Archive for April, 2006

MY STORY PART THREE THE TRANSCRIPTS

April 29, 2006

This was written down by Catrina, my adoption search specialist. She spoke to her and I didn’t.

She’s been raised by another family all of her life.

I always wondered if I would get a call like this some day.

I have a family and they don’t know.

Its not a lack of concern. What I did was the best thing I could do.

There’s no reason to tear my family apart. I don’t think its selfish of me.

I have to think about my family.

My husband knows but my kids don’t. But we have never talked about it over the years.

I just don’t think its a good idea. She’s old enough now and mature enough to deal with this. She has her own family. She has a good family.

As much as my curiosity is peaked, this would be too disruptive. I don’t want to have to tell my kids.

This girl already has parents.

My youngest son is an athlete and a medical student. He was a valedictorian. Both my boys are extremely intelligent.

I’m glad she is doing well. I think I did the right thing.

I always wonder, I always think about her. It is not a lack of concern. But i have to balance that with concern for my kids and how this would affect them. My husband would have a fit.

She has a family. Biology is just an accident. I don’t think this is a good idea.

I guess I could talk to my husband about this. No, I’m not doing this. I am not going to open all of this up.

MEDICAL:

Her dad died at age 82 from pneumonia.

Her mom is still alive but suffers from kidney failure as a result of her arthritis medicine. She also has high blood pressure.

Birthmother has high cholesterol and takes meds for it. She began taking the meds in 1999.

Her sibs and her children are all in good health.

HER CALL BACK TO THE AGENCY:

Birthmom called again. She said:

How confidential is all of this. Is she going to come knocking on my door?

This is just too painful. This was 40 years ago, excuse me!

Its too late. I thought about getting her letter but it is just too painful.

It was painful to begin with. It took me 3-4 years to get my life straightened back out. It was not a fun experience. I don’t want to revisit it.

I’m sad in a way. I am not being calloused.

It would be too difficult to bring her into my life. It would be too painful to my family. They might accept it but why even go through all of that?

It would bring a lot of grief.

I never heard from the father ever again. He never paid any of my expenses. He took advantage of me and then walked away. I was a big fool. I know he wanted to raise the baby but that would have never worked out. He lived in the same town as my parents. I think he is probably dead. I tried looking for him once and couldn’t find him. He must be dead.

My parents were always concerned with their public image, not their private one.

My dad was a terrible man. He was selfish and evil and did things I can’t even talk about. My husband doesn’t even want our sons to know what he did. He was physically abusive and other things.

My mom was a mouse around my dad. My mom believed every word he said and he never had anything good to say about any of us.

I have only been able to put all of that behind me since my dad died and now this has dredged all of this new stuff up.

I do her housework, yard work, and get her to the doctors. We have to go to the cemetery 6 times a year. I choke on it, but I go. She lives alone. My brothers want her to be able to stay out of a nursing home as long as possible.

I’m deciding I am not going to do this and I won’t change my mind. Curiosity is not good enough reason to tear my family apart. What would be the point of me getting that letter except to make me cry.

I did the right thing. I couldn’t take care of a baby and my folks would not help me.

I can’t think of any more medical information for her. There are no genetic disorders. My mom has osteoporosis, but I don’t. But, I exercise and eat right to stay healthy. I am allergic to cats and seafood.

Tell her I am sorry. I am glad she’s fine but I can’t do this.

I should hang up, I’m rambling.

My biggest concern right now is can I keep this out of my life. How can I be sure she won’t hire a private investigator and show up some day. I don’t want to tell the boys. I know they are her half brothers but I am not going to tell them. I haven’t told my husband that you called. I am not going to. I don’t need to turn their lives upside down. I could give them a choice but they don’t need to have this choice. They don’t need to know every mistake their mother has made. They think I am this good person.

I just wanted to make sure that this would stay private. I don’t want to have to sit my husband down and say this girl has found me.

It is a comfort to know she is okay.

There wasn’t anything else I could do. My parents kicked all of us out of the house at one time or another. I was on a real downer back then. I don’t know what I was thinking. I dropped out of college.

I have a lot of baggage and I don’t want to deal with it. My dad did horrible things. That I can’t talk about. I don’t want to dredge this all up. Since dad has been dead I have shut the door on it. I have been a nervous wreck since you called me.

