My Journey - Part 1
Then 25 years later I had my first child. I sat in that hospital bed, holding this tiny little girl and sobbing my eyes out. I cried for days. Until that moment I had always believed that "she" had moved on. That her circumstances required putting me up for adoption and that was that, end of one chapter, on to the next but looking at this tiny little life that I had carried inside me, this life that only I had felt move or hiccup in the dark, I realized that I was so very wrong. Somewhere out there, even if "she" was married with other children, even if her life was rich and fulfilled, which I believed it was, even after all this time, once every year I suddenly knew that a complete stranger lay in the dark and wondered. Had "she' done the right thing? Was I living the life "'she" wanted for me? Was I safe, was I happy, did I stop and think about her?
It started driving me crazy.
Each birthday brought an ache, a sadness to the day. The birth of each of my additional two children brought hours of tears as I couldn't imagine giving one of them up. I couldn't imagine how hard it must have been to hand off a baby and walk away. It drove me crazy that on my birthday, somewhere, a stranger was thinking about me. It got to the point that birthdays became really bad days that I caused because they put me in a funk I couldn't avoid. A singe day became a rough week.
The yet undefined, unverbalized need to search for my birth mother crystallized slowly over a period of years through a series of events that in hindsight seem very obvious.
It's hard now to remember AOL dial up and the early days of the internet but in 1995 it was all new. Google was still a few years from changing the world and computers were not simple. Searching was much more cumbersome and I spent long hours on AOL looking for a way to find anything. Compounding the issue was the fact that my adoption was international. So I started by writing letters, lots of letters. I put a time line on it. I would find her by my 40th birthday.
My first contact was mom's cousin in Gloucester. She helped by sending all the information she could find including the address of The National Statistics Office, Adoption Section and NORCAP which used to be a support group for adoptive families in Great Britain. So began my search. Letter upon letter trying to get a copy of my birth certificate, trying to find someone, anyone who would help but the length of time it took to send information internationally and receive information in return just became too frustrating. After months of letter writing, I gave up and time went by.
Life was busy and full.