Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Letter Arrives

My letter from S arrived today. Honestly, I really haven't had much anxiety about it. Haven't been watching for the mailman or running out to get the mail or anything like that. After waiting almost 2 years to hear anything since I started the process of trying to contact her, I had learned this wasn't a process to rush.

She wrote me a 4 page letter and included 2 pages of medical history. I read it right away, even though we were on our way out the door. The long recap:

She is glad I contacted her, and says based on the pic I sent that we look alike. She told me the story about her life around the time when she got pregnant with me - she drank too much, and - surprise! Here I am! It's funny, because ever since I was kid, I've always thought that was the case. I have no idea why or where that came from, but I've always just felt like that was the case. She said she wanted to keep me, but couldn't, because she didn't make enough money and was living with her parents.

After I was born, she never saw me. That's probably what I was most curious about - what exactly happened to me after I was born. I didn't ask her specifically about this, but she ended up answering me anyway. She said that for the first few years, she was upset when she saw an infant or a toddler, wondering if it was me, and that she always remembered my birthday and wondered what i was doing.

Ok, weirdest thing in the whole letter: the doctor told her I had a slight cleft palatte but that it was correctable. I'm still trying to figure that one out. (And I've spent a good portion of the past 24 hours staring at my nose and lip in the mirror.)

She had thought about trying to find me over the past few years, then the letter from the courthouse came.

She loves to try new recipes and cross stitch. I also thought it was funny that she wrote: "I hate people who call you honey or sweetie". Seriously, I couldn't agree more. I need to warn her about the south. Also, I have a half brother who is 21.

Most exciting part of the letter: I have the last names for all of my grandparents! I've never had even a remote interest in geneologies, but now I've spent the past day looking things up. German and Swedish it is. A little Irish, too, she wrote. Oktoberfest, Ikea and an Irish car bomb. I'll take it.

She doesn't want to use the court as a middleman and included her address. Seems like she's open to correspondence and possibly meeting one day. Her husband and mom are supportive of whatever she decides. No pictures included, because they aren't a "picture taking family" and don't have any recent ones.

Lots of medical info - including a grandparent that had rheumatoid arthritis, like me. That would have been really great to know about ten years ago. Nothing else too terribly worrisome in the medical history, but there's a lot of stuff in there. I've spent a lot of time googling things since I got this letter :)

I'm still digesting all this info and have probably read and re-read the letter at least 10 times. She wrote that she had to re-read my letter a bunch of times before she could process all of it as well. Anyway, still thinking about everything and if/how to respond. All in all, I couldn't have asked for more.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

a development!

Close to two years after starting this process, and after long ago abandoning any hope that anything would come of it, I got a call this morning. Yep, "the call".

First, I can't even believe I'm one of "them" now. By "them", I mean the adoptees that have a name for their birth parent(s). We'll call her S. I am not allowed to know the last name, but the woman from the courthouse, who is super, super nice gave me a rundown of the entire conversation.

Apparently S tried to call last year sometime, in response to the letters that were sent out. Unfortunately, when she left a message, she left her married name, so they didn't know who she was or why she was calling and didn't end up calling back. (The lady researching my case has about five other jobs in the courthouse and is way overworked.) Anyway, they recently found her married name, and resent the letters. S called back again. This is actually good, as 2006 had enough drama in it for me.

She said that no one knows about me, except her husband, her parents, and her sister. Her sister just found out last week, because she also got a letter and inquired as to what it was about. So its a bit of a sticky situation, but its not like I'm asking to move in, or even meet up face to face. Her dad made her tell her husband about me before they got married. Her husband, upon finding out that I was trying to contact her, said she should let it be, but when she heard that I was mostly interested in medical info, she seemed cooperative.

Apparently she's had a lot of medical problems and currently has a mass on her lung. She will find out today what that is. I feel kind of bad about the timing - that's a lot for a person to swallow :(

She has been married to the same guy for "her whole life" and it sounded like she still lived in the same part of the country. She told the lady on the phone that she figured this day would come, but that nothing really prepares you for it.

She has agreed to begin writing down my entire family medical history - ages/age of death for my grandparents and any medical conditions, all the way through her children - if she has any. I was a little too shell shocked to ask.

According to the courthouse lady, S's main reservations are 1. I'm essentially a secret and 2. She got the vibe that there was something really difficult about the circumstances of the pregnancy and that S probably wouldn't want to think/talk about it.

Roughly five hours later, I'm still processing all this information, but its good. :)

Next steps: S has agreed to read a letter from me and will write back, sending her letter via the court system, although she may not write any more than my family medical info. It was suggested that I ask specific questions and tell her about myself and my life. I'll send a picture and probably include my contact info. She is allowed to do the same, but I suspect she'll opt not to. I would really, really love to know the last name though. Gotta make up for all those genealogy projects I did in school that always felt slightly fabricated. I've started the letter, but its really awkward to introduce yourself to the person who gave birth to you. I don't want it to be too long, so its like I've got a page or two to prove I made something of myself and to tactfully ask what I want to know.

Anyway, planning to have this thing in the mail tomorrow.