Hope you all find this interesting and somewhat cold as I did.

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MY STORY PART TWO

April 29, 2006

On January 23, I sent $325 to the Coleman Agency to make contact with my birthmother. I called Catrina to let her know that I have done this. She said it would take up to two months for everything to come together. On January 26, I got the call. As I have said in a previous post, it was a connection made and lost. The rest of this story is what was in my adoption file. When she found out that she was pregnant with me, a doctor recommended the agency to her. He even called the agency and advised them that she was coming out there. She initially visited on her own. She also told the agency that she was going to let the father adopt me. The agency told her that they didn’t do that kind of adoption but could recommend an agency that could. The adoption agency also stated that they could not go through any adoption unless she told her parents about her pregnancy. She later came back with her mother. She stated the same thing about my father adopting me. It was all read to me minus names and some dates. I do know that my birthmother’s birthday is between June 7, 1943 and July 30, 1943. There was a birthday celebrated with two birthday cakes. That right there confounds me. She also named me Michelin. Another thing that confounds me. It was an unusual name in itself. Back to my story. She entered the home on June 7, 1965. When they went to examine her, she freaked out and wouldn’t let them do it. It was then decided that she and her family would go through therapy. That was definitely unusual because it just wasn’t done. I do know that her father had an emotional breakdown sometime before all of this happened. In order to do this therapy, she had to give her family adequate warning since they lived some distance away. It was my understanding about 100 miles away or an hour or so away. They described her as being very beautiful but with sharp features. She also had a small upper lip. She had brown hair, brown eyes, and wore glasses. She also had some college. It was either at a junior college or three years of college and a junior in college. She states that she was working at an insurance company in Indianapolis. That is where she says that she met my birthfather. She was asked if she wanted to hold me. She refused. She also mentions going back to an old boyfriend. Her father was a impressive man that was clean cut and well dressed. Her mother was dressed rather frumpy and didn’t take good care of her looks. My great-grandmother mentions too that her mother didn’t take very good care of the home. Both of my grandparents were from coal mining families. This right here is a clue for me. In most coal mining families this occupation goes from generation to generation. So something made my grandfather find a job outside the norm. I am assuming that the coal mines had shut down. The coal mines in Indiana did just that in the thirties. He worked at a tire company/plant. His wife complained that he would choose the plant over his family when it came to problems. All of the family had brown hair and brown eyes except for one of her brothers who had blue eyes. She had one sister who was 17 at the time of my birth, a brother who was 13 and blue eyes, and a brother who was 7 at the time of my birth. Her 13 year old brother was involved in a math and science program. Evidently one of the inherited traits of the family is the strength in mathematics and science. I most definitely have that trait. Her father is described as also being very hard and harsh on her. They initially threw her out of the family. They also disowned her. Her father was particularly hard on her. Her sister seemed to fight back with her dad. Her sister didn’t have near the problems with him as she did. She also had a friendly relationship with her sister and brothers. It was also decided that her father would not be told who the father was. She and her mother both stated that her father would “kill” him. So I think that her father knew the man. My grandfather was English with a little bit of Irish in him. My grandmother was all English. My father was English as well. He was also a truckdriver. He was also from Texas. He was 38 at this time. He was married with one child living. He and his wife had three other children who died at birth with no joints/limbs and blind. His wife was told not to have anymore children. I think the first three children were boys. It was thought to have been a rH factor thing. I was a lab tech in the Army and have a blood bank manual. RH factor has nothing to with this kind of situation. I believe that this was a sex-related genetic defect. This was his first time affair. According to the records, he was a very kind and gentle man. At the time of the visit with her mother, my birthfather was really applying pressure for her to give me to him. From here it gets a little fuzzy. He at some point went to his wife and told her of the affair. He also told her that I was the result of that affair. I am sure that the conversation between them was very interesting and I can only guess what that was. His wife too then wanted to adopt me. She states that it isn’t about the affair but about the child, me. I think somewhere in here my birthmother changed her mind about giving me to him. She went to Coleman to have me. The record does state he pleaded, begged, and tried coercing her into giving me to him. I think she had hopes that he would leave his wife. I think she was disappointed when he didn’t. I don’t know if my adoption to another couple was her punishment to him. When I was born her family came down. She still didn’t hold me. Her family did interact with me. In fact, her youngest brother began to regress. She left the home on August 9,1965. On December 20, 1965 my birthfather called back and asked if I was still available for adoption. He was told that I was not. By that time my family and I was on our way to Fort Polk, Louisiana. After two and half years, we moved to his home state of Texas. My new birth record was filed on August 18, 1965. So the adoption was finalized sometime in there. Next the transcript from the two phone calls. Catrina called once and my birthmother called back.

