Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Contact Denial

I have just read the most moving post - and it has effected me in a very deep way. If you have a chance - please visit and have a read - titled THE REAL DEAL.
It was written by Mia - an adoptee from the US - who has an amazing way with the written word.
In the US, many states have closed adoption records - meaning that adoptees are not even allowed the most basic of information about their birth family. Something that every other citizen in the US is allowed by law - but adoptees seem to be singled out as second-class citizens by those that enforce the law.
Here in Australia, we are at least entitled to our identifying information - copies of documents from the time of our birth - with circumstances, names and dates - even a copy of our original birth certificate . It is THEN up to us - the adoptee - if we wish to search out and contact our family of origin - we can search on our own.
What effected me so greatly in Mia's blog - was the feelings and emotions she described attached to the whole search process. Emotions which have spun through my mind throughout this entire journey to find and contact my mother.
I was the passive searcher in the beginning - and then moved into the active searcher in the last couple of years.
What has effected me even more is the realisation of the heartache I live with every day, as my mother chooses not to have contact with me.
She hasn't completely closed the door in my face. But she has asked for TIME - and dangles this unobtainable glimmer of HOPE - and I continue waiting day after day after day after day.
She - my mother - is crushing my heart - my soul - and the very being that is ME.
When am I going to be able to let this all go?
When am I going to be able to say that I'VE HAD ENOUGH?
How can a mother ignore the hand offered to her by her own child?
I just don't understand.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

More Letters From Me - and - THE Call

I waited well over 18 months.

I wrote over 6-7 letters.

My first reply to my mother's letter was to thank her for responding to my letter and to let her know that of course I'd give her the time she needed.

I also let her know that I believed that she had received a phone call from a "Search Angel" and that I had NOT asked this person to contact on my behalf. I also apologized for any harm that she may have caused. This "Search Angel" - lets forever call her SA (I'll keep to myself what I'd really like to call her.....) - told me, via email, that my mother and her husband had been quite upset by the phone call (mmm - I wonder why), and SA proceeded to say to them, that their information was ALL over the internet for everyone to freely see, and that she had just been trying to help.

Interestingly - not long after all of this - my family tree mysteriously disappeared from the internet - only viewable through contact with the author of said tree. Luckily - I had copied down all important names and dates from my direct lineage (it dates back to the early 1800's when my first ancestor arrived in Australia from England) - and I still have a copy of this today. I have also written my sister and myself into my copy of the tree - together with my children as well. At least a true copy of this tree exists somewhere - even if it is only here with me!!!

I have written many more letters to my mother - some just chatty, with news of my family and I - some a little more heavy, telling her a little more of my feelings and explaining that I had been reading many books and talking to many other mothers and adoptees and asking her again to hopefully find the strength within to answer me.

Again - I received only silence.

My final bid was when I decided to call.

I had resolved to make THE call - to see if I could reach out for contact just one more time. I didn't know if she had received my other letters. I did not know if she just tore them up and placed them in a bin. I did not know if she at least enjoyed hearing about me, my husband and my girls - or whether she hated to see yet another letter in her letter box. (I also did not like Green Eggs and Ham - sorry just had to add a little light hilarity for good measure.............)

I just didn't know - and it hurt - deep deep deep down in my soul.

SO - after weeks and weeks of making the decision to call - I at last sat down one Monday - determined to make the actual call. I must have picked up the phone almost 20 times throughout the day - trying to gain the strength to dial the numbers. I even actually DIALLED them a couple of times - but hung up before it starting ringing.

My husband walked in from work about 5:30pm - and after looking at the angst on my face - immediately enquired "What is wrong??" I explained my attempted bravery to call - together with my apparent utter fear of actually going through with the plan - he then proceeded to state - "I'll just go and change. Then I'll grab a coffee. Then I'll sit beside you, holding your hand, as you make the call."

Right there is the reason why I fell in love with my husband - all over again.

So, WE made the call.

Only to get the answering machine!!! BUT - it was my mother's voice ON the answering machine. For the very first time - I was hearing a message that was SO similar to mine - and a voice that could have been mine. I was rattled to say the least!! So I left a rather vague message, just saying that it was C calling - and could you please return my call on number ___.

I had to call back - putting the phone on speaker - so that my husband could hear what I had heard. The grin on his face said it all - and he hugged me as I finally cried.

With the turmoil that was "my existence" streaming through my head - I decided the next morning to call once more to leave a more coherent message - as I was sure that I sounded like a complete dill. I was alone this time - but bolstered by the fact that I didn't turn into dust after making the last phone calls - and finding the strength from within!!

This time the phone was answered - by her husband.

