Tuesday, March 16, 2010


so i'll be the first to admit this is ridiculous, but i was inspired tonight by the most unlikely of my viewing choices...you know you love it, gossip girl. sheesh. here i am, watching a little piece of home - albeit a riched-up, fantasy version of home - to escape from the mild homesickness i've been feeling lately, when a damn soap opera gets me all teary-eyed. for those non-fans, the episode in question centered on two characters, each with absent parents. my life has nothing in common with these absurdly wealthy pseudo-adults in inconceivably chic clothing and hollywood-toned bodies, but the feelings of loss, of abandonment, of wondering, that the actors tried to portray touched a nerve.

i haven't updated this blog because i haven't done anything to find my birth mother in over a year. so much happened in 2009 that to continue the search seemed a bad idea - why take on an emotion-laden project when i was already overwhelmed by feelings i'd never felt before? much of it - no, strike that, all of 2009 was a good adventure. when i lost my job in february, i can't honestly say i was upset beyond the omigod-i-just-got-shitcanned feeling that lasted for about 24 hours because i wanted out of that job more than i can express. and losing it led me to opportunities that changed my life forever - if i had not been unemployed, i never would have taken a month-long vacation to chile. if i hadn't taken that vacation, i would have never met the love of my life, the future father of my children, my now husband. if i hadn't met him, i never would have moved to chile to start this newest adventure.

and now i'm here. and i'm enjoying getting to know chile and being wife to my husband. but of course i miss home, and sometimes i feel a little overwhelmed and a little lost. regardless of my spirit of adventure, there are days when i need something to cling to, something of my very own that makes me feel not-so-lost. thank you, gossip girl, for reminding me of my search to find a very big piece of me.

i think i wrote here once that i was going to embrace the unknown and feel my own strength and face whatever came next...and i could argue that i'm doing exactly that merely by living in a foreign country where i can easily converse with exactly one person (the spanish is coming along but don't look for any posts in castellano anytime soon). but i know i wrote here once that i wasn't going to procrastinate communication in relationships anymore, and in a way, i've been doing just that. i'm not going to beat myself up about, i have really good excuses, but now is the time. now is the time to continue this journey that i started...three or four years from now, i'm (hopefully) going to become a mother of an adorable little dual citizen, and i want to be able to tell my little one the history of my family - all parts of it - the good, the bad, the beautiful, the sad, the biological and the adoptive.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

holy shit.

so for the last several months i've been totally blocked on the whole "what next" front in this process. i googled, i lexisnexised, i....okay, that's about it. i considered ancestors.com, but i didn't want to pay a fee to get nowhere. i tried to connect with a couple of "adoption angels" who facilitate this whole process, but both of the ones i found in alabama don't angel anymore. i went to the internet, the internet gave me nothing.

and then, last night: lightbulb! how about contacting the agency through which i was adopted and asking them for some help. what a novel freakin idea - contacting a person for help, not a search engine. i would want to smack myself for my inabiltiy to find this path sooner, but i think i didn't see it because i wasn't ready to do so. the mind is a mystery (mine is at least) and who knows if i had this idea all along but only chose to reveal it to myself when i was ready to take a step forward?

regardless, i found (read: googled - thank you internet) catholic social services of my city and contacted the director to ask (1) if they keep adoption records, and (2) what their policy is on sharing those records. less than 10 minutes later i got a response, as follows:

"Ms. K,
I have checked, and all your records are on file in this office.
We will need to review your birthmother's record to see if she is opento a reunion, if so we can possibly help facilitate this. If she is not, we will tell you.
I would highly recommend that you not do anything until you contact Mrs. P, our adoption worker, and have her review the record. You can reach her at (123) 456-7891. Please discuss your interests withher and let us give you the information you need before you proceed on.


like i said, holy shit. deep breath, baby steps. next step, once i relearn how to breathe regularly again: call mrs. p and ask her to review the records. what if what if what if there's a "do not contact" note from CLM in the file? am i gonna be hurt, brokenhearted, pissed, relieved? i don't know i don't know i don't know. back to that breathing. baby steps.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

soul journey

i recently re-discovered gillian welch - i've loved her music for a long time, but her albums were gathering dust on my itunes shelf. but in writing the last few posts, i found myself humming one song in particular by ms. welch.

in seven stanzas, she manages to perfectly express what has taken me seven blog posts to approximate.

i give you "no one knows my name."

