BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE
THE SWEETNESS LASTS A LIFETIME!!!
AN ADOPTION REUNION STORY
1964, a warm June day when my daughter began life. Placed in my arms, the sweet face, dark hair, such tiny feet and hands. All five pounds of not much of anything.
But such an impact on my life!
As I sat there after she was taken to the nursery, I realized that her life was to begin anew, with someone else to love her, care for, and raise her to adulthood. Not my choice, but at age seventeen, with no support, and no way to provide a home, I knew, deep in my heart that she needed a better choice. The couple that were taking her promised to tell her at eighteen about her adoption. I left information she could receive, along with my contact information.
Legally, they had to wait until I was eighteen for the final papers to be signed. When she was ten months old, I signed them. The agency asked if I wanted anything, I requested a picture. It never came, and although I wondered, I knew I really had few rights, especially in those days. Sit still, shut up, and do what you’re told. It’s just how it was.
I married a terrific guy, had two sons, but my daughter was never far from my mind. Every birthday I spent time quietly alone, just thinking and trying to imagine what she looked like. Was she happy? Every Christmas, someone was missing. I practiced how I’d tell my sons, knowing they’d be sixteen and thirteen when she would be told about her adoption. Would they be angry, thinking I did a terrible thing? They were, and remain, my life, the best of what I am.
Years began to pass, no contact. Ten, twenty, thirty years.
Although the adoptive family’s names had not been told to me, the lady at the agency had not covered it on the final form, so I had always kept the names locked away in my head. Through the power of the Internet, I located her. I knew where she lived, could figure out she had married twice, knew her parents lived in the same town she did. After twelve years of reading her town newspaper daily to see if she was ever in it, or anyone with the same last name. I registered with a reunion site, just in case. I updated my information as I moved to a new state. Early in 2008, I saw her mother had passed away, learned from the obit that my daughter had five children.
In August 2009, imagine my shock when the reunion site sent me a notice stating that “Melody would like contact with you.” I almost jumped through my skin!! Contact, any kind, would do—did she want medical info? It didn’t matter—any contact was great!
Now at this point you need to understand something about me. I do genealogy for people, and I constantly check and recheck any notices. I NEVER take anything at face value. I check, check again, and then a third time to be sure. So of course you are thinking I went right to the reunion website, and of course, you’d be WRONG!!
Instead of doing the proper thing, I was sooooooo excited I just sent out a letter, very carefully explaining who I was, why I had given her up, and offering any information she wanted, any contact she was willing to have. I told her that she had two brothers, who did not know of her birth. I sent her my email so she could contact me, and then I waited to hear back.
Imagine my shock, dismay, and fear when I received an email that said “I’m not adopted, I was looking for information on my husband who is adopted.”
I think I cried more that day then I had since the day I last held her. I finally sent back a note, and just said I was terribly sorry to have disturbed her. She answered the next day and asked if I could tell her about the birth of the girl I was looking for. I considered not responding, truly not knowing what was the right thing to do, but the cat was out of the bag, so I sent her the info on her birth.
She sent me back the strangest request. It read “How tall are you, and what size shoe do you wear?” I sent back that I was 4’10″ and a size four shoe. She sent me a long note explaining that she had never felt that she quite fit in the family, she’s short, my height, and so are her children. They gave her a wonderful life, but she said she just always felt somehow different. When her mother was dying, she kept telling her that she belonged to someone else—they thought it was dementia.
We began to talk daily to work through the process of connecting that chord back to each other. She was angry that they didn’t tell her. I don’t know why they decided not to, but have some ideas. She has come to realize that we can’t get back what we’ve missed, but we can go forward. There is now a sweetness to my life, again, that moment of knowing that she’s back, not so small anymore, forty-four years old, but for us, we are tracing all those years and living them again.
My sons have been wonderful, I told them about her and they’ve welcomed her with open arms, talking every week on the phone. It’s nice to know I did a good job of raising them!! My new grandchildren are all corresponding with me. It’s been an amazing ride. We are both very anxious to meet in person, but with weather, money, and the fact we’re both caregivers it’s not possible yet. We are planning a family reunion with everyone in April. The excitement seems to be building for us all.
There will always be questions that we will find no answers to, but for us, the “accident” of our having contact at all is an incredible ending to a very difficult beginning. It has completed a circle for me, one that has haunted me for forty-four years. I believe that God felt now was a good time, although I plan to ask him sometime why it had to take so long! We are sharing pictures, recipes, stories of our lives, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. My daughter was an only child who suddenly finds herself with an entire other family, and she’s incredibly excited about it. We have laughed and cried over the phone, viewed each other with webcams daily, and talked about everything.
I cannot describe the emotional ride this has been, but I will say that I would take it again anytime. Life can be beautiful. Even when it starts out in the worst of circumstances, you can survive, go on, and eventually come full circle again.
For me, the sweetness of that beautiful baby born forty-four years ago is back in my life. Life is truly an amazing gift, live it, enjoy it, and always keep those you love close to your heart.