I was caught a little off guard - but this is what transpired...............................(I wrote this an hour after to a very close friend)

I said: "Hi A, this is C, may I please talk to P"
A: "Who is this?"
Me: "C............I have been writing to P for the last 18 months - do you know who I am?"
A: " Oh.....Yes." (not happy to hear from me - obviously)
Me: "May I please talk with P?" A: "She's not here" Me: "Could you please get her to return my call?" hangs up.................

OK - so I'm shaking by this stage - but decided to call back........bit cranky really..........

A: "Yes...hello"
Me: "It's C again.....please don't hang up on me A".
A: "Oh...what's your phone number again?" fumble fumble for paper and pen.
Me: " 02 6_______"
A: "And what's your're ringing from that aren't you?" Obviously they have number recognition - and I threw him off by calling on my mobile.
Me: "041_________"
A: "OK"
Me: "Can you please get P to return my call".
A: "Yes"
Me: "Thank you"
-end of call -
After call - I'm shaking all over - and crying my heart out. Well - as everyone predicted - this is NOT going to work out how I want it too.

Needless to say - once more - I heard nothing. I struggled from within as to call again over the weeks that followed - but I was done.

I had to admit to myself that my mother did not want me in her life (a little wrong - I would find out later...) but for now - I could go down this path no longer. My energy was completely depleted - and my heart-ache just grew and grew. I had to re-group - gain strength - and look at this from another angle.

I had to find another path.........................................................


Monday, January 22, 2007

The Reply From My Mother

A couple of weeks after sending THE letter, see this posting below, I received, at last, the letter that I'd been waiting for.

It was a letter from my own real non fairy-tale mother - something I'd longed for my entire life.

It's contents weren't all that I'd hoped for, by a long shot, and I'm sure that if there had been no other interference from self professed "Search Angels", the outcome may have been so very different - but it was first contact, none the less, from the woman that I had so longed to know.

Letter contents were as follows:

Dear C,

I have received your letter, and am pleased to learn that you have had such a happy and productive life, and am proud of your achievements.

However, your recent communications have thrown my life into complete turmoil and I now need time to try to work through all of this. Due to this, I would sincerely ask for your patience and understanding for a further 6 months or so, especially as I have a large number of personal and important commitments to undertake during that time, which need my undivided attention.

My husband, and now, of necessity, my counselor, are the only two people who know all this information, so I sincerely ask you to respect my heartfelt wishes, and do not in any way, contact, or attempt to contact, anyone in my family in the meantime please.

I realize you are wanting more information, but in the meantime, I hope you can try to understand my situation, and please be patient.

Kindest regards,

This letter was dated 28th April 2005 - and I have not heard from her, directly, since.

I have written another 6 letters to her - including my letter to her about finding her first daughter, my sister, J in April 2006 - and advising that J was not going to pop up out of the blue as I had, into her life.

The silence from her end has been deafening.

So in November 2006 - after 18 months of pouring my heart out to her - so very gently - I decided to let it be known, directly, to my other siblings (her kept children - all now in their 30's) that I existed....................but again that post is for yet another day..................

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Finding My Mother

Let me take you back.........two years ago.............(grab a coffee - this could take awhile.....)

After 30 odd years of waiting for my mother to come looking for me - I thought it was about time I started really searching for her.

As I posted earlier - I received my original birth certificate, together with my mothers identifying information (and I hunted down a copy of HER birth certificate through Birth, Deaths & Marriages), 10 years ago when I first began this search. I then sat on this information for some time - hoping once again that she would somehow materialize out of the sky!!!

I decided to search through the white-pages phone directory, in the city that she lived in before my birth, to see if there were many entries under her maiden surname.

My "information" from DOCS stated that she had had 2 sisters - her father had died years before my birth - and that her mother had remarried - no further surnames were given.

Finding a very close relative was going to be a little difficult - but never the less - it was a place to start. Luckily there were only a hand-full of entries - and I thanked my lucky stars that she wasn't a "Smith" or a "Jones" !!!!

After many drafts, I finally wrote a letter to all entries, simply stating that I was searching for P, a friend that I knew in the year '69 (when I was born), in Sydney (where I was born) and that we had lost contact. Grateful for any help in contacting her............etc etc etc.

To my surprise, I received a phone call a week later from a lovely gentleman who was a distant cousin, telling me that a very large family tree with this surname had in fact been drawn up, and there was a woman of the same name on this tree.

He verified a few other details, such as P's mother and father, and then he proceeded to tell me that P had married on such and such date to A__ and now had 3 children.

