No one likes pit stops- they slow us down in the race and make us feel like we’re losing ground. Stopping was never part of my agenda. But pit stops are necessary. They give us gas to keep going, maintenance to get there in one piece, and often, errors in judgment are revealed so they can be corrected. These are the things that contribute to that ultimate victory. And such it is in life.
Finding my non-identifying information turned out to be a three-part process that included two wild-goose chases. But each chase brought me closer to my treasure, and in the process, I shed some emotional baggage while also gaining greater trust in the goodness of people.
I had read that I should call the Department of Vital Statistics at the capital of my home state. This was the first real person I would talk with about my search. My assumption was that laws allowing the creation of ‘amended’ birth certificates and adoption cover-ups were the brain-children of social workers; therefore, they would not be happy about someone coming in to buck their system. Even though I now knew I had every right to this information, I was nervous about asking for it.
The woman I spoke to surprised me by being kind, but she couldn’t help me. My information was not kept there. I asked if she knew where it was, and she directed me to another office, the Register of Deeds in my birth parents’ home town, which she then gave me by name. She had just given me a clue…a piece of information I’d never had before. I now knew where my mother and father had lived when I was conceived.
In the game of ‘Hot and Cold’, I was getting warmer. I called the Register of Deeds office in *Webern. Again, I was met with warmth. This second voice was even kinder than the first. In fact, she seemed very happy to go find my information. She did explain that I’d have to send a handwritten request and verification of identity before she could send it, but she offered to get it all together while waiting for that information to come. (In those days, we didn’t do this via e-mail but the old faithful, ‘snail mail’.) I was excited as I sat to write the letter, but she called back soon after I began. It was obvious she was sorely disappointed to have to say my information was not in their vault. My stomach lurched at the news, but as we talked, it became apparent that in our previous discussion, she had not understood that I was not adopted in that county. It was as if she had a ‘Eureka!’ moment, and suddenly, she was excited all over again. She explained that non-identifying information isn’t kept in the hometown of the birth parents but in the Register of Deeds of the county where the adoption took place. When I told her my home county was in the same state, she looked up the number for me and cheerily sent me on my way.
So far, I’d had to make two pit-stops, but through them, I’d realized I’d been prejudiced against social workers and the field of social work because of childish false assumptions. God had placed trustworthy and kind people in my path, and even though I’d had to slow down, it had been worth this lesson learned. The lesson was about to be reinforced. God had arranged for an angel to take my next call.
*Weburn is a fictional name
PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr