The best gift of all
By Lynette Majer
The biggest surprise and the best gift came to me this month from my friend Paula: she found my birthmom.
I’ve always known I was adopted, can’t remember when I was even told, much to the credit of my parents. They never shied away from my questions and were always open to discussions, which ebbed and flowed. But through my turbulent teens, it embarrassed me; I was mortified my friends would find out, tease me relentlessly, and ultimately leave me. After reconnecting with my cousins, both adopted themselves, their embrace of the fact helped me to finally accept it as easily as they had.
Although we had no genetic bond, we shared the bond of adoption, which in some ways seemed stronger, (in an odd kind of way with comparisons impossible), and it remains strong to this day.
About 10 years ago, I started searching for my birthparents. I had one piece of paper with my mother’s name, her signature in fact, so I thought it would be a cinch. Wrong. I encountered nothing but roadblocks – real or self-imposed. I attended support groups, entered therapy, read every book in print about the pain of adoption/surrender; in short it became my life. It was consuming me; so after a year or so I gave it up, conceding that the universe, or the “collective unconscious,” as my friend Vani put it, had something else in mind.
So when Paula asked me during our July “girlcation” if she could take up my search, I was game. She’d done her own genealogy research in the past years, so had the expertise, and maybe most important, the interest. Although I’d long since reconciled it all to rest, a view from the sidelines, with her doing the digging, was hard to resist. I sent her what I knew, and she went to work.
At the beginning of Week 1, she forwarded a photo of my birthmom and my birthsister. By the end of Week 1, she’d actually talked to my birthmom, Barbara, who initiated the call.
Fast forward to now, only about two weeks later, and I’ve talked several times with Barbara. She’s been very welcoming, open, and genuinely happy to hear from me – I couldn’t have hoped for more. Today I received a package from her containing an old scrapbook from my birth grandmother on my father’s side – yellowed clippings and letters and assorted musings and quotes from the likes of Brontë, Shakespeare, Coleridge, and Tennyson – with another special surprise of a small black notebook of handwritten love poems. Tears filled my eyes. A literary connection at last.
The sky is all one glow
I wonder if you made
I think I’ll light a candle