On the outside I kept myself calm - even though my heart AND stomach were performing amazing somersaults within - and I ended the phone call soon after, when he had assured me that he could send me copies of said family tree if I so wished, and insisted that I take his details and call if I needed any further information.

He never asked who I was (as far as "connection" with P) and I was glad that I didn't have to make up any story for such a question.

My head was spinning - at last I had a clue to her current surname (if she was still married........if she was still alive.....................)
I quickly logged onto the internet to see what I could find.
This new surname was INFINITELY more common than her maiden name - but I just hoped that my luck would hold firm just one more time.

Not long after..........there..........flashing up in lights........(not really - but it was most definitely her - and I couldn't have found it any easier if I'd tried)..........was an entry for Mr A____ and Mrs P____.............their EXACT initials (first, middle and last) living in the same state where she was born.

Now most people only put in their first initial in white-pages entries - and often don't even enter a spouse - but here was an entry which matched exactly the people I was looking for - and it had been there all the time.

After relating said information to my husband and grabbing a stiff drink - and jumping around the lounge room a few hundred times - I thought I'd try my "luck" card just one more time......................

I entered her full name into google (my best-est friend in the whole world!!) and low and behold - the entire family tree came up before my eyes!!!! (I had never thought of googling her earlier - as I didn't think I had enough information)

I now had the full names and birthdates of many many relatives - including details of a great-great grandfather that was a "SIR" (ie- knighted) and I found that my mother had in fact got married only 6 MONTHS after my birth. She then went on to have 2 sons, and a daughter - and this web-site included full names, birthdates and places of birth.

To this day I still have NO confirmation if her husband, A, is actually my father - and up until only nine months ago - I had talked myself into the scenario that he wasn't - and she had been married off to the nearest male as soon as she got home, after my birth. (you know how adoptee's like to make fantasy scenarios up in their heads when the REAL story is not known to them.......)

Note: I now have hospital records showing that my real father has the same first name, the same age and the same occupation as P's husband in the family tree...........but confirmed knowledge of my father is still just a mystery to me.

SO - with an address in hand - I started to write my letter - re-introducing myself into her life - hoping that I wouldn't cause her too much pain - and hoping that she'd take up my offer of peace, love and friendship. (no - I didn't use those exact words - but it was a letter from the heart - telling her about my life - and asking if she was willing to have contact and to answer the questions that long stood in my heart.) I also enclosed various photos from throughout my life - just a few- together with a current family shot with my husband and our three daughters. I also stated that I knew much of the period in which I was born (thanks to the "education" I received from some wonderful mum's and adoptee's at Origins Aust, together with the many books which they suggested), and that I knew of the pain that was caused by the impossible decisions that where once made. (again not my exact words - but I think you know what I mean...)

Deep inside I worried that this may be my only chance to show her "me" - so I grabbed it with both hands.

It took many drafts, but it last it was posted - and it was sent Certified Mail where she had to sign for the letter - and I would receive notification of it's receipt. Within a week of it being sent - she received it - safe and sound. I had at last found my mum - and now I had her own handwritten signature to have as my own.

Unfortunately, a few days before I received notification that the letter had been received, I received a phone call from a self-professed "Search Angel" from Perth, Australia, stating that she had seen my entry on Adoption.Com (searching notice board which I had posted on months beforehand) and she had found my mother from a family tree she had found on the internet. She stated that she had also found the entry in the white-pages and that she was so excited she just had to ring me straight away. (she also found my details in the white-pages)
I had no idea who this lady was - so I simply thanked her for calling - thanked her for finding the information - then said that I would take it from here - not wanting to tell her any more - but letting her know that I would in fact contact my mother in my own time.

To my complete HORROR - this "Search Angel" decided to call my mother on my behalf - stating that she liked to help out people affected by adoption (she has no ties to adoption herself) and that she had found my daughter, and that this daughter would be contacting you soon!!!@!^%&#^%!&$????!?#@!?$#!$&!?????

She ("Search Angel") emailed me the next morning telling me what she had done - telling me how upset my mother and her husband where by the phone call - and suggesting that perhaps I should write them a letter instead of calling!!?!!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!
Of course they at first thought it was me posing as another (as they had just received my letter) and they were a little rattled (to say the least) that this stranger had been ringing them as she did. "Search Angel" blurted in her defense that she had found all their information on the internet where it is available for the whole world to see - and that she thought she'd ring to give them a "head's up" notice that a "daughter" would be contacting them sometime real soon.

Needles to say - I was devastated - and a complete mess for many days to follow. I just knew that this woman had upset the delicate balance that my entire existence was held - and I waited with absolute fear that the mother that I so longed to hear from would now never contact me ever ever ever ever ever again.

