(I had intended to write and post this part of the story on this past Monday, but life happens and I was needed in ways that kept me from writing until today. So, here it is, a few days after the 5 year anniversary of meeting my birth father.)
Monday, May 9, 2011 is a day that I will not soon forget. It has been 5 years, yet still feels like it was yesterday.
I had spent the previous day, which happened to be Mother’s Day, meeting and getting to know all my biological half-siblings, blogged about in part 1 of my adoption search story.
Monday morning, the four of us who had stayed at the cabin, rose early and went out to the lake. My sister and our older sister hopped in the kayaks and headed out onto the lake and I laid on the dock, absorbing all that had happened so far this weekend and thinking about what was to come…..
And I was feeling something that I couldn’t explain or quite pinpoint, but something felt wrong to me. Something, deep in the pit of my stomach was aching and I wasn’t sure why….
My youngest sister and youngest brother were raised by our shared biological father and they knew where he was. In fact, my birth-father had asked her to find our oldest sister, he wanted to see her…..and that is what led her to message me and ask if we were related, since my adoption postings said I was looking for my birth parents and her fathers name was the same as the one I was looking for…..I am so thankful that our biological father asked her to look for our oldest sister, because if he had not, then I would never have known about her and my younger brother, we never would have met and the events of that Monday, would not have happened.
Things happen for a reason…..
After finding my birth announcement that summer in 1990 and finding the full name of my birth father, I searched every where for a man with his name….an uncommon first name, but a very common last name. Through the years I found bits and pieces of information but could never quite make them fit together to form a complete picture.
Then in 2002, my sister had requested and received her case file from Social Services and she sent me copies……..reading the case file was quite emotional. They carefully blacked out any identifying information about our birth family, but occasionally missed blacking out a name…..which confirmed for me the first names of both my parents and my siblings. More confirmation that I was on the right track.
The file also contained information I had not known…..that my parents were never married because he was still married to the mother of my older siblings, news that I was not aware of, but helped make sense of the pieces in my puzzle…..and in the file was the information that our birth father left our mother and me while she was pregnant with my sister, more information that brought forth even more questions…..would I ever know what really happened? There was more in that file, things that made me cry, saddened for the little girl who was trying to hold onto the hope that her mother would come back, that her mother loved her. And then as the social worker drove that little girl down the road to the house where she had lived with her mother….a house that was now empty….. I wept, wanting to hug the small child, the child within me, as she realized her mother was never coming back. The case file held lots of information, and created more questions…..now I REALLY needed to know what happened…..
Shortly after receiving the case file, I located a man in Washington State who had the exact name of my biological father…..maybe I would finally have some info…..so I wrote this man a letter and put it in the mail…..and I waited….
A few weeks later an envelope arrived in the mail from Washington…..maybe…..I opened the letter and inside was the envelope I had sent my letter in and my letter, returned to me with a note saying he wasn’t my father, did not know my mother and to NEVER contact him again. I was devastated, and all hope of finding my birth mother and siblings was gone. My gut told me that he was the right man, but I would never know for sure……until…….
When my older sister and I finally connected and spent time on the phone, I discovered that she too, had sent a letter to the man in Washington with our father’s name, about the same time that I had sent mine. And her letter was returned to her. We couldn’t both be wrong, could we?
I finally made a decision to hire a professional searcher to help me find my birth mother, since I had no idea what her last name had been. I told my searcher that I really believed this guy was my biological father and she did her research and contacted him. He once again, denied being my father, but knew my mother and gave a name that was different than the one I had…….again, I was denied……rejection is difficult, especially when it is from a parent…..
Shortly before my trip to Washington, my youngest sister was seeing our birth father, to let him know that she had found our sister and she would ask him about my mother, so I sent her a letter to share with him……again, he denied being my father but gave her a little more info about my birth mother…..but not the correct name. My searcher continued searching for my birth mother and I prepared to meet my siblings.
That Monday morning was emotional for me. My older sister was going to go meet our birth father and I was happy for her….he wanted to see her and she needed to see him. But something in me wasn’t feeling right…..I had planned to stay at the cabin with my sister and relax while our older brother took our older sister to meet our birth father….then at the last minute I decided I wanted to go……just to ride along and see him from a distance would be enough…..I NEEDED to go.
The ride to the meeting location was silent, the three of us did not talk, each of us lost in our thoughts about what was coming. We parked in the parking lot and our sister went inside. My brother and I sat there and then we saw his truck pull in….we had only seen pictures of him, and we both knew it was him. He got out and walked inside……and then he came back out, alone. My brother was about to jump out of the car to stop him and then we saw our sister walk out.
I watched from the front seat of my brothers car as the birth father I had always wanted to find hugged my sister……and I started to cry…..why couldn’t he hug me, meet me? Why did he leave my birth mother and me all those years ago? He chose to leave me when I was a year old and he never came back. And there he was, in the parking lot, just feet away from where I sat and I couldn’t talk to him…….
While the two of them were inside, my brother and I talked. At that moment I really needed my big brother and he was there, listening to me, talking with me and understanding what I was feeling. I decided to write a note and go put it on the windshield of our birth fathers truck, so that he would know I had been there. My brother talked me out of doing that, saying that he knew that would not be enough for me…..he said that I needed to walk over to the truck and stop our birth father before he left…..and my brother was right.
So, we sat there talking until we saw our birth father walk outside…..and I froze, I couldn’t open the door, my heart was beating so hard and fast that I thought it would jump right out of my body……and suddenly he turned and went back inside…..okay, breathe….
When I saw him come back out, something took over and before I knew it, the door of the car was open and I was walking, quickly, toward the truck, signaling to the man inside to wait a minute….as I approached the truck, he rolled down the window and looked at me questioningly.
I told him who I was, that I was Laura Mae’s daughter and then I saw it in his eyes……he KNEW who I was. Before I knew it, he had put the truck in park and jumped out and hugged me…..and I whispered “are you my dad?” And very quietly, he whispered in my ear “yes, I am your dad”.
My knees gave out…..he had to hold me up. He WAS my birth father…..he Acknowledged me. My tears flowed uncontrollably.
He pulled away from the hug, held my hands and looked me in the eye and told me my mothers full name…..I had her last name. He told me where her family was from. And then he asked me if there were two of us and if I was the oldest one? Yes, and I had a younger sister. He asked about her and then hugged me again. He said he was sorry that he had not given me the information sooner, but that he was really happy that I stopped him. He asked me to give my phone number to my younger sister and he would get it from her and then he had to leave……
I was shocked, shaking, and at peace. I ran inside and got my sister and then as she talked with our brother, I had to call my husband to tell him that I had forced my way into meeting my biological father and I had the information I needed.
And then I called the searcher and gave her the information my birth father had given me…..now, hopefully we could find her.
One more piece of my puzzle was found. But there were so many more questions I had for him.
We went back to the cabin and spent the rest of the night hanging out with our siblings…..what a weekend it had been…….I met my siblings and my birth father.
And my birth father did call me, a few days after that meeting. We have talked several times since I forced my way into meeting him and he has answered my questions, even the tough ones.
I don’t know where the courage to confront him came from…..but I know that I HAD to do it. The feeling I couldn’t pinpoint that morning was a deep need to meet the man who was a part of the first chapter of life and I am so glad that I did it……..my brothers encouragement was all I needed to find it inside me to finally confront face-to-face the only person who could give me the information I needed to find my birth mother…………another part of my story for another day.
I am so blessed to have been able to finally put these missing puzzle pieces in my puzzle…..now to find the last piece and figure out how to put it all together.