Four Days to Family – First-mothers Respond (Chapter 4, Pt 2)
“Almost every graduating class had a girl who disappeared. Everyone knew where she had gone, and that she had most likely been told ‘If you love your child you must give it up, move on with your life, and forget.'” (excerpt from “The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children in the Decades Before Roe vs. Wade” by Ann Fessler)
I signed my name and did a quick spell check. Looking at the email for a moment, I was transfixed at the thought of starting this journey yet again. Every other attempt had proven to be a dead end, yet this was an untried venue, so perhaps it would actually lead somewhere this time. The worse that would happen would be another impassable dead end or brick wall, and I had experienced plenty of those in trying to find my birth family. I took a deep breath and hit SEND before I could change my mind and delete it.
Trying to focus on my paper proved nearly impossible; I would type a paragraph or two and then return to my email to see if I received anything yet. Steadily, the emails began to trickle in, and within a just few hours all fourteen first-mothers wrote back. Each time I would open an email my pulse would race as I thought for sure “this one must be her”, only to find out otherwise. All of the emails were kind and positive, yet all of these women had already found their children.
They further shared comments of their own experiences; the pain of carrying their sons and daughters for nine months only to give them away without ever holding them in their arms, the shame of not feeling capable or allowed to keep their children at the time, the guilt of their decision to relinquish their babies as society became more accepting of single mothers over the years, the agony of this secret that was often kept hidden from all of their friends and family, and the constant ache of wondering and worrying about their children throughout the years. “Your birth-mother has never stopped thinking about you,” and “You need to keep searching until you find her,” the emails said. They talked about the pain and scars my birth-mother may have on her soul and self-esteem from this experience, as well as how healing it is for both a birth-mother and the adopted child to reconnect with each other. “No matter how she may react and what she may say when you first find her, know that this will be very healing for her”.
Never before had I had such encouragement in defeat. Each email seemed to strengthen my desire to continue searching this time. They seemed magical, as if this time the search would be different, that this was going to be the one. After all, I was older now and a mother myself. I was at a good place and very satisfied with my lot in life. I was now more prepared emotionally to deal with whatever may happen if I truly did find my birth family. I always said I wouldn’t force myself on my birth relatives, but now I really was in a place where I would be alright if I was completely rejected in my attempts to reconnect with my first family. Then, the email arrived that would set the course for the next three and a half days, and change my life forever.
“You may want to try contacting a search angel.”