the video quality isn't so hot, so i'm adding the lyrics. this song is amazing!
Oh my mother was just a girl, seventeen
Oh my mother was just a girl, seventeen
And my dad was passin’ through doing things a man will do
Oh my mother was just a girl, seventeen
It’s a wonder that I’m in this world at all
It’s a wonder that I’m in this world at all
And I have a life to claim though I really don’t know my name
It’s a wonder that I’m in this world at all
Ain’t one soul in the whole world knows my name
Ain’t one soul in the whole world knows my name
But it’s written up in the sky and I’ll see it by and by
Ain’t one soul in the whole world knows my name
Well I had a good mother and dad just the same
Well I had a good mother and dad just the same
And they took me to their breast and they surely stayed the test
Well I had a good mother and dad just the same
Ain’t one soul in the whole world knows my name
Ain’t one soul in the whole world knows my name
Just another baby born to a girl lost and lorn
Ain’t one soul in the whole world knows my name
Now and then there’s a lonesome thought in my mind
Now and then there’s a lonesome thought in my mind
And on the crowded street I see a strangers face that looks like me
Now and then there’s a lonesome thought in my mind
Ain’t one soul in the whole world knows my name
Ain’t one soul in the whole world knows my name
But I’ll see it by and by cause it’s written up in the sky
Ain’t one soul in the whole world knows my name

Monday, May 12, 2008

happy mother's day

my mom was always religious, sometimes intensely so. given that, she was a big proponent of prayer and often encouraged me to pray for my birth mother on occasions such as my birthday and of course, mother's day.

i wasn't ever sure what i was supposed to pray for, and found it kinda odd that my mom thought it necessary to remind me of my birth mother. her existence and my adopted status may have never been a big issue, but it was never forgotten. not for a single moment.

of course i think of my birth mother on mother's day, and i imagine her thinking of me. i wonder who she's told - her husband, if she's married, her friends...certainly her parents remember, i would imagine. what does SHE feel on mother's day?

me, i feel nothing but blessed. blessed to have had a mother growing up; blessed to have a birth mother who sought a better life for me, blessed to have so many women in my life who are mother-figures, "other mothers" so to speak.

sharon's mom, who tears up when she reminds me to keep in touch. who fed me and housed me and drove me all over birmingham when my own mom couldn't.

my aunt ginny, my true other mother, my co-conspirator, my partner in crime and fart jokes. oy, she nags, but she nags because she loves.

janice, my semi-stepmom. my fellow drinker, shopper and light verbal sparring partner. a truly remarkable woman and perfect match for my father.

all of these women have touched and shaped my lives in various ways at different times. for all of these women i am thankful. because of these women, i am the person who types this today.

and mom, i miss you. i miss what we never had, what could have been, what actually was. all of it, the good and the bad, the fights and the hurt feelings and the tears, the sickness and tension - i wouldn't change it. you were a strange lady who sometimes drove me to the brink, but you were there. you were my mother. you chose me.

CLM, you're out there somewhere, perhaps thinking of me at this very moment! i don't miss you because i never knew you. but i think i want to know you....i'll be seeing you, i'm sure.

to all my mamas, to all mamas everywhere: happy mother's day.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

unnamed female infant m

there are no words. i can try to describe how i feel upon reading the name of my biological mother, but i really don't know what this feels like yet. i'm excited and glad for sure, but it is going to take me a couple of days at least just to digest this knowledge.

i am certainly glad that in the last week & a half i chose not to worry too much about what i'd do once i had her name. i knew that i couldn't prepare for how overwhelming yet incredible it feels just to see her name, her age, her place of birth.

but at the same time i was so fixated on getting her name that i didn't think about what i'd feel like when i saw my name on the original birth certificate: unnamed female infant m___, born at 5:21 am.

i wonder if she had thought about a name. how long we were face to face.

oh there's so many thoughts to think. i'm just going to let my brain think 'em for the next couple of days. not rush any decisions.

but i do have a next step that's nice & easy: i just write to alabama whozawatzit and can get background info,which is basically health information, like the presence of diabetes, heart disease or cancer in my parents and grandparents. i used to have that kind of information, my mom gave it to me when i was 13 - but just to look at. and she told me she had more information that she'd give me when i was older. i never got the "more information"and the documents i looked at when i was young have yet to turn up in the rest of my mother's belongings.

i'd hoped to find it in her safety deposit box, but it wasn't there when my lawyer finally got the legal authority to open it. my mom did not have a will, so alongside this new information about my birth, this possible path to a new beginning, i'm getting calls from my lawyer in birmingham about developments in the months-long process of settling her estate.

one process is just beginning, not governed by any plan or expected outcome, buoyed by the hope granted to me by the three words i read today, c__ l___ m___ . my biological mother. her NAME! holy smokes.

unlimited potential, wide open future.

the other steadily marches toward the anticipated goal. this process has an end, a goal that upon reaching i - and my mom - can rest. when i can say "that's finished and i'm glad." when i can concentrate on memories, not loss. when i can celebrate the life she lived, not tidy up what she left behind.

resolution, remembering.

