Friday, May 8, 2009

A Mother's Day like No Other

Five years ago, I found myself standing before an aisle full of Mother's Day cards at the local Hallmark store. This would be a Mother's day like no other. As a present for Mother's day, I had flown my Mom down to Miami for the weekend (where I was living at the time). My life was undergoing a major alteration and in the midst of this transition, I needed to her to know that her place in my life would remain unchanged. I hoped the weekend in Miami would help ease any anxiety she might be feeling.

Mom hadn't arrived yet and I was looking for the right card. But this card wasn't for her. I'd already purchased her card. This card was for someone else. Someone I had known about my entire life but had never met. This one was for my birthmother.

Several months earlier, after resisting years of gentle encouragement from my Mom (whom I was convinced was watching way too many positive adoption reunion stories on Oprah), I finally got my nerve up and contacted the archives unit of the Children's Home Society of Florida, my adoption agency.

Thirty seven years earlier, my a nineteen year old birthmother found herself with an unexpected pregnancy. At the insistence of her mother, she left her home in Connecticut and moved in with her cousins in Tarpon Springs, FL until I was born.  She gave birth to me that summer on June 10th. Seventeen days later, I was adopted by a young couple in Clearwater, FL.

Betty, my adoption caseworker, conducted the search for my birthmother. I thought it would take months or even years to find her.

She located her in about two hours. 

"She sounds really nice. You've got four siblings, five nieces and nephews, and one more on the way." 

I hung up the phone in shock.  Brothers and another sister.  More nieces and nephews.  It was almost too much to absorb.  My mysterious past suddenly came into focus.  My life-long questions began to have answers.

A few agonizing months later, in March of 2004, I received my first letter and photo from Alice, my birthmother. I learned about my "half" siblings: three brothers and a sister.  That April, we spoke on the phone and heard each other's voice for the first time.

We met that summer on June 27th at the duck pond near her home in Connecticut. Ironically, it was the same day I was adopted into the Owen family thirty-seven years prior. Her husband Hank, (not my birthfather) was with her. He walked up to me, threw his arms around me, and with his thick New England accent, said, "Welcome to the family!"  I gave Alice a big hug, not realizing that this was the first time she had ever held me.  She feared not being able to go through with the adoption process had she held me as an infant.

Though there is much, much more I could share, suffice it to say that my reunion with Alice and her side of my biological family has been a postive one. My adopted Mom has been a great support through it all and Mother's Day hasn't been the same since. This Sunday, two sets of strangers who knew about each other but never met will receive cards on Mother's day: my birthmother will get a card from me and my Mom a card from Alice.

Happy Mother's day Mom and Alice. Much love to you both for the irreplaceable roles you play in my life.

Me and my Moms at my wedding in June of 2007 (Mom on left, Alice on right)


pam said...

How thankful I am for B in our lives!
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to both his wonderful moms.

Starshine said...

And I'm the most blessed girl in the world to have TWO mothers-in-law who I just love and adore!

coffeemom said...

Wow. What a story and an encouragement as well! Thanks for the comment on my blog too and now I get to discover a whole new blog to read. Fun! Thanks for this!

Melodie said...

your wife commented on my blog a while back so occasionally i check in on hers. but today i wandered over to yours. i love meeting those on the other side of adoption. and this post was so encouraging. it makes me hopeful for what lies ahead for our little boy. and possibly a reconnection somewhere down the road with his own birthmom. thanks for sharing.

personanongrata said...

What an awesome story. Thanks so much for sharing this. I have/had three adopted brothers. One passed away a few years ago... so your story is very poignant to me.

I found your blog by way of your wife's blog by way of The Women's Colony... My husband is also a pastor. :^)