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Thursday, November 18, 2010

When a Boring Day Yields a Birth Mother

Life is generally predictable...at least my life is. Oy vey, that's boring! When life unexpectedly decides to take a change in another direction--like when a beautiful summer romance suddenly dies out once the fall chill sets in, or when we move from grade to grade in elementary school, only to be finally burdened with the very scary discovery that snacks and naps have been replaced by bullies and books--now that is exhilarating! That means progress is happening. Progress is GOOD!

The last two days have been exhilarating for me to say the least.  This past Wednesday, I happily marked forty-one years in this life that I was given.  My life was given to me in so many ways--not just from God, but from a brave twenty-two year-old woman, who in 1969, gave up a plump platinum blond boy with blue eyes so that "it" (I'm guessing she didn't even know I was  boy) could "have a chance."  This woman,  a  mother of five whom she had raised starting with the first one when she was just a fifteen year-old child herself  was so very selfless in her actions.  Last week, that's all I knew about her.  This week, new information hit me like hail pellets, but the kind that hit the ground, melt and bring water to the parched earth.

While this past week went by with marvelous mini-fiestas and wonderfully beautiful and sentimental gifts, the best gift I received was my adopted mother giving me a piece of me back that fell out of the puzzle box when I was a baby.  No, not the literal puzzle box--the puzzle box of my soul and my sense of identity.  It's ridiculous to think that everything I have experienced in my life is null and void because another woman and man gave life to me, but I think...and other adoptees help me out here...there is a need for some kind of closure. Two years ago, my mother wrote away for my non identifying birth records (actual birth records that have all the important stuff such as names, birth dates, etc. blacked out for birth parents' and adoptees' protection and privacy. ) For me, it was finding out that I was the sixth child of six and that my dream of looking at my biological father and seeing myself in his eyes was even (forgive the pun) conceivable that gave me so much of that closure. 

For the last few months, my adopted mother has been piecing together the genealogy of our family.  I remember saying a while back (and feeling somewhat jealous) "Yeah, but that's your history not mine."     I guess she took it to heart because yesterday, I found out that she has been piecing together my segment of the family as well. How did she do it? Well, thanks to those non identifying records, the amazingness of the Internet, and some super-groovy sleuthing on her part searching multiple obituaries, she has, quite possibly, identified the name and location of my biological mother.  Today I picked up the phone to call her, only to find that I had phoned the wrong family. The process could be long and frustrating and obviously emotional.  I will persevere though. Thanks to more sleuthing on my mother's part, this evening I feel more certain that we have finally identified the right family. 

It is clear to me that I mustn't disturb the balance of the lives of a family that probably has no idea I even exist.  Perhaps what has become so clear to me today is a strong sense of self and pride, as well as a gratitude to my biological mother for making the ultimate sacrifice so that I could achieve what I indeed have achieved in my life.  I have had so many wonderful opportunities--more than the average person--and her gift continues to bless my life as I am here, living and breathing, to accept even more opportunities that come my way.

Frequently, I head out to the New Mexico Pueblos to watch Native dances.  As I take in the awe-inspiring sight of hundreds of dancers chanting, singing and moving about the plaza, my first thought always is These people know where they came from. They know where they are and they know where they will rest.  My journey is not yet complete, but today I danced filled up full with the idea that I am connected to even more people in the world and I even know their names!

Thank you to both my mothers, who made sacrifices to ensure that I could live a wonderful life.  

1 comment:

ellen said...

WOW, what a stunning and moving tale you have to tell today, and it is certainly NOT a boring day for you!!! Wishing you the best of luck in your search, and the best of all possible outcomes at its conclusion! What a fascinating, frustrating, frightening quest that must be.

Above all, I am so moved by the tremendous love for you demonstrated by BOTH mothers - special kudos to your mom, who loves you enough to do this sleuthing (which can't be emotionally easy for her), knowing it will bring you some peace of mind. Now, THAT is truly love - how marvelous!