In March of 2011 I received an email from a “Search Angel” (aka "Angel 2011") in Florida who wanted to know if I was still searching for my birth mother, my response was Yes! I should explain who search angels are and what they do. A search angel is someone who will help you locate your birth family information but be prepared to do the leg work they ask. They generally live in the state where your adoption took place. I don't know how they have access to the information that they do but I am so glad that they do.
Little did I know that she had been living so close to me! She lived an hour away from me for nearly two years before I found her and just hours away from my hometown of Greensboro, where my family and I had been living since 1975. It took me several hours to make that very important phone call to ask if I had finally found her. I was really nervous and excited all at once. When she answered I made sure I had the right person by asking her name. Then I asked if July 21st, 1962 was a date she remembered. Of course, she denied that it was but then she asked me what this call was about. I told her that July 21st was my birthday and that I believed she was my birth mother.
Boy, there was a long period of silence. Then she asked me what I wanted. I explained that I wanted to meet her and to get a family history both genealogical and medical. She asked if I could come that afternoon. Of course I said yes!!
I called my husband Tommy, my parents Bill and Nina, my son David and my very best friend Banna to let them know what had happened and that I was heading to Florence to meet her. My Mom wanted to be sure that I told her how thankful her and my Dad were that she chose to let them adopt me.
I had a few goals in my thirty plus years of searching for her. One was to get my birth father's name and information. Another was to find out my birth name or if she had named me. my next goal was to get a family history for her side of my tree. I also wanted to get a family medical history. However, to me the most important goal I had was to let her know that she had made the right choice. Not just trusting the obstetrician she and my Mom shared to choose my parents but to know that I was raised in loving home with good Christian values. I also wanted her to know that I respected her for the hard decision she made in choosing to give me up for adoption knowing that she could not afford to raise another child at that time. I also wanted to thank her for making these courageous decisions knowing that in 1961-1962 she didn't have many options.
She was polite and answered many of my questions. I showed her pictures of her grandsons and my family. She showed me pictures of my siblings and the few pictures she had of her ancestors. She told me about her childhood, her children and gave me the first three generations of family own family tree. She told me what she knew of my birth father and it was not flattering! Of course that was in the "non-identifying" information I had received from the state of Florida.
She did make it very clear that she didn't want a relationship. So I was surprised when she called and asked me to meet her for lunch about three weeks later. She wanted to meet at a restaurant halfway between my home and hers. We set a date and time. I expected that she would cancel but she didn't. We had a nice visit and discussed genealogy and what I found since my first visit with her. As we ended lunch she again stated that she didn't want a relationship however she did tell me that if there was to be one I would have to do all of the work in the relationship.
After thinking non-stop for days, weeks and even a month or two, praying for guidance and finally coming to the conclusion that I would not pursue the relationship. What was the point of me doing all of the work to build and maintain that relationship if she wasn't willing to work on it too? Relationships take work from all parties involved not just one. I don't know if she ever told her other children that I had found her or about our visits.
The one thing I can tell you is that this journey and finding my birth mother has brought me a sense of peace. Perhaps that peace is because I had this yearning to know where I came from and the type of people I am genetically linked to. Or maybe it is the fact that I got to tell her thank you. Whatever the reason I am at peace with the search for Barbara, my birth mother and my maternal lineage.
I guess the same cane be said of my birth father as well. I was very fortunate to find some very good genetic matches to his family last year. I am gradually working on my paternal lines. I don't have a sense of him yet but I believe that with time I will find it.
Well this is my story for now. Over the rest of the year there will be more stories and I will add some regular weekly posts as well.