March 26, 2014

My Story

I've been contemplating this blog post for a few weeks now, not knowing what parts to share.
I'm not an eloquent writer, in fact, I'm not a writer at all. However, I feel like this story needs to be told, and there are many that have asked me to share it. As many of my friends know I am adopted, and this is my story.

As far back as I can remember I have know that I was adopted. I don't remember who told me or when I first found out. I do remember arguing with my brother, Dave, one time, and him telling me that my "real parents" didn't want me and put me in a garbage can and that is where my mom and dad "found me." I now know that it didn't really happen that way, but I was young and impressionable at the time. I remember running to my father and asking him what happened. He told me that the person who gave me life wasn't able to keep me because she was young, and wanted me to have a better home and life than she had. I now know that he was right. That  basically is what happened.

There were a few times during my life that I had conisdered looking for my biological mother. Those feelings usually came aroung my birthday or Christmas. Did she remember my birthday? Did she think about me at Chritmas? Do I have brothers or sisters? Why did she give me up? Did she want to see me, was she looking for me? Did she miss me? Did she ever see me when I was a baby...did she hold me? Did she love me? As I grew older I realized that those questions weren't really that important. I have a mother and father. They love me. The raised me. They are the ones that helped me learn to crawl and walk. They held me and loved me when I was sick or hurting. They supported me in my decisions. They were always there for me, even when I made the wrong choice...they loved me, and wanted the best for me.

When I was 21 yrs old I made the choice to serve a mission for my church. I'm LDS (Mormon), and I was called to serve in Italy. During the first 9 weeks of my mission I was in Provo, Utah, at the Missionary Training Center learning the Italian language and the basics of missionary life and teaching the gospel. During our stay there as missionaries we have the opportunity to go to the temple, where we learn more indepth teachings of the gospel. (You must be worthy to enter the temple by having a reccomend to enter). During my time at the MTC while learing and studying the scriptures I remember starting to have questions about my biological parents. One of the main principles we teach as missionaries is about eternal families. I started thinking again about this woman who gave me life. Where was she? Did she know about the gospel? How could I find her and tell her thank you?

Fast forward to about 11 years ago. I had finally made the decision that I was going to try and locate my biological mother. I even found a service that would help me do so. Giovanni and I talked about it and I was ready to do it. I figured that I should ask Robert and Brian about it too, since it would also affect them. Obviously Brian was to young to understand...but Robert. Well, he wasn't to keen on the idea. Infact. He got upset asking why we needed to find "that lady". I already had a mother and he a grandmother. There was no need. He was so upset about it (even though now he really doesn't even remember the conversations about it). I decided to wait. It wasn't the right time. Then about 9 months later my mother, Martha, passed away. She had been ill for a while and it was hard. She had become one of my best friends. Amazing how as you get older you love your parents more and more. It was hard when she died. That first year was awful. I put aside any thought of even looking for my biological parents. I had a mother and she was gone. I wasn't looking for another one.

As the years have passed I have thought more and more about how blessed I was to be adopted, but had decided that I wasn't going to pursue my search. It was time to lay it to rest. father had other ideas.

Last September 2013 he hired a company to help to find my biological parents, and he told me nothing about it. One day while at his house he told me that I needed to sign some letters and send them off to the DFCS of California. I inquired as to why and he said that he was looking for my birth mother. He felt the need to tell her thank you and that I turned out OK! What?! I had no idea what he had done or what he was doing. I didn't want to find this lady. There was no need. But my father felt the need. He gave me the papers and asked me to send them off. I kept them for several weeks before sending them. I was afraid of what I might find out....or not find out. I sent them off in January and was told it could take 1-2 months to hear back from them and it  would be non identifying information. I would have to sign more paper work for that (something I'm still not sure about).

Fast forward to the first week in March 2014. A large white envelope arrived in the mail from DCFS of California. Giovanni handed it to me and let me open it. (Even as I sit here now typing this letter a lot of those same emotions come to the surface. My life was about to come full circle. I was going to find out where I came from).

She was 17 years old at the time of my birth. My birth father was 20. They had known each other since she was 12. Her mother died when she was 13 yrs old and her father the next year when she was 14. She had one brother who was 21 at the time and living in a state run institution for the severly retarded and handicapped. He had been diagnosed with Polio at 2 months old and had strokes and seizures and never learned to talk. My birth mother had been living with an uncle and his family, but during the pregnancy was living in a local maternity home. (My birth mother was born in Texas (like my parents) and the father from Costa Rica). While living with her Uncle who was in the armed forces they lived in the Orient for several years and went from there to Kansas and then on to California.

My birth father was for Costa Rica but now lived in the USA. He had on brother and two sisters. His father was a high ranking officer in the armed forces and a carpenter. (Just like my father).  My birth father in listed into the military when he was 18 years old.

My birth mother and father were talking of getting married and when they found out about the pregnancy they decided to move it up to January 1966 ( a few months after my birth). However, in June of 1965 my birth father was called to active duty and was being sent to Germany. Due to the uncertainty of their relationship and the future they decided that the best thing would be to put the baby up for adotion.  It was a joint decision.

My birth mother told the social worker that she wanted to name me (and I do have that name, it is on my adoption papers), but would give me her second favorite name, and that she would like to hold me and feed me, but not to often. When it was time to sign the papers my birth mother was emotional but tried to keep herself composed. She asked for a picture of me,  but quickly added that it wasn't for her, but that she wanted to send it to my birth father in Germany. She also stated that she was ready to go forward with her life and finish school and that she wanted to be a teacher or go into cosmotology. When asked what it meant to her by signing the release papers for the adoption she said that she knew she could never get me back.

I was born on Nov 19, 1965 and on Nov 26, 1965 I was placed in a local foster home. On Dec 7, 1965 my mother and father saw me for the first time. They came back on Dece 9, 1965 with my brother, Dave, (also adopted from different parents) and took me home. There were several vistis over the next year with DCFS to make sure that it was a good environment for me and that we were all bonding as a family. On July 11, 1967 the adoption was final.

(There are actually about 5-6 pages of information about the adoption. the families, the birth parents, and the visits, but they are things that I would rather not share here).

Going back now to when I was in the MTC for my mission. On one of my last visits to the temple before leaving for Italy I remember praying and thinking about my birth parents. It was something that I needed to put to rest in my heart and mind. I can't tell you if I fell asleep and had a dream or if I was awake and had some sort of vision, and I don't even know the duration. The only thing that I can tell you is that it was the most real experience that I have ever had in my life. It was as if I was actually present. Here is what happened:
It was in the pre-exixtance ( before coming to earth to be born). It was all clear and white and a blue sky...There were some boulders where there were two young girls talking. They were in their teen years. One had dark hair and the other was fair skinned with blonde colored hair. I was sitting off in the distance alone, but watching these two girls talk. After a short while the dark hair girl came up to me and asked me if I was happy and I said yes. She told me that she was too. She then continued to tell me that she would be my mother one day when we were on earth, and that she was so looking forward to it. I told her that would be nice and I hoped we would be friends. She then told me that the girl with blonde hair wanted to talk to me. I went over to see what she wanted. She too asked me if I was happy and I told her yes. We talked for a few more moments, but I don't remember what we talked was a nice talk, that I remember, and we were both smiling a lot and we were happy. She then proceeded to tell me that the girl with the dark hair was her best friend in heaven. She had found out that on earth she wouldn't be able to have children...the blonde hair girl said that she told her friend that she would give her the first born child that she would have. I would be that first born child. The girl with the blonde hair asked me if it was okay with me for her to give me away for someone else to raise me. She told me she would love me forever, but that it was suppose to be that way. I told her yes, that it would be fine. We hugged and I left, with a smile on my face and I felt peace in my heart.

I have thought about this experience many times over the past 25 years, and I have felt peace every time. I know that it was and is suppose to be this way. When I read my adoption papers it all made sense. My birth mother had blonde hair...and I was her first born. My mother, Martha, was never able to have children of her own. We were all friends and we knew what would happen and we all agreed and we were happy and knew it would be okay.

There are no words to describe how I feel. Joy, Relief, Happiness, Peace, Curiosity, Love....and so many more emotions that I am not able to express them all. I am where I'm suppose to be, with the family that I'm suppose to be with. I will forever be thankful to my birth mother and father. They loved and cared for one another, but made the choice that they knew was right, and the did it together. I'm not sure what the future will hold. I am working with the company that my father hired to help locate my birth parents. When and if they do find them I will have to make a decision of what I want to do. I think I would like to say thank you, it is something that I have wanted to do for a very long time, but I am still not sure. For now I'm happy and thankful!

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