Thankfully & with much relief.........she did......but that post will have to wait for another day......................

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

A new day

Today is indeed a new day.

Thank you to the many that have left messages or emailed with their support. It has meant a great deal & it has soothed my sorry-ass soul!! As Nina wrote in her Blog - these days just happen, then, luckily, there is a new day - and some of the heaviness of it all starts to lift - and life rolls on.

I have been searching and reading many blogs today. Not great fun for my dearest 3, home on school holidays, and a little tired of mummy being on the computer a little too often over the last few days - but I pulled myself away often and invited their friends over to play, so as not to totally ignore their existence. (guilt - yes I have it bad - but I won't even go there just now.......)

I found a great blog by Mia, an adoptee whose mother is not playing the happy-reunion game (mmm - so I'm really not alone!!!), and an amazing post about Self Actualization. I learnt a little about this concept at Uni last year, and Mia's tilt on her own "Self-Actualization" spoke volumes to me. I also had questions in my mind about this concept as an adoptee - one who doesn't yet
really know where she came from - and trying to move forward in the best possible way without the "normal" markers that most people would hold for granted.

I so wish to distance myself from the dreaded depression-monster - as I have fought with it in various forms in the past. I don't want to be a "victim" or to use my adoptee status as a crutch to lean on. I want to move forward - I want to move on - and although I may never find the magic answer - I'm feeling stronger in knowing that a) I'm not alone and b) I can and will come through all of this.

I send you all a heartfelt thankyou for sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with complete strangers - and in doing so - validating the feelings I myself hold within.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I want to get off this ride now - pleeeeaaassse.

I'm really struggling today.
My eyes are puffed up from crying myself to sleep last night - and there is a constant ache lurking just below the surface.
I've had enough!!!
I want to get off this adoption merry-go-round now.
I want to stop feeling so much pain.
I have decided that it would have been better if I were actually an orphan - rather than an adoptee.
If both my parents had died soon after my birth, I would have been told my family history - no questions asked- and I would most likely have photos of my family, and I would have been told throughout my life what my parents were like.
Who knows - I may have even been cared for by someone within my own clan.
I would have been a puzzle piece that fitted - rather than a misfitting, lost piece - that never truly fits anywhere.
Above all, if I had been orphaned, I would have been allowed to grieve for the loss of my parents, and I would have done so many many years ago - not now, in my late 30's.
For all my life, a small light of hope shone deep in my heart - hoping that one day I would know my mother, and the family that I should have grown with.
Almost two years ago, I finally tracked my mother down, and made first contact.
She was rattled at first - asked for my patience and time - and told me in her one and only short letter that she would indeed attempt to answer the questions that I held deep inside.
Since then - it's been total silence.
I have written a total of 8 times - and finally her husband wrote saying how badly she was coping - but assuring me that she would contact me one day - and that hopefully we could both find peace.
But - I know in my heart that this will never be. She is so caught up by what she is going through - and not once has she showed an ounce of compassion for what I have been feeling.
I have to extinguish the light of hope for one final time.
I can't keep waiting and waiting for something that may never be.
I need to stop jumping every time the postman arrives on his daily run - hoping above all that he holds a letter from the one person I long to hear.
I want to be able to lay down at night - and sleep soundly - without this constant thought stream continually running through my head.
I just want it all to go away.
I don't want to feel so sad anymore.
I just want it all to go away.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I'm baaaack!!

Well - yes - it's been a little while!!!
All energy was spent on a rather large religious holiday - and a delightful jaunt to the coast with family and good friends.
I'm back - relaxed - and looking forward to a good year.
Weight increased a little more due to religious holiday eating - and coastal holiday - but I'm determined to lose the excess flab this year - and find the skinnier me within!!!!
Christmas took it's toll a little on my fragile soul - especially since no correspondence from family of origin was forthcoming. I tell myself every day that I won't hear anything - but a little tiny weeny light of hope flickers somewhere in the recess of my mind - hoping that either my mother or my siblings will reach out and take the chance to get to know me.
I'm not such an ogre really. I have all my own teeth - and remember to wash on a daily basis.
I have a wonderful husband - and 3 beautiful daughters. I even manage to maintain some very good friendships while standing on my head, juggling family and taking on full-time university to full-fill my lifetime dream of becoming a teacher.
I tell myself that I shouldn't take the rejection personally - as they haven't even taken the time to get to know me - but - you know - it still hurts - like hell - and sometimes I really just want to stamp my feet & throw a wee tantrum - and say - IT'S JUST NOT FAIR!!!!
OK - off my soap-box now.
Happy New Year everyone - here's to all our hopes and dreams being realised.