As mentioned in a recent post, I found my birth mother and was in full investigative mode to find out about my siblings. To summarize, there were 9 children in total, six girls, two boys and one girl who died as an infant. All were either placed for adoption or raised by paternal families. After having my case file read at Catholic Charities I had some clues about my birth mother, but the majority of information came directly from her in phone conversations.
My first task was to try to locate my full brother. While I did not have his name, I had the location of his birth as well as his birth name. Many states make available a list of people on their DMV list. I was able to request a specific birth date (provided by the birth mother) and ordered a list of all Texas drivers born on his birthday. After eliminating the females, my list was around 100 names. The next step was seeing a name with my brother’s first and middle birth names in San Antonio. Shortly after locating the name, I traveled to the city on business and befriended a participant in the conference who was a police officer. While he could not help me directly, he had one of his contacts, a reporter, talk to me. The story appeared in the San Antonio paper: no response.
Upon returning home I located an agency, the San Antonio Cradle Society. They work as an intermediary for those searching for adoptees. I gave them the name and address I suspected, and they told me that they would contact me prior to sending a note in 6-8 weeks after locating my brother. The next week, they confirmed that my suspicions were correct, and they sent a letter to gauge his interest in meeting me. There was no response, but at least I knew his adoptive name and address. Rather than keep you on the edge of your seat, we have not connected yet. I’ve sent two letters and lots of pictures–they are returned to sender after being opened and the pictures viewed. Apparently, he is not interested or he does not know he was adopted. Very frustrating!
On the brighter side, I contacted my older sibling, my sister, using the name and info provided by the birth mother. I spoke with her mom, and she passed the message on. Several months later my sister called, and we became and continue to be friends.
As my older sister lived on the West Coast, we agreed to meet our birth mother together. I was in her area the next year for a conference, and upon conclusion of my responsibilities, we met. Met her husband and kids, and we discussed our upcoming visit. We were both a little hesitant. (I did notice a picture of her daughter as a teenager, and she was a dead ringer for my oldest daughter…scary.)
The birth mother lived about three hours from my sister’s home, so off we went. As we pulled into her neighborhood we noticed the area was very distressed. Her home was no different. We met her and had a long talk. We hugged when we left. We learned about her struggles as a young girl with bullying and helping her mom and not attending school regularly. She was intelligent. We learned she was a one-time activist for migrant laborer causes. We were both impressed with her memories of the details of her life and the lives of her kids. She was 67 when we met. I would see her two more times before she passed in the mid-1980s.
We left with lots of information, but more importantly, left with a sense of appreciation for our birth mother for placing us. We had good lives, and we were grateful for the information. After the visit we talked weekly.