One afternoon in August, while impatiently waiting to receive my non id information, I got an exciting call from my case worker. She said that my file contained "a load" of information which was pretty unusual and she wanted to discuss it with me before writing up the official report. I danced around the room! A load of information? This was beyond thrilling! I picked up the phone to hear the sweet voice of my case worker share a treasure trove of information from my birth mother. This really IS love, I thought. My birth mother loved me enough to leave me this record.
Growing up my adopted mom told me a story about my origins ever since I could talk. I made her repeat this story constantly even as an adult. She said that Catholic Charities could not tell her much because my birth mother lived nearby. She said that my birth mother's father was a doctor and that she came from a "good" family. She was most likely a teenager. For forty years, my vivid imagination turned this tiny seed of information into a grand story about a beautiful young girl- probably a cheerleader- caught in a mess, needing to give up her baby, spending her entire life pining for me, wanting to know if I was okay. Even as a child, I was determined to bring us together, to relieve her pain, and make her proud.
My dreams of this beautiful young girl, who probably went on to become a Joanie Mitchell-like hippie of the sixties and seventies, were muddled when my file was read aloud that August afternoon. She was not a teenager. She twenty four. TWENTY FOUR. She was not a hippie, but a well respected nurse with several degrees at her young age! My birth father, the report said, was in dental school. DENTAL SCHOOL! These were no slackers. A wave of "I'm not worthy" washed over me. I haven't achieved enough. Now what? Wisely, I chose to push those negative thoughts away and focus on the present, losing myself in the details of my birth mother's life as outlined in the report.
The report told me that I was one hundred percent Irish AND Catholic. My birth mother grew up with seven other siblings. The report gave information about her parent's and siblings: their job, or area of study, schools they attended. GET OUT, I thought! I have so many aunts, uncles, and cousins to meet. Later, the report outlined my birth and a tiny bit of medical information. In all, it was a four page story of my original family as well as my birth mother's background, professional interests and struggles at that time; her mother had just passed away. The compassion I felt for this accomplished woman who had lost her mother and then lost me was deep.
Months later, when my birth mother and I met and read the report together, she corrected numerous errors. She confirmed my suspicion that I never could have found her based on the hints provided in the report as most of them were incorrect. I had tried though, spending countless hours sifting through online resources, searching in vain to locate my lost mom and family. More on that in the next blog!