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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9 Comments:

Blogger LeRoy Dissing said...

A very moving story Chez! Once I started reading, I couldn't quit and then I felt a need to post this BEFORE I get my coffee :)

I am now going to wait here for the next chapter cuz I want to know how your mom responded.

Although I know that Search Angel was trying to be helpful, the best thing she could have done was just check back with you awhile later to see how it went or if it went rather than interfering. That part of the story is a warning for others to let third parties know in no uncertain terms to leave any and all contact up to the adoptee in their own way and time.

Being a husband, I can empathize a bit with him. He is living it with you and trying to hold you to the ground. Were you sharing with the whole family right along?

A lovely, moving and very touching story Chez....you have me riveted! Thanks so much for sharing...and I look forward to the next post!!!

22/1/07, 4:53 am  
Blogger Joy said...

wonder where that "angel" originated.

Awful

rude and awful.

But will be sending good happy vibes you and your mother's way

22/1/07, 5:37 am  
Blogger Andrew said...

That search angel should have known better. Anyone who has been involved with this sort of thing at all should know about the possibility of upset feelings. I hope there's a happy ending.

Andrew (To Love, Honor, and Dismay)

22/1/07, 2:40 pm  
Blogger angel said...

I can't believe the Search Angel did that. I would have been sooo cranky. Even if intentions were good, they did not ask how you felt about it.

Great to read your story..

alex

22/1/07, 3:11 pm  
Blogger suz said...

OMG. That "angel" stuff irritated me beyond words. Was that angel a member of the adoption triad? Any clue on the complexity here? I have helped over 20 people reunite. I would NEVER do that. I dont even mention adoption at first when I am confirming matches. I am very discreet and considerate of all parties and the complexity.

Random question being in Aussie Origins... do you know Tim and Lily? I met them both last year when they were hear for a conference. Spent much time talking to Tim about his reunion story. Nice people

23/1/07, 2:29 am  
Blogger Mia said...

OOOOOMMMMMMGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was SO mad when I read this! Like Suz, I have been assisting in searches for years and NEVER in all those years has it even crossed my MIND to do something so blatantly disrespectful to the process! I have made intermediary calls but never without being ASKED first to do so!
If you are reading this Search Devil DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB!!!!

(((Chez))))

24/1/07, 12:39 am  
Blogger Rebecca said...

All I feel right now is horror! If someone had done that in my reunionsituation, all would have been lost. Clearly this Search Angel does not understand the importance of the delicate dance of respect and space that can be so vital in the early stages of reunion. I do hope that your mum is able to realize that the phone call is not a reflection on you. I look forward to reading more iof you and offering you support and empathy. Hugs, Rebecca

24/1/07, 10:47 am  
Blogger chez said...

Leroy - thanks so much for your comments - always appreciated. Hubby is a rock - and I do try to share it all with him fully. Sometimes I feel like I'm talking about it all too much. I know he finds it sometimes hard to understand - the full impact of it all - I mean. I also share much with my daughters - age appropriately as well. My 10 year old has been told more than the others - she has seen me cry - and has really wanted to know why her Mummy is hurting so bad. I think that she is thinking that one day soon she may also write to my first-mother - as she doesn't like to see me hurting - and she is trying hard to understand why she is doing all this to me. My 4-year old commented the other day - "Maybe if you just say PLEASE" - in regards to getting my mother to "SEE" me. She made me cry with the utter inocence of it - and for the simple fact that she is missing out on 3 beautiful granddaughters also.
Anyway - again - your input is very much appreciated.
Thnx.
C.

24/1/07, 2:29 pm  
Blogger chez said...

Joy - thanks for being here. Happy vibes have been received my end!!

Andrew - sorry - no happy ending just yet. But I can live in eternal hope - yes??? Thanks for stopping by.

Alex - again - thanks for reading.

Suz - yeah - I now cringe every time I see the term "Search Angel". She stated that she had helped a few friends with their reunions. very misguided - and in dire need of finding own life!!?? Even sadder that I NEVER approached HER for help - but she just couldn't help herself. I hope that she hasn't screwed things up forever.
Regarding Lil and Tim - absolutely know these two wonderful souls. Have talked many times over cyber-space. Have also seen Lily's documentary "Gone to a Good Home" - see http://www.abc.net.au/abccontentsales/s1580571.htm which just rocked my being. They have taught me much. I heard much about their US escapades. Great that you got to meet them.

Mia - thanks also for popping in. I'm actually relieved that I've written about this at last. And hopefully others will learn from what has transpired here. I have been really inspired by your blog - and others I have linked to - thank you for being here!!

Rebecca - it's been lovely getting to know you also through your blog. Thankyou for stopping by.

Hugs,
C.

24/1/07, 2:43 pm  

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