I didn't know until May of 1997 what my daughter's name was. I had to give this beautiful, kind, gregarious 31 year old to adoption in 1967.
This was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life. I was a 19 year old college student at the time, and my parents knew how it would change my life, and felt I wasn't old enough emotionally to care for her, so the decision was made to place the baby for adoption. After placing her, I went about my life, finished college, established a career, and got married. My husband had two grown children, so I never had any more kids.
The agency told me I would forget, but I never did.
In 1994, I finally got up the nerve to send some important medical information to the agency, and to my total surprise, they asked if I wanted contact with my birth daughter. I didn't even know it was possible. I had abided by the 'rules' and never tried to look for her, in fact, I didn't even know I could, legally. They were able to locate her and pass the information along to her, offering her the chance to register for mutual consent contact as well. Well, I'm sure this came as quite a surprise to her, and it took her a few years to reach a point where she thought she'd like to meet me. When the adoption agency called me in 1997, telling me that my birth daughter was ready for contact, and she called me the following day, I was overwhelmed with joy. We talked for a long time during that first phone call -- we both had so many questions for each other! I practically begged her to send me some pictures - I was dying to see what she looked like!
Well she did, and of course, I'm biased, but she took my breath away, and I couldn't believe this was the little baby girl I'd given birth to. Here is a picture of us the first night we were together. I couldn't take my eyes off her, taking in every detail -- I felt as if I was looking at myself at her age.
I was relieved to know that she'd been raised in a loving home, and has a good relationship with her mom and dad. The day we met was the absolute happiest, and most overwhelmingly emotional day of my life. We had no trouble recognizing each other in the hotel lobby. She looks more like me than any of my siblings' kids look like them.
I had been told to forget, so any time I began to think of her over the past years, wondering what she looked like and where she lived, I made myself stop. Over the next weeks after our initial contact, I was elated, and then reality began to set in, and I slowly realized the loss of all those precious years with her, knowing I could never recapture them. I soon realized I had suppressed overwhelming feelings of grief for the past 30 years.
Here we are last summer --
My birth daughter and I must now try to struggle with new identities. With her first contact, I felt as though an arm or leg had been given back to me, feelings now dulled by her holding me at arm's length. I was totally unprepared in the beginning for the amazing feelings of unconditional love I felt for her. I am a complete stranger to her, although I'm the first adult blood relative she's ever laid eyes on (and we look so much alike!)and she will need time to absorb the newness, already having a complete life with a loving mom and dad, and her own family.
She now knows she was given a different name as a newborn, has ties to a family of strangers, and just what her birth family's medical background holds. Prior to that time, when giving background information to any new doctor, all she could say was "I don't know."
Please read on for Adoption Reunion
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