I thought it was time I provided an update on my birth-family search (mother and two sisters).
If you read my previous post concerning the timing of my decision to search for my birth-family, you may remember my mention of our home fire; which I brought up for a reason. Our home fire was on September 15, 2012 – I completed the request for search application (step 1 in the process) in January 2013 – mailing after it was notarized (Thank you, BETH) in February 2013. The first-stop was Richmond, Virginia. From what I remember about this process in Virginia (it’s been a while), there is ONE PERSON in the entire state designated as the point of contact for adoptees. Long story short, Mary (my social worker in Newport News – she’s step 2) told me she had NO IDEA how Jackie (my social worker in Richmond – step 1) was able to locate my birth mother. From what I was told, which if you think about it is to be expected, the name of the birth mother at the time of the child’s birth will more often than not be different today. Mary informed me that no one could compare to Jackie when it came to adoption research! I think I received an email from Jackie around April 2013 to say she was confident she located my birth mother and one of my two sisters. She provided details on Step 2; the information would be forwarded to the social services office where my adoption took place (which just so happened to be Newport News, Virginia!). That office would make contact; which could take up to 8 months.
In December 2013, I had not received any information, so I called the social services office in Newport News requesting to speak with Mary (the name Jackie provided me in April). I was totally amazed when Jackie answered her phone when I was transferred! I explained who I was and the reason for my call; Mary apologized for being so busy and not getting around to my application – which I reassured her was not a big deal. I informed her that I had been waiting (in a way, but not really) for 51 years, what’s a few more months (not to mention, my GOD was in control!). She called me back a few weeks later to tell me she left a voice mail message on my birth mother’s phone and she would wait to receive a return call. In mid-January 2014, Mary and I touched base again; when she told me it could take YEARS for my birth mother to call back! She told me a story about a birth-father that returned her call 2 years later! Honestly, at that point, I think I let go. I assumed God closed the door and I would trust that HE knew best.
The last week in March 2014, I received a voice message from Mary asking me to call. Although I tried not to read anything into her message, I must admit, I was a tad bit excited! Long story short, she was preparing to write my birth mother a letter (the next step in her process) and decided, on a whim, to conduct a quick search on some new software social services was testing for a month for free. That is when she located my second sister – along with a telephone number. Mary called the number and someone answered the phone (no message this time). Mary asked if the woman on the phone was the daughter of my birth mother and she was. Mary told her she wasn’t able to provide any information, but asked that she get a message to her mother to please call. The sister immediately called her mother and was unable to reach her. In a panic (which any good daughter would have done – I say that because I would panic – ask any of my children), she called her sister asking her to check on their mother. In their brief conversation, she said to her sister, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we had a brother or a sister.” Little did she know what was in store!!!!! My birth mother returned the call to Mary the same day; stating she received the message in December but had just lost her husband and hadn’t gotten around to returning the call.
It was discovered the only individuals that knew about my birth were her mother and her two sisters (and their spouses). My birth-mother made the decision not to tell her father (even though she was married at the time of my conception); her dad was a Pastor and I’m certain she was afraid of letting him down. Everyone has passed away now (including her father), except one brother-in-law and she doesn’t keep in touch with him after the death of her sister. At this point, she was planning to take her “secret” to the grave. I have no doubt Mary was instrumental in helping my birth mother make the decision to communicate with me; spending hours on the phone with her, listening while my birth mother shared her long kept secret story (and cried). My birth mother agreed to tell one of her daughters right away, to gauge her reaction. Her response was of excitement and complete understanding. That only left daughter number two (which she would see over that weekend); thus the reason for a Monday final decision.
I have NO DOUBT GOD was in complete control of the entire situation – actually, my entire LIFE (you see, Jackie, in Richmond, retired a couple of weeks ago – but stayed around long enough to complete the difficult search for my birth mother!; Mary was assigned to my case and she was a God-send (patient, understanding, kind, etc.)!; Mary also made the decision to utilize the free software social services had for one month-resulting in a perfectly timed call; and two kind, sympathetic daughters who I can’t help but think must have been raised by a wonderful mother).
So, the next step in the process is for Mary to notify Richmond (Jackie’s replacement), who will in-turn notify me (in writing, I believe). I assume I will be provided the name and contact information for my birth-mother – but honestly, I’m not really what happens next.
I know my birth mother lives in Tennessee (I don’t know where), one of her daughters lives about 30 minutes from her mother (also in Tennessee) and the other daughter lives in North Carolina.
I promise to provide another update the minute I have more information to share! I am so grateful you all are traveling this road with me. I am at complete peace and have no expectations or fears. MY GOD IS IN CONTROL!!!!