In my last post, I told you about locating my birth mother and our first phone call. The first week in July of 1995 was memorable. After our first call, we parted cordially. She called me back every day that week! Each time we talked, she told me about her other children. Within a, week she told me about six more kids. My reaction was not what I expected. I was fed up not being told all of this on the second call. When the daily calls ended and the calls were weekly, there were a total of nine children (including me). Five of us were placed for adoption, and the other four were raised by their fathers’ families. She had contact with the four over the years, and in the last few years their connection had been strengthened. One of the four died as a toddler, but the rest of them were living in two states.
As for the adopted five, she told me I had a full brother and gave me his birth name. She did not know (with the exception of the first child) adoptive names or locations. So my quest was beginning to find my siblings. I’m not sure if she the told the group of four about my calls, but she probably did as she called them by name. She also gave the birth dates for the remaining eight and the states of their births.
There were a total of five fathers. She told me their names and, in some cases, a bit about each one. I was writing all of this down to do my own research. I guess I was a bit overwhelmed with all of this. She said my birth father lived in San Antonio but didn’t remember a lot about him. She was conflicted when she returned from the hospital with me staying at the Salvation Army shelter in Ohio. She could not decide whether she should keep me or not. So we started following the crops going to Alabama and back to Texas where she re-connected with my birth father. I was born in June. The following spring, she was pregnant again with my full brother, John, and returned to Ohio and placed me with Catholic Charities. A few months later, I was adopted.
Armed with all of these details, I jumped into action. My first stop was Catholic Charities. They opened my file, and the worker read the file to me. I was not permitted to make copies–notes only. There were a lot of inconsistencies in their records and Mary’s story. She told CC that she worked but was unhappy and that people were not nice to her. She was in contact with them for a few months and then picked up and off we went to pick crops. This meeting resulted in securing the name of the first child, a sister. She mentioned New York, so that was a clue I could use. In the file, there was a contact a year after my birth with my paternal grandmother in Texas who denied my existence but was not willing to come in and talk to Social Services. I had her first and last name. More clues.
I started looking for my birth father’s family in Texas. His surname was very common, and I did not have his birth date. This was a short search, but I did have my grandmother’s name and San Antonio. I posted an online adoption board and hoped for the best.
My search was just beginning, and it was long and frustrating.