AMY ADOPTEE – MY STORY PART ONE

April 28, 2006

My name is Amy. I was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on July 30, 1965. I was due in August but I came into the world early. I was born in Marion County hospital. One of the people I contacted called it City Hospital. That hospital is now called Wishard. I was adopted through the Suemma Coleman Home for Unwed Mothers. It is now called St.Elizabeth Coleman Adoption Agency.

I was raised in Texas. I can’t really remember when I was told that I was adopted. I also know that my mother really didn’t want anyone knowing it. I guess I never really concentrated on that fact. I was just too busy being a kid. I had too much going on with family and friends. I was involved in Choir, reading books, going to school, and stuff that kids, adolescents, and teenagers normally concentrate on. When I was a young adult, I was too busy with friends, boyfriends, working, and going to college. I guess as an adult I just never thought about it. For me to think about it just accented my difference from everyone else. I just did not want to deal with that part of my life. Later I was just concerned with working or being in the United States Army. I had too many surface stuff to worry about than to dig below this surface and really understand that part of myself. In the last ten years or so, I began searching lightly. Just checking out registries. I always knew that I was different. I had very different views from my family. I had my strength in math and science that I used to help others with. I was always a t-shirt and jeans kinda girl. I never worried about my looks. I based my feelings on that Looks fade, brains don’t. I still believe in that today. It always irritated me that I looked ten to fifteen years younger than I really was. In fact, I am still being carded to buy cigarettes or alcohol. I remember friends and boyfriends who were younger than me buying that kind of stuff and not getting carded. Here I am stuck with being carded. My mom always told me that I would appreciate when I was older. I am now forty and I still have to deal with it.

When I first got my non identifying information, I knew that I was a product of an affair. It was then I realized that it was an extra-marital affair. My birthfather had four children, three of which died at birth. It was stated as a rH factor type of thing. I was a medical laboratory specialist in the army. I was given an American Association of Blood Banks hand book. I knew that this wasn’t true. Those children had no joints/limbs and were blind at birth. They had one child that was living at this point. I suspected that child was a girl. So I knew that I had an older sibling. I knew that my birthmother was allergic to milk, peas, fish, and animals. This was all on the forms sent to me via the Indiana Vital Statistics Department in Indianapolis. This was sent to me in 1997. I had called the agency back then. It would have cost me $250 then to open it up. I didn’t have the money then. I was married with a new baby to worry about. It would have to wait.

Back in 2002, my father suffered a massive blow from a birth defect. He died two and half days later. It was then that my mother began pushing me to search. Do it now while you and her are both young enough to appreciate each other. So she too can know her grandchildren. She felt that I had the right to the information. She even searched some on her own. Heck it would have been better served if she was allowed to speak to my mother. Again don’t misunderstand. I am grateful that Catrina contacted her. I just feel that I should have been the one to contact not a stranger to my family.

My mother has prodded me since my father’s death. When I quit the posal service, I got back a majority of the money that I put into the retirement system. I went and got my computer system. I slowly began putting my name on every registry out there. We got one last payment of that money. I gave the adoption agency the money to make contact. Here begins the roller coaster ride. Tomorrow part two.

HELPING OTHERS SEARCH

April 25, 2006

I was reading emails today. I responded to a couple of them. One email I thought would be an easy one for the birthparent searching. The records are open for adoptees searching but not for birthparents. I freaked out over that one. It is so wrong. The records should be open for all adoption members. I know this woman has searched high and low but still has no results. I figured that I would give it a try. This woman isn’t even allowed non identifying information. These laws really need to be changed. Its not fair for all those involved.

Another group of emails that I received involved an adoptee that went berzerk. Please realize that this is not the norm. Most adoptees just want the answers to their birth. If people would own up to their part in the lies, then I don’t think we would have the problems that we do. This man stalked his birthmother. I hear that he is in jail but it sounds like he needs to be in a mental institution. I hear he is being beaten up by other inmates who he harasses with his story.

MAYBE FINALLY DONE

April 24, 2006

I have gone through 5700 names, thousands of obits, read hundreds of 1920 and 1930 Census rolls, and many other ways to double check the information given to me by the adoption agency. I only found fifteen names to match my birth grandfather’s information. That is what .0026%. I am currently having a friend double check them with his access to an obituary hunter. I am looking for just one of those to match. Actually I am hoping. If it is not the right ones, I guess I have to go back and double check two other groups. Now I know what I need to do, it should go much faster. I have been staying up late for the last week to finish this little adventure. I must say that I am totally grateful to my husband and my kids for being totally supportive. I owe my husband big time for being so fantastic.

For people searching, its hard work very hard work. It is very much worth it though. I do not think the state or federal government has the right to deny adoptees, birthparents, and adoptive parents rights to their history and information. This search is the very same as an individual’s search for their own identity. Every non adopted person goes through that search but for adoptees its a harder one. So many times we build our lives on lies, half truths, and secrets. Just as other Americans deserve and get their identities on rock solid ground, so do Adoptees, birthparents, and adoptive parents.

I remember a time when my own mother searched for her identity. She was always attracted to Judasim. She even went as far as converting to the religion. I find it interesting that she found out that she had family members long since gone that were Jewish. It was kept quiet during that time because of World War II. It was frowned upon at the time. She finally found someone who knew enough about it that confirmed everything that she was told. It was something that she was proud of. I remember that whole scene with some clarity. I don’t know if I will ever go that far in my search. I am just sticking to my birthgrandparents roots. It is enough for me to know my birth parents and their children. Right now it is good for me to know that I get my mathematically inclined brain from my birthmother. It is good enough to know that I get my cholesterol level from my birthmother. I would like to know more information. Hopefully, if God decides to bless me in the days ahead, I will get that information.

After this search is done, I am going to do exactly what Catrina suggested that I do. I will write every congressman, congresswoman, and senator in both Indiana and Texas to change the laws. No one in both the state or federal governments should decide who and what gets our personal information. That choice belongs to those of us that are affected by adoption. We all deserve to have our identities.

JUST AN EXPRESSION FROM A MOVIE

April 22, 2006

I watched a movie the other night. At the beginning of it a young girl says this line:
Does a girl who falls no jumps down a rabbit hole, plummets down in
chaos come out unchanged? She doesn’t.

Somehow I think that lines fits the adoption triad. I think we have all jumped into that rabbit hole. We have all changed radically since we began this search.

TODAYS ADOPTION THOUGHTS

April 20, 2006

Every day I get tons of emails from the various groups like Adoptionlatte, Eyes-Wide-Open, Chosen Babies, A_L_I_A, and Concerned United Birthparents. I do my best to read most of them. The last two weeks I have had my nose down to the grindstone to finish the grandfather lists. As I was finishing up this list, I realized that I haven’t finished up everything yet. I still need to print two more lists to really complete this search. I will once this list is complete. At this time, I have gone through 5800 to 6000 names using Ancestry.com, obituaries, and the census to verify. I have a search critieria that helps to greatly reduce the number of possible names. I am right now at only twelve names out of that amount but I still have another 74 names to go through.

One of the things that I do to help me take a break from all this searching is read my emails and read other blogs that are out there. I think one day soon that I will need to do a humorous posting on being a mom and a wife. I probably should include one on being a pet owner as well. Animals and kids are life’s greatest comedy skits. In fact I just saw the movie “Are We There Yet?” My family and I just died laughing with that one. It is a definite must see.

I honestly believe the search for our extended families is a search for ourselves. I have learned more about myself than I would have if she had just agreed to the meeting. It has also helped distract me from the emotional impact of doing my job. My job can be emotional distressing at times. It comes from both the patients (watching them leave) and the staff (watching them tear each other apart including myself)

Another thing that helps ease the pains of searching is watching life move on around me on the ranch. We have some interesting birds out here. It is always just wild watching life move along. These birds are fairly big black bodies with yellow heads. We didn’t see them last year but they are here this year. I also read and crochet every chance I get.

