In the days before computers, all non-identifying information was typewritten. Identifying information was blacked out with marker and for extra measure, a layer of ‘white-out’, used to correct typewriter errors, was brushed over top of that. But my paperwork had been managed incorrectly. In nearly every instance, the white-out was used first and the marker was used over the white-out. Even without this I had a name, but upon realizing this gift, I wanted to unwrap it! Using the tip of a straightened paper clip, I set about the easy, slow task of gently scraping off the white-out, revealing names, dates and places beneath. The information gave an outline to the story of a much too young girl and boy who had thought they were in love and made a baby. I would learn more of that story later, but for now, I had a sketch. More importantly, I had a name.
I calmed myself with a re-reading session of all that gorgeous paperwork in front of me. Because of my own experience, I strongly recommend that adoptees do themselves a favor and get this information. If not, it’s like having money in the bank, needing it, but refusing to use it. If another step is never taken this will, at the very least, show there were caring people involved, even if that turns out to be the social workers who performed the case study.
Remember when I spoke of the dangers of that ‘root of rejection’? This is something I hope to cover later in more depth, but basically it’s about the feeling of rejection many adoptees carry that often transfers into relationships. It’s a rough and often recurring hurdle. Even with all the healing I have received, I realized recently that I let my guard down and allowed this to creep back in. Stay on guard against it because it whispers lies.
In essence, the adoptee may be convinced that unfavorable things happen because they are disliked or unwanted, which traces to a root of believing they are unwanted, which is a result of wondering for a lifetime why their own biological parents would choose to ‘give them away’ as an infant or child. While it is true that many of us are given up for adoption because our grandparents forced it upon our parents, (this also may translate as being unloved by the adoptee), or because our parents were too immature to change their lives…oh, a multitude of very good reasons or flimsy excuses abound…what remains is a feeling that somewhere along the way, those we think we should have held the most importance to decided we couldn’t be a part of their lives. Phew! Therein lays a vast can of worms! In opening the can by getting that ‘non-identifying information’, however; the adoptee stands a strong chance of discovering people who did care. At the very least, revelation of why they were given up comes and the adoptee can either rejoice or grieve. In my heart of hearts, I believe that regardless of which we do, this marks a new start; a progression towards something better than a blank page. If our news is good, we go from there; if bad, likewise. Further healing will be required in either scenario. Still this is a solid foundation from which to continue. The best way to prepare for this point is to have God and a network of caring people firmly in place in our lives.
As for me, I now had a name. I went about the fixing of dinner in a mechanical fog. I’d already researched the steps to locating and contacting a person…Should I continue? Or should I be happy to have a name, a bit of a story and a lot of history? The words kept returning, “It is time.” Along with them came the reminder that she needed to know as much as I needed to know. Rolling these thoughts over and over with silent prayer, I knew when we sat at the dinner table that I would, indeed, continue. There was too much, too fast and too easy to even consider this might not be God. And that little voice just kept whispering, “It is time, it is time.”
Over dinner, I shared my findings with my husband and family. They were fascinated. For my children, this was their history, too. For my husband, it was about knowing my biological roots which would help him better know me. He was one hundred percent ‘in’. Over dinner, we started making plans of how to proceed, using my research as a guideline. I had a ‘hunch’ that of my birth-mother’s many brothers, perhaps one would still be in their hometown. Of Pit Stops and Lessons Learned tells of how I had been given the name of that hometown by a well-meaning clerk at the Vital Statistics department in my state’s capitol. Because of this, I had a starting point; and because I had my mother’s maiden name, I had their last name; and because it was a small town, the list should be short. (To be continued…)
My 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