Monday, June 1, 2009


We'll start with the beginning.

I'm adopted.

My birth mother hid me under baggy clothes while she was 14, and gave birth to me when she was 15. Growing up, I knew very little about her. I had only a think packet of information from the County of San Bernardino with a bio written about her by a social worker. And I knew that my biological father had "had some trouble with the law."

As soon as I turned 18, I started searching for my birth mother. The only information I had was the same info I had possessed my whole life. Her first name and her birthdate. That and some miscellaneous odds and ends, such as she liked to sew and enjoyed rock concerts.

I started with the internet. I found all kinds of great resources for adoptees and families to make contact with each other. There are databases where you can list your information and when people search and there's a match, you can contact one another. I couldn't find her info on any of the sites I searched, so I left my pertinent info on a database and pressed harder on the county to get more info. This was all in November / December of 1998.

The county was a nightmare. They had actually lost my file in a move, so if there was anything more to know, it wasn't able to be discovered by me. The only way I was allowed to get my unaltered birth certificate would be if my mother and my father both signed the same stupid piece of paper agreeing to release the info, which would require them to travel, in person, to a government office and get through the beauracracy to sign said documents.

I pretty much gave up hope. Not completely, I just didn't know what else to do short of begging Oprah to help me find her.

Then one day in July of 1999, I got an email. Some random stranger had been perusing the adoption database where I registered and noticed that there was a match. She believed she had found my mother's info, and she had!

Side note, I really wish I still had that person's info or that email address, because I would love to send her a thank-you card. I'm sure I thanked her via email, but now after 10 years of knowing this part of my family I want to send another! :)

So, that day, July 11th, 1999, I called information to see if there was anyone by the last name in the area. Sure enough, there was ONE listing. I gathered all my nerve and called. The woman who answered the phone said that Charlotte (my mother) was her daughter in-law, and that she lived up in Northern California. She didn't want to give me her number (understandably), so I gave her mine and she said she would pass it on.

As it turns out, Donna, the woman who answered the phone, had no idea about me. Hehehe. Surprise! To top it off, it was her and her husband, Art's, anniversary that day.

My mother and I started emailing and calling and getting to know one another. In August of that year, her and her husband, Tim, and my 4 (half - like it matters) brothers and sisters came down to Southern California for a visit and I got to meet TONS of other family members, go to Sea World with everyone, and introduce them to my family.

What's really odd to me is how fire & ice my "two moms" are. Charlotte loves to sew (and quilt, too), her favorite color is red, and she loves to read. My mom loves to sew (and quilt now, too), her favorite color is red, and she loves to read. Charlotte is a Democrat, my mom is a Republican. Charlotte hates seafood, my mom loves seafood. And the more I get to know her, the more amazed I am at the ways that I am like her, and then the ways I am like my mom from my upbringing.

I know everyone romanticizes adoption to a degree, as if the birth mother gets to handpick who raises her baby. In some cases, yes, and that might explain the numerous similarities in interests between the two of them. But with a county adoption like mine, my mom and dad were basically on a waiting list and I was the one that came along when it was their turn.

It's been a really cool journey so far. I can't tell you how amazing it was to have my mom, who was at first very jealous and insecure about the whole ordeal, invite Charlotte & Tim and the kids over for Christmas dinner a couple years ago. Or to see my mom crying and telling Charlotte that she was so glad that she had me and that they got to raise me. At least I'm pretty sure that was the gist of what she said.

I hope enough of that qualifies as the "coincidence" theme for the week. I wish that Charlotte & Tim & the gang lived closer, because it is so hard to spend good quality time together with such distance between us, but I love them all so much. And except for that whole living closer thing, I wouldn't have my weird little family any other way. I love my mom, and my dad, and my mom, and Tim, and Sara, and Tommy, and April, and Brian. :)

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