Two topics that are fairly hot topics in the circles that I travel on the web are what we call ourselves and the motive behind our search. Adoptees call themselves adoptees. It makes logical sense. I have heard adoptive parents be called adopters and adoptrix. I find both of those words offensive. Adoptive parents are human too. They are victims as much as the other two parts of the triad. Something I don’t understand is why we must attack each other. We are a group that is fighting for the same cause. Reform in adoption and access to original birth certificates. Fighting amongst ourselves is just tearing us apart not bring us together. Birthparents/natural parents/ original parents – so many names that all mean the same thing. I don’t consider any of these names detrimental. CUB had this discussion recently. To many of them, it doesn’t really seem to matter. They just don’t want this calling of names to interfere with what they see as their mission which is to reform adoption and gain access to original birth certificates. I also don’t consider either set of parents breeders.

As far as the need to search, I can only speak for myself. I have explored many aspects of my life in the effort to completely understand myself. The one area that I haven’t explored is my adoption. I would have never been ready at a younger age. This search process requires a certain maturity that I am still not sure I have. It is hard work, requiring time, emotions, and both street and book smarts. Am I stronger? Yes I can face rejection better. I have a thicker skin because of my search. I can finally say that I have completed something totally. I have learned more and have become more compassionate because of my new found friends. Yes even though my birthmother rejected me again, I still love her unconditionally. I appreciate my own mother even more. I also appreciate my sisters and the rest of my family. I have long since realized that I have a huge family. I love all of them so much even the ones that don’t know me or realize that I am still around. Everyone in the triad needs to have compassion for each other. There is an expression united we stand divided we fall. That really applies here. So lets unite.

THE SEARCH IS STILL ON BUT GETTING CLOSER

April 19, 2006

Today was an alright kinda day. Nothing too exciting happened. I have come a long way though. I had over six inches of paperwork to figure out and double check. I am down to 135 names to check out. I have less than a inch of paperwork left. What is totally ironic is that I have only ten names so far. I just need to hunt down the obituaries to confirm it all. I may just call the newspapers to find out more. Maybe this time I may have found her. Oh what to say to the woman? Or do I just call her mom first? I don’t really want to disrupt her life but I know that I will cause disruption just by calling. How can she keep the fact that I have contacted her through an intermediary a secret? I wonder if she jumps every time the phone or the door bell rings? Her husband must think she is nuts by now. She must have so little faith in her husband and her sons. If her husband knew about my birth and he still married her, he must be a man of gold especially back in the seventies. If he loves her like I think he does, he would probably want to meet the extension of her, me. I seriously doubt her sons would condemn her. They are much younger than me and probably have an open mind especially if one is becoming a doctor. How could she think I would not find her? I get my intelligence from her as do my brothers.

I was rereading the transcripts that Catrina sent me. YES she sent me transcripts. So if you are out there Anne reading this post. Yes I do know every thing you said. I still don’t judge you for it. Just a little confounded and irked. You really can’t blame for those feelings. I do understand that you are scared and freaked out. I will find you, though. I deserve one look at you and you deserve one look at me. Where do I get my almost black brown eyes? I can’t be all white. My daughters didn’t even get those color of eyes. Although I do think if I had another child, it would have been a boy and that boy would have blue eyes. Just like your brother. It may take me longer than Catrina but I will find you. I swear that I will just stare at you for hours memorizing all the little lines, all the gray hairs if you even have any. I think too that I will have to refrain from touching you though because it might scare you. I would love to just touch your face and look into your eyes. Looking and touching your face will finally seal the hole that is in my heart. I think it is time for you to take a knee or better the expression “Waiting to exhale” You deserve the right to stop beating yourself up just as I do. Maybe we can find that with each other. I don’t need you to replace my mother but I need you none the less.

