I was 12 the year I found out that I was adopted. It came as quite a shock. My best friend in school sat several desks behind me in the sixth grade. One day out of the blue, she said, "Hey Linda, you were adopted." I just looked at her and told her I was not. By the time I arrived home from school that day, I was absolutely sure it was true. I was home by myself and looked everywhere I could think of for some proof that I was adopted. Believe it or not, I found an old Bible on top of an old secretary-type desk that had an article by Dear Abby dealing with adoption. That was enough proof for me, I WAS ADOPTED. Between moments of sheer terror and disbelief, I waited for my mother to come home from work. Not the type to hold things in, I asked her right out, "Was I adopted." Deep down I hoped she would say no, but, of course, she said "Yes you were." I burst into tears. She gave me the pat statement of how I was so loved, how they picked me, how happy they were, etc. I didn't buy any of it and ran out of the house in tears. How long I stayed outside I don't know, but when I came back in, my mother didn't say a word and never mentioned it again. I'm sure she told my dad what happened but he never said a word to me about it for his entire life. I assumed because they didn't talk about it that I shouldn't either and to be fair to them, I never mentioned it again either. That day set me on a course of leading two lives. I was a cheerleader, in the band, student council, an honor student, and had many friends. What no one knew was that I led a double life. I never talked about it to my friends, but when I wasn't busy with my "life," I thought about being adopted and who I might actually be. I looked everywhere for someone who might be my real mother. I hated being adopted. I hated that I felt that all my relative weren't really mine. I was jealous of my cousins and all my friends because they had "real" families and were where they belonged. I floated through my life with a million questions and no answers and too afraid to ask my parents.
I graduated from high school and went on to become a medical secretary. My first job was at the hospital where I knew I was born. I worked in the Medical Record Department. I couldn't believe it. I had all the old hospital records at my fingertips. It took me about a week to find my birth mother's name. Life took on a whole different look at that point. I had a name and an address but no other real information. The actual paper hospital record of my birth had been destroyed years earlier for some reason (I think it was water that destroyed a bunch of records). All that was left was a 3 x 5 card with a date, mother's name, and baby girl. With her name which was very common, my search now was focused on trying to locate her. I had always assumed she was a teenage girl who got pregnant and had to give up her baby. I also assumed that she had married at some point, so I might never find her.
I went on to lead a somewhat normal life. I married and had two children. My husband, of course, knew about my adoption and from time to time we discussed it at length, wondering who, what, where, and how. Again, I never had the courage to ask my mother anything. One day when I was 38, my husband andI were talking while I was ironing. Really talking about nothing when all of a sudden, he stopped talking and looked at me strangely. Out of nowhere, he said, "I think I went to grade school with a guy who looked exactly like you when you were that age." Right, how crazy was that? This would have been second grade. I told my husband that if this guy had been in school with him, he would have to be my age and I absolutely knew I wasn't a twin. He kept insisting we looked alike and that he was going to get a yearbook from that high school and find out who he was and show me. The next day he came home from work with a yearbook and there was a guy who did look like me in a way, but the key point was he had the last name of my biological mother. Strange coincidence. Who knew. My husband's father was an alcoholic and at times, when he was drinking, he would come out with strange bits of information that we assumed was the alcohol talking, but in hindsight, he actually knew something he wouldn't tell us. My husband went to his house and insisted he spit out what he knew, if anything. It turned out that he did, indeed, know who my biological mother was and that I had a brother, Danny. I couldn't believe it. I nearly had a heart attack. I kept the information to myself for a day and then forced myself to confront my mother with the information I had gathered. Much to my shock, she admitted she knew I had a brother and went on to tell me the entire story of my adoption. Someone had a baby they didn't want and my parents wanted a baby and couldn't have one. All neat and tidy. I asked my mother what she would have done if I would have come home with my brother as my boyfriend. She told me she would have told me then. I was furious. All these years of having a brother and no one bothered to tell me. We went to different high schools but lived about 10 miles apart our entire lives. After lashing out at my mother for all the secrets all of the years, I went home. The biggest surprise was yet to come. I immediately called my best friend and said, "Guess what, I have a brother." There was a long pause and then she said, "I know." I couldn't believe it. She actually knew I had a brother and never ever told me. She said her grandparents were friends of my biological grandparents and she had been told to never mention it to me. More secrets. She also told me that one of my friends from school was married to a cousin of mine. I called my friend and she actually gave me my brother's address. I wrote a letter to him right that night telling him what I knew. Two days later I was at work when I received a phone call. This deep voice said, "Hello, Linda, this is your look alike." He knew nothing about me. He was raised by a single mom and really didn't care who his father was and never asked any questions. He lived in Maryland and came the very next day to meet me and my family. It was amazing. I was mesmerized by him. An actual older brother. He was 13 months older than me and graduated the same year from a different school. We had a wild couple of days. I must have asked him a million questions. The next step was meeting his wife. He told his mother that I had contacted him, but she didn't want anything to do with me at that point in time. I waited several months and then finally just contacted her myself. I kind of went up to her door and just introduced myself.
I'd like to say that meeting her was the most amazing thing ever and that life from that point was fabulous; however, it didn't turn out that way. I did have some good times with my brother and actually did quite a few things with my biological mother and family, but it was all so strange. My adopted mother was so good about all of it. She never once acted like it bothered her that I had found this other family. I did find out all the details surrounding my birth and adoption and found out about my biological father. I thought that was it. Unfortunately, my brother died a few years ago. He had been a policeman and was well-loved by all who knew him. I surely wish we had had the chance to grow up together.
Time went on and then a new revelation came to the surface. I discovered I had two half-brothers and a half-sister. I knew they existed for quite awhile but had no idea how to reach them or even if they were still alive. I put the internet to use one day and actually found my oldest brother through his daughter on Facebook. Totally random but I got a hit. I wrote to this girl on Facebook, gave her my name, told her I was adopted, where I was born, and that I thought I might be related to her father. I told her where I was born and the name of the person I was looking for. She wrote back, said that was her father's name, and that he was born in the same town. Shock. He was out of town but when he returned, she gave him my message. He e-mailed me and suggested I call him. He still had no clue as to who I might be. I was scared to death, but I placed the call and told him what I knew. He was shocked but not surprised. He then said he would contact his sister and brother and that he was sure they would be calling me. Within two hours, I heard from both of them. Since then, I have met all of them, spent time at their homes, and we have become really good friends. It is such a blessing to me. I went from being an only child to having a sister and three brothers. We actually discovered there was another brother who died before we even knew he existed.
I truly have all the facts about who I am now. I can't say the story is all that pretty but it is my story and I'm glad to know all the details. I feel richer for the experience and happy to have this new family to share.