This week’s Sunday Scribbling:
The prompt this week is, “I come from…” or if you like you could try, “I came from…” This is all about your perspective. Where did you start? Where do you start? How did it all begin? Where do you stand right now? Where exactly do you come from?
I come from… Omaha. I could drive you past the plain brown brick building where I came from. That little brown building is my beginning. Child Saving Institute. Whenever someone asks where I’m from, that is the first image that pops into my head – the brown brick CSI building on Dodge. I have seen a picture of me, 1 month old, being held by my parents in the parking lot. They drove out and picked me up and brought me home.
It doesn’t seem that bizarre at first, but when I start thinking about it… um, it’s completely bizarre. I’m sure there was much more involved, but I can’ t help but view the entire transaction as something like a drive-through. Pull up, someone hands you a baby, and off you go.
Though I know some parts of my story, they’re all just parts, and they’re not one whole. And they start when I was 1 month old, and work backwards, rather than starting at the beginning and working forward. It’s a bizarre way to remember one’s earliest days, and I’m glad my children will have complete histories that start from the beginning.
So here’s my story. One day, my mom got a call from Child Saving Institute that they had a baby who was ready to come home. She was excited and they drove to Omaha in the morning and picked me up.
Before that, I was with foster care. Do you know that I had no idea where I spent Month One until I was 14? yeah. My foster parents wrote a nice letter about me to send along to the adoptive parents. They also were feeding me rice cereal. (yikes.)
Before that is somewhat of a large mystery. My birth mother’s name and address are known to me, I got ahold of them quite by accident (or by “angel”) when I was 21, and she and I have exchanged 3 letters total (two from me to her, one from her to me). She told me virtually nothing of herself, absolutely nothing of her pregnancy with me, where/how she delivered, or if she even got to see me afterwards. Part of me wants to hunt her down and force her to tell me, I have a right to know.
Mostly, she said she didn’t have any other kids, her husband didn’t know about me, she “thought” my birthfather still lived in the same (small) town where she still lives, and she had no problems during her pregnancy. (Other than, one might surmise, the big problem, which was that she was a pregnant teen in the 70s in small town Nebraska.) She preferred that I contact her only at work, since she didn’t intend to tell her husband. I was not overly cool with that, and was a little put off by the overall cold tone of her letter to me. (And in a small town, how does one NOT know whether a man who got her pregnant in high school still lives there?? While we’re at it, in a small town, how does one keep information like “I had a baby in high school” from one’s husband?)
That’s where I came from.
re: the “angel.” In adoption circles, among adopees and birthparents trying to find each other, there exist people known as “angels.” They may be people who live local to where your records are and they’re willing to go do some footwork for you – dig up paperwork at the courthouse, do a drive-by at a house, make a few phone calls. And they may also be people who work in places where records are kept. Adoption agencies, for example. And maybe, even when records are not supposed to be released, they accidently get photocopied and put in an envelope to your house. Stuck behind the letter that says, “I’m sorry, but your request for records cannot be granted.”
It wasn’t that easy, of course. The info supplied was out of date, but it wasn’t overly hard to find her.