Moving from a Name to a Voice

Trying to call my birth mother.

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ON PHONEWith me sitting alongside him, my husband called every male name on the list. Every time he dialed, I held my breath until someone answered. Every time no one answered or the voice on the other end claimed no knowledge of my birth mother, my heart sank a little lower. I knew I shouldn’t feel that way-we’d only begun our search-but this phase was like slow torture! Finally, we came to the end of the list without even a clue of her whereabouts. I was beginning to feel a strong kinship to the little Dr. Seuss bird, silently asking every semblance of life, “Are you my mother?”  But my husband left our number with every one…and by the way, everyone had been very kind and seemed to genuinely want to help. Was that because they were country folk?  Or is it more the nature of man than we realize? Whatever it is, I was grateful for it that evening.  Still, coming to the end of the males on the list felt sad.

My husband continued by calling the first of the women’s names. Another dead end. We quietly pondered the next step. Keep going down the list? I wasn’t sure, so I read over them, silently praying for direction. Then a name caught my attention. “Hazel.”  In the non-identifying information I’d obtained, my birth mother’s eyes had been described as ‘hazel’.

“Call this one. I know it’s silly, but that’s my birth mom’s eye color so let’s give it a shot.”  The conversation started much as the others had.  “Hi, my name is James and I’m not calling to sell anything. I’m helping my wife build her family tree but there are a few blanks we’re trying to fill in. You have the same last name of the ‘missing link’ on her tree and live in the same hometown we believe the woman we are looking for lived in. So, we are hoping you may be able to help us find her or her relatives. Do you have time to try and help us out?”

After a little small talk to help this elderly woman feel more comfortable, he gave her my mother’s full maiden name. Sounding very old, Hazel told him in a shaky sweet voice that she didn’t know anyone by that name, but she’d take our phone number and call back if she thought of anything or anyone who might help.  Later, my husband told me he just felt like he needed to keep her on the phone a little while. He didn’t know if it was because she seemed lonely or something else. So, gifted with gab as he is, he stayed on and talked pleasantly about other things for a few minutes. Then, out of the blue, she said in her small, shaky voice, “You know, my late husband passed away many years ago in a car accident. Maybe his brother can help you…” She gave my husband a phone number.

I do hope you are taking notes. The list of what to do is what we did which led us to Hazel. Hazel led us to Marty*.  Marty called my birth mother.  My birth mother called me. In this way, we moved from a name on a document to a soft, weeping voice on the phone.  Details will be given in the next post.

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Current posts tell the chronological story of my search. Get up to date by clicking here and then read the posts in order, beginning at the bottom of the page. It is my hope that readers find encouragement, inspiration and knowledge for their own search journey.

PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr