Needle in HaystackHazel had given us Marty’s name. It was sudden and unexpected. At first, she had nothing to offer, but after a bit of time on the phone with my husband, Hazel came through. There’s more to her story…I’ll continue with that a bit later.

Could it possibly be that only that day, I had received my non-identifying information in the mail, and by that evening, I had found my uncle? Yes. It is true. As it turned out, Marty was my uncle. My biological mother’s older brother. He obviously loved my birth mom because as my husband revealed her full name and started asking questions, Marty became defensive…aggressively so. This man was a protector. As I listened on the extension, I pictured a large, burly man capable of murder if the reasons were right. Protecting his sister would probably be right to him…and if his attempt to sound menacing was a facade, I couldn’t tell.

Listening to him on the extension phone, as I had for all the search contacts, I trembled inwardly. But my calm, cool and collected husband showed no sign in voice or posture of fear. I only realized his inward turmoil when he muted the phone and…but I’m getting ahead. The best way to tell the story is to reconstruct the conversation to the best of my recollection:

Husband: “Hello, this is James and I am helping my wife complete her family tree. I promise I’m not trying to sell you anything, we just hope to find some missing links and we think you may be able to help us. Would you mind talking just a few minutes?”

Marty: “Uh, well…What is it you’re looking for?”

Husband: “We just talked to Hazel and she gave us your number. We hope that’s alright. She told us you might be able to help us locate, (full maiden name of my birth mother).  Do you know her?”

Marty: “Well, yes, that’s my sister. But who are you and how do you know her, and what, exactly, do you want from her?”  This is where the conversation became a little scary.

Husband lips to me: “WHAT NOW???”

I lip back: “GO FOR IT…TELL HIM THE TRUTH!!” At this point, rules and regulations fly out the window. Instead, I run purely on God-given instinct, then bite my lip as I wait for the sawdust to fly.

Husband: “I’d like to give you our phone number, if you want to think about helping us, but I’d like to give you a date as well: June 5, 1958.  This could be an important date for her. That is the day my wife was born. I don’t want to cause a shock to you, but I don’t know any other way to continue except to tell you the whole truth…We believe your sister may be my wife’s birth mother. Do you think you can help us?” My husband was amazing. He was at once assuring, kind and soft. I don’t think anyone could have done it better.

Even so, there was then complete silence on the other end of the phone. Then, a sort of gasp. Then our burly monster turns into a confused pussycat.

Marty: “Oh! I’m sure she’d love to talk to your wife! Oh…but I better not give you her number…I hardly remember when it happened…Well, maybe she won’t mind if I give you her number…Oh, no, I better not…I was deployed with the military and when I got home, it was all over. I had forgotten about it, actually…Oh, I think she’ll be happy…but I don’t know…”

This is exactly the response I had learned to expect. My husband graciously waited while my uncle verbally processed the information and what to do with it. When Marty calmed a bit, he took our names and phone number and said he’d call her with our contact information. We could only pray he was telling the truth about that.

Now, came the wait. No matter what, I knew I wouldn’t sleep that night.


Current posts tell the chronological story of Cindy’s search. (Names, places changed for family privacy.) Get up to date by clicking here , then read the posts in order, beginning at the bottom of the page. It is the author’s hope that readers find encouragement, inspiration and knowledge for their own search journey.