Ever since I was told as a child that I was a little “chosen” girl, I have been curious about my birth mother. By the time I was around 18, I was serious about finding her.
I was one of the lucky adoptees who had a name to start with, but had no experience or way to start looking. Iowa is a very closed state when it comes to birth records, and there was no way I could find out anything from the state. I wrote letters to people with the same last name in the Des Moines area and received answers from many of them encouraging me to keep looking, but none of them knew her. This was when I was in my late 40’s, working to help support a family and unable to travel or do any research work. So I dropped it for a while.
When I became retired and had a computer, I finally decided to begin my search again. This time, I registered with the orphanage from where I was adopted to see if my mother had done the same, however, she didn’t know where they had taken me after a kind nurse let her hold me for about five minutes, so there was no way for her to register with the home. I then put my name and information on the boards with Adoption.com to see if there was information to be found there.
I finally decided to join Ancestry.com and get down to business. I finally found the information I needed with their census of 1930 and then the historical newspapers. I am thankful my mother lived in a rural area where the little newspapers recorded everyone’s visits to relatives and friends.
I searched until I found all the information I needed and located a nephew of hers living in another city in the state. He was deceased, but his wife kindly passed my letter on to his sister (who happened to be there when I was born). She called me and when I told her that I was actually looking for my mother, she screamed, “I just knew it was you. I was 10 years old when my mother took my aunt to Des Moines to have you, and I went too. I was there when you were born.” I was so thrilled to have that kind of reaction, and we both broke down and cried like babies. It was overwhelming to have such a reception from one of her family.
Cousin Betty and I talked on the phone several times until she could check with the family to be sure it was okay to tell my mother that I had found her. Everyone decided it was time to tell her after a couple of weeks. Betty had sent me pictures of her and the family, so we almost felt we knew each other after a couple of weeks. They told me that she said she was able to hold me for a short time and I was a beautiful baby. I did not make the first contact with her. I gave her time to absorb all that was happening and finally, after a couple of weeks, I wrote to her telling her that I needed no explanation of any kind about my birth, wanted nothing from her except to meet her and possibly have a relationship with her. Then she wrote, I wrote again, and then she called me. It was wonderful to hear her voice and we almost felt we knew each other by then.
We talked about getting together for a meeting and I told her I would love to see her on Mother’s Day, so she could have the recognition she deserved as a mother. She invited us to come up then and we did, with Mother’s Day gifts galore.
Our meeting was wonderful and we spent three days holding hands, hugging and kissing, and all the things mothers and daughters do. We met the families who lived close and went to dinner and had a little party afterwards. Everyone just seemed to click and get along real well and we found out that we had lived pretty similar lives. What a joy! We are now looking forward to having her in our home to meet her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. She has an album now with pictures so she can get acquainted with her new family before meeting them.
The one thing I want to tell others is do not give up! I am 65 years old, and my mother 84, but I think God waited until we were truly ready for one another. After all, He knows best.
I thank Adoption.com, Ancestry.com and any others along the way who were of help to me in this wonderful adventure. “I’ve come a long way, baby.”
© Sandra Moore2003