the start of a lifelong struggle. I went to mom and repeated what I was told. There in the green velvet wallpapered dining room of our suburban my short life was altered forever. It was explained to me that I was born to a young girl who wasn’t able to keep me and that they my now parents couldn’t have a baby of their own and brought me home. This was a lot for my little mind to wrap itself around, and thus began my quest. At such a young age all I could do was look to my adoptive parents for answers to a series of questions that would haunt me for the next almost five decades of my life. Who was my real mom? Why didn’t she want me? And why didn’t she love me? What was so bad about me that my mom didn’t want to keep me ? This was the sixties when open adoption wasn’t even thought of, when an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy was a family embarrassment. Way before adoptees had any legal right to answers.
It wasn’t too long after the discovery of my adoption, we would meet this very nice older woman, she was very kind to me and acted as if she knew me for a long time. She would ask me strange questions about my every day life, if I was happy? Do I like our home? How mommy and daddy treat me? And then the big one. How would you like a little sister? I don’t recall my answers but the next thing we did was to drive a long way to visit a little girl , she was very shy, hiding behind , the skirt of what I now know was her foster mother. She didn’t want to play, she didn’t want to talk.
And I didn’t know what to make of any of this. In the weeks to come we would visit this strange house several more times, until one day we went and this little withdrawn silent child would come home with us.
My already confused juvenile mind was to to get a real jolt of what life was to become, my new sister would be a constant reminder of the fact that these people who we called mom and dad were not how a mom and dad should be. My new sister cried constantly, all the attention I received as an only child was now diverted to her. I was hurt, angry, and scared. I blamed her for all my pain. Jealousy and the feeling of rejection by my real mom and then by my adoptive parents was too much for a now six year child could handle, I tried to understand but couldn’t. I would take out my pain by causing pain to my sister. Constant teasing was to become a daily pastime.
At night when dad would get home she would run to him and tell of all the horrible thigs I had said and done. The result would be a severe scolding, but it was worth it. I was getting attention again, albeit negative but nevertheless attention.
Dad was always a drinker, and as the years went by this blossomed into severe alcoholism, Mom would be out most nights with different social activities and it would just be me sis and dad. As I started getting older the scolding had also blossomed, now instead of a few loud words of discontent about the treatment of my sister I would be taken to my room the door closed, the belt would come off and the beating and verbal abuse would ensue. I would be told I was crap, and how I would never be anything,
I started running away, never for more than a night before I either returned on my own for food and a warm place to stay, on occasion the police or a neighbor would return me. I don’t know exactly what changed, or the maybe it was the fact that nothing had changed but about midway through my thirteenth year of life I left for good.
There I was back in the city of my birth, and more importantly the beginning of my search for my mom.
I ended up staying with a family that a classmate of mine stayed with, so for now I had food and shelter.
I walk the streets for hours a day trying to figure out where to begin, I had years earlier discovered the hospital I was born in, so I tried getting answers there. By now I was fifteen and hardly in any position to extract any kind of information. Regardless I kept going hoping each time that a different receptionist may take pity on me and let me see the records of birth for my particular day entering this world. No luck, plenty of sympathy but that wasn’t what I wanted.
I was told that if you petition the courts that sometimes they would open your records and give you the name of your birth parents. That was it, I was off to the court house. Again frustration and disappointment. Not only was it quite costly, but the only way they would divulge such a secret as to who your mom is if there were a life or death medical situation. If only I had needed a kidney or something. Never mind that at sixteen I was living with a broken heart and mounting depression.
Sixteen was a milestone year, being what I thought was an adult I quit school, lied about my age and found a job. I rented a little studio apartment in a safe building, but in a very bad part of town.
Caught up in my new independents and success, I temporarily suspended my search. Not that I wanted to but the constant frustration of dead ends were too much to deal with. I worked a third shift job as a night watchman, and would sit in the movies all afternoon to escape from the real world. A world that would soon come crashing down around me.
After about eight months my boss called me in to the office, up till now I heard nothing but praise for the fine job I did, what a nice kid I was. Reliable and thoughtful. So I thought I was finally getting a much deserved raise. I couldn’t have been further from the truth. With a very sad look I was informed that they had to let me go, my true age was found out. So there I was no job, worse no way to pay my rent. I spent the next almost year on the streets of Boston, sleeping in abandoned buildings with the junkies, walking the streets on cold nights to keep warm.
Out of desperation I went back home to mom and dad. Through everything the pain of my heartbreak for my mother grew. I wanted so badly to have her hold me to tell me she loved me.
To feel the warmth and smoothness of her cheek against mine as we hugged. I loved her so much,
This woman who I had no memory of, yet had such an incredible bond with.Things at home were somewhat tolerable,and I was eventually able to straighten out my life
Over the next several decades, after sending hundreds of letters and frequent attempts with courts to obtain information of my start in this world, like all previous attempts I ran into legal roadblocks and dead ends.
About two months ago After many times of registering with various adoption search groups I was contacted by a woman who worked with a group called search angels. She informed me that the state of Massachusetts had changed the laws regarding the availability of pre adoption birth certificates. If you were born before 1978, which I was you could obtain it. She gave me the website, I printed out the forms, wrote a check for twenty eight dollars, had them notarized and off they went.
After a couple of weeks I started anxiously checking the bank to see if my check was cashed, running home after work to check to check the mail. Everyday the same nothing.
I was so used to disappointment a big part of me had lost hope.
Then on a Saturday afternoon there it was in the mailbox. I was terrified to open the envelope, slowly and carefully I broke the seal of this vessel that I hoped would bring me the answers to every question I had been clinging onto for over forty years. More importantly reuniting with me with my mom. I was in no way prepared for this. As I unfolded the document there it was, My mom’s name, address, age at my birth. I was overwhelmed with emotion, decades of tears flowed freely. I knew who my mom was. I immediately wrote my search angel with the information.
I spent the entire weekend on the internet searching for her, but nothing. I did find that her brother still owned the house that they grew up in, and a sister I never knew I had. I was too afraid to call either one.
At work on Monday I received an email fro my search angel that she was 99% sure that she had found my mother, the sad news was that she had passed away nine years earlier. I didn’t believe it, I refused to believe it.
The only way to find out was to make a call to her brother, I procrastinated all that day and into the next. I decided during my lunch break to call her brother to confirm or refute that this woman, was my mom and that she had indeed passed before we could be together again. Armed with new strength and determined to have this be a mistake I dialed the phone. The butterflies in my stomach multiplied a thousand times with every ring of the phone. An answer it was him, I slowly and nervously explained who I was, and yes my worst fear confirmed. My mom had passed away nine years ago two months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Apparently mom was taken away by her grandmother to terminate the pregnancy but refused. She fought with two generations of family to bring me into the world. She did love me and want me, I believe if at all possible she would have kept me.
We spoke and we cried for a long time until we were both so overcome with emotion we couldn’t go on. My Uncle said he needed a few days to absorb this and he would look for some pictures to send me. True to his word three days later in an email was a collage of my mom, from a baby with her mom up to a short time before her death. She was beautiful, oh how I long to be able to have her hold me, to hear her voice. That will never be, I in this world will never know the feeling of being held by my mother. In closing I want you you to know that I am in touch with my half sister twelve years my junior,who is very sweet and kind. She has helped me get to know the woman that was our mother. I was informed through a close cousin of mom’s that a day didn’t go by that she didn’t think of me. My sister informed me that there was always a sadness our mother refused to speak of, that sadness was me. I hope somehow after this life I will hold you mom, I always have and always will love you.