Monday, September 28, 2009

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today. . .

Molly and I had taken the kids (at the time, we had three) to the photo studio for a sitting. My search for my birth-mother had just recently come to a close - I knew who she was, and how to contact her. All I was waiting for was for my intermediary to make the first contact with her, and I wanted to have a current family portrait to give her, once it happened.

We walked through the front door after the sitting, and the phone was ringing. I picked up the phone; it was Annette, my intermediary. "You have a very happy lady on your hands," she said. . .

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Earlier that Thursday afternoon, Annette had called my birth-mother. She was busy preparing her house to receive weekend guests at her home.

Annette identified herself, then said, "I'm calling concerning material of a very personal and confidential nature. Do you have time to talk?"

My birth-mother was beginning to get annoyed with Annette's slowness at coming to the point, but just said Yes, she could talk.

So Annette just plowed ahead. "I am involved in a search for the birth-mother of someone you might have known as [my birth-name], born on [my birthday]. Can you help me?"

She was stunned. She'd actually had some pretty solid inklings that I was on her trail - I'd been to visit her aunt a couple weeks previously, and her aunt had called her immediately, telling her about this 'nice young man' who'd been to visit her, asking questions about her family. Hearing my first name (which was the same one she'd given me when I was born), and my approximate age, she immediately suspected that her long-lost son was searching for her, and getting close. But even so, she hadn't allowed herself to really believe it could be true. Finally, she told Annette, "I'm the person you're looking for; you don't need to look any further." Sobbing, she assured Annette that she was OK, that these were tears of joy.

They talked at some length. Birth-mom was concerned that I was mad at her for giving me away, but Annette assured her that my motives were purely of gratitude. She also learned that she was three times a grandmother, which took her back quite a bit; she had only adopted her daughter Sarah three years previously, and the possibility of grandchildren had never even entered her mind. Finally, Annette declined to tell her any more about me, insisting rather that she should call me herself. Annette only asked for some time to call and let me know that she'd be calling. . .

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After Annette called me, I was pretty completely distracted, waiting for The Call. A couple friends called with small items of business, and I jumped on the phone each time, before quickly shooing them off. Finally, about 8:30, the phone rang again, and a woman on the other end gave her name (which I immediately recognized as my birth-mother's), saying "I'm your birth-mother."

"I know," I answered. "I'm so glad to hear from you."

Even though I'd never heard her voice, it was very comfortable to me. And she was listening just as intently to me; one of her first comments was how much my voice sounded like her father's and her brother's.

As soon as Molly figured out who I was talking to, she ran screaming to the neighbor's house, her close friend from our community. "It's HER!" she shrieked. "He's talking to HER!"

We ended up talking for an hour and a half, and neither of us could bear to end the conversation - just let me hear your voice a little while longer. . .

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That was my first contact with my birth-mother. In some ways, it was the beginning of a 'whirlwind romance' between my birth-mother and me. The following few weeks were a blizzard of letters and phone calls, every letter obsolete before it arrived, since we'd talk on the phone in the meantime. We dug through old photos to send to each other, and it was like we were trying to undo 33 years of separation in 33 days. A little over a month later, I flew out to meet her at her home, and the following spring, she came to our house to celebrate my 34th birthday with us. And just that fast, we became part of each other's lives and families.

But it all started September 28th, 1989, and for that, I give thanks to God. . .

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(*edit*) As long as we're on the topic of significant anniversaries, last Thursday, September 24th, was also the 10th anniversary of 7M's accident, which is, of course, a major miracle in the life of our family. You'll have to forgive me for letting it slide past before bringing it to your attention; the date hasn't quite gotten seared into my brain the way other 'anniversaries' have, and I had to go back and look it up; we were a little busy, and kinda distracted that day. . .

9 comments:

Cocotte said...

Wow! What a day to remember, Des. I love the way you tell a story; it's like we are right there!

lime said...

well now, you just KNOW that this particular story has me all verklempt and there is no way i can even begin to put into words what i am feeling...but you know. thanks for sharing this story.

and the one about 7M...my word! i knew there had been an accident but i never before knew the scope of it! again, no words. none. just great thanks for the miracle.

Trueself said...

I hope that someday N can have that kind of story to tell. 'scuse me while I go get a tissue to dab my eyes.

Desmond Jones said...

Cocotte - It certainly was a day to remember; thanks.

Lime - Sorry about the verklempt-itude. . .

I know that for me, there was a whole swirl of emotions around the reunion. Altho not so much in the thinking about it beforehand; that was more like just solving a puzzle. But then, I'm a guy. . .

And re 7M, it's good for me to be reminded just how amazing that all really was. . .

Truey - For N's sake, I hope he can have a story like that, too. . .

Sailor said...

What a neat story- such a nice counter to some that I've heard, the nightmares that the reunions turn into, for whatever reason.

Really cool, thank you for sharing this

for a different kind of girl said...

How wonderful you two had such a beautiful reunion. I read a few other blogs written by people searching for their birth parent(s) that haven't got as well, but yours is an inspiring tale.

Desmond Jones said...

Sailor - I am well aware that not all reunion stories are as happy as ours. As in my marriage to Molly, sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve such happiness. . .

faDKoG - Glad you found it inspiring.

Adoption and reunion are, at bottom, simply very human things, with all the good news and bad news that comes with human-ness - from being made in God's image, and yet, fallen. And so, I guess it isn't surprising that adoptions and reunions should run the whole gamut from joy to sorrow.

I only wish I knew how to account for who gets what, y'know? . . .

Michelle H. said...

I've also heard more of the horror stories such reunions cause. I'm glad you told this story to show that it's not always the case with everyone. Such wonderful things happened, and a relationship reborn!

Desmond Jones said...

Michelle - Interesting. . . Certainly, not all reunions are as happy as ours has been, but most of the folks I've known who've been reunited have been glad they did it. . .