DEFINITION OF ME

April 12, 2006

The definition of me is something that I am struggling as I continue my search. My list of 82 year old men born in 1918/1919 and died in 2001 is finally shrinking. I am getting closer to finding. It is a time consuming project. I have decided that this final push will be the last of it. No matter if I find or not. I do think that I will. I have a small list going with only four people on it out of 2500 to 3000 people. I have maybe another 300 names to go through. I don’t think I will find too many people to add to that list. I will probably call the towns that these men died in to get their obituaries. I was told that the entire family was listed in the obituary. I am also going to print all the names of people that were born in 1933 and died in 2002 in Ohio. Birthfather’s name is on this list somewhere. All I know is that it is an unusual name. I have no idea what the heck that means. I do know what is unusual name for me might not be unusual to someone else. An example is my stepfather’s name is unusual for Texans but not for Wisconsin folks.

So I might as well print the entire list down. Once I finish the grandfather list then I will work on that list. All I know is there is a same name on the Indiana list. Its time consuming but it seems to work. Right now I do feel that I am being defined by my search. I hate that. Someone said that adoption tends to make adoptees feel like victims. We all feel defenseless and powerless. It was also said that our search is about gaining our power and defense back. I think that they are so right.

I often think about the conversation when I do find. I know that it will be very emotional for me. I know that I will cry but I will try my dangness to not though. If we ever do meet in person, I know that I will need some form of defense. I do feel raw when it comes to this stuff.

I also do notice when you tell people that you are adopted. Two things happen.
Oh have you searched for your birthfamily? The other thing is that a part of them just shuts down and they look at you with a stupid look. I get that wherever I go. If it doesn’t affect them personally, then they are just not interested. They just don’t care. No compassion or empathy. They just move away from me quickly. Go figure.

THE DEFINITION OF ME

April 9, 2006

My question today and yesterday was this “Who am I”? Am I defined by my birthfamily or my adoptive family? Am I any more or less now that I have some information? I do know some of my history but is it the truth? Do I take every thing that I have learned verbatim? I have known who I was by the circumstances that I have lived. I know that I am a daughter, sister, soldier, wife, mother, letter carrier, and now a mental health worker. Do those jobs define me? I think that they are a part of me. I am also a pet owner of many cats and dogs. I even help my husband care for the horses and cattle that are on the ranch. Wife, mother, and Mental health worker describe who I am right now. I do know that. I also enjoy crafting. I love crocheting, sewing, and antiqueing furniture. I also plan on entering the Ranch Roundup for my crafting ability. This is also another part of me. I love Miami CSI, New York, CSI, CSI, and many other basic crime shows. I will stop what I am doing just to watch those shows. Do they also define who I am? I guess I am multifaceted in many ways. Do these ways and angles define who I am?

Somehow I just don’t know. Are any of these choices affected by the fact that I am adopted. All my life I knew that I was adopted. It was an issue that I never faced head-on because it was something I couldn’t wrap my brain around. I also have always known that I was different. Was that feeling of difference caused by the fact that I was adopted? Don’t know and therefore couldn’t really tell you. I have many sides to my personality which lead to my individuality. I have always known that I was a product of an affair. My mother always thought it was a love affair. She always made sure that I knew that information or as much information that she knew. There are certain aspects of my personality that can be attributed to the fact that I am an adoptee. I am a control freak. I always known that I was different. I have always done things and thought things through differently.

I guess my logical brain is asking what would finding my birthfamily really do and change in me? Is it worth it to crash through the wall my birthmother has around herself to discover who and what I am in totality? I know some of it but not all of it. Is it really worth it? Knowing that I am her dirty little secret and knowing that the State of Indiana is helping her keep that secret totally bugs the crap out of me. You would think my adoptive parents would view me as their property. Its not the case here. I belong to her and the state of Indiana. I can’t even vote or write the senators and congressmen of the state of Indiana because I am not a constituent. I am a constituent of the state of Texas. If I was born in Texas, I would not have this problem. Texas is a semi-open state. I do feel that my birthfather deserves to know who and what I am. I do feel that he deserves to know that I ended up in his home state of Texas. He deserves to know that he and my sister have two granddaughters just as my mother does. I don’t think its fair to lock up that information. I can’t change her thoughts and her opinions because I had to use a confidential intermediary. I will always feel no matter if I find her or not that she owes me that one phone call. She and I need to hear each others’ voices just to quiet the questions.

Today I don’t know the answers to the definition to me. Hopefully soon I will understand it all.