Friday, April 25, 2008

1 step closer

big day: the state of alabama cashed my $20 check! now, this being alabama that i'm dealing with, the state that "lost" $14,000 from its education budget and put its police on 4-day weeks, they might just have cashed it out of desperation. but remembering the end of my last post, the them of this search is optimism! so i'll believe that the original birth certificate is on its way.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


now i wait for that birth certificate - i can't really do anything to move this process forward until i get those names in my hands. i'm nervous, i'm excited, i'm psyched, i'm scared, i hope it gets here tomorrow, i hope it takes 6 more weeks....

the wait is good, though - it forces me to take a deeper look into why i decided to send my check to the state of alabama to get that piece of paper. even to me it kinda feels like i decided to embark this search on a whim with no more thought than what i put into deciding what i'm going to eat for lunch.

but that feeling stems from the fact that being adopted, to me, is no different than having eyes a particular shade of blue or hair that curls a certain way or a fondness for reading novels that will someday be adapted into screenplays. being adopted is one of the building blocks that makes me who i am, so fundamental that often i take it for granted, maybe even forget a little bit.

but no matter my forgetfulness, the fact of my birth always remains; always there, in some part of my mind, is the knowledge that i was not raised by the same woman who gave birth to me. but although this knowledge is a constant part of me, trying to describe what this knowledge feels like is as easy as explaining what it feels like for non-adoptees to be raised by the same woman who DID give birth to them.

trying to describe how it feels to be a certain way when you've been that way forever is damn near impossible - for me, at least. i have trouble finding the words to describe why i'm doing this, or how i've actually been thinking about it for the last 29 years.

i suppose the best way to describe my adopted status is to claim a sense of otherness. i don't want it to seem like i've felt like an outsider my whole life, like i've felt alien in my own family - far from it. my mom is my mom, my dad my dad, my cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents MY cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents. but as much as i feel like a member of this tribe with the funny last name, there is a sense of being apart, of being an objective observer. it is impossible to be completely objective in one's family, of course - i think a better way to say it would be to claim a dual awareness - i am this, but i am also that. i am of this family, but i am also of another silent, unseen family.

and again, words fail me: those silenced, those unseen - family? biological family? how can there be a family if the members have never met? the shortcomings of language - if there's a whole word for the appreciation of cherry blossom season, there must be those for blood relatives one has never met, or the simultaneous feeling of inclusion and otherness.

these ruminations on the feeling of adoption is all background, of course - despite the wonder that is a constant of my existence, what pushed me to try to transform that wonder into knowledge?

a lot of it has to do with my current emotional existence - i feel ready for this even if i can't express exactly why. in fact, i've felt ready for a while, but i honestly thought the process would be a lot more difficult than mailing a check to alabama. i thought i'd have to hire a lawyer, a private investigator, etc, and begin this Process that would be exhausting and emotional. proceeding this way is no less emotional, but certainly not exhausting. if it is this easy to get a name, why NOT do it?

i was ready last year, but then my mom passed away after years of emotional, mental and physical turmoil. so i put away the otherness for a little while and stood firmly in my daughter shoes. i mourned my mom, i mourned our relationship. i knew that i didn't want to get confused as to what i was looking for in a biological mother, or for her to get the wrong idea of what i was seeking.

but a year has passed since my mom died. i'll always miss her and some days i miss her so much i can hardly stand it - but the hardest part (i think) is over. i'm not going to wake up one day and find her to be not dead - no matter if i find my biological mother 6 months or 6 years or 6 decades from now, the woman who raised me is gone. before i lost her, i thought i had all the time in the world to build a relationship that was stronger than the anger and sadness and regret that had grown between us. before she died, i put years of hard work into becoming a strong woman who could retain her sense of self no matter what life offered, who could remain confident in the face of a turbulent relationship. in fact, i had just reached out to my mother a few months before she passed - i was trying, and i was figuring out what an adult relationship with my mother would actually be like.

but i was too late. i procrastinated too much. i got too scared. and after she died, i promised myself that fear would not get in the way of my relationships ever again, that i would pursue what i desired without regrets. that i would say what i meant and be happy that i said it no matter the results.

and i suppose that lesson is what got me here. i needed a year to mourn, i needed a year to practice (or pretend) fearlessness.

and despite my trepidation, despite my second-guesses and need for introspection, my optimism remains. i wouldn't even get my birth certificate if i didn't appreciate just how special my circumstance is. i have a chance to meet the woman who knew me more intimately than anyone else; i KNOW in my heart that she thinks of me - sometimes i can even feel her, i swear.

this search might end in sadness and disappointment. but it is just as likely is that it might actually be a beginning of the most unique and special relationships of my life. and it is definite that no matter the outcome, i will have no regrets.