It’s that time of year, when I find myself mulling over how to reach out to my birth mother in a way where she will respond favorably to my request for my birth father’s name. For some reason, January is the time of year where I get the renewed itch to try again.
She is the only living person who knows his identity. As he would be 84, it would surprise me if he is still alive. However, I have always felt strongly that he did marry and have children and that I have half-genetic siblings out there. I also feel strongly that it is my right to know, decisively, my paternal heritage.
I attended a luncheon hosted by PVED yesterday, an online community that I’ve belonged to since 2006 when I was unsure we’d be able to have children with my eggs and was beginning to research other options. As we went around the room sharing the stories of how we built our families, for some reason, it sparked my desire to contact my birth mother again in an attempt to get my birth father’s name.
In my last communication with her, a year ago this month, I expressed that if she obliged two requests (one, for a picture of her and, two, for my birth father’s name), I would respect her request to never contact her again. However, she did not oblige me and instead responded with this note.
What to do, what to do?
In discussing this with a couple of people in attendance yesterday, one suggested that I ask her to reveal his name in a document filed with her family’s attorney to be released to me upon her passing. This way, his name doesn’t die with her, but I won’t search for him or his family while she is alive.
Of all the ideas I’ve mulled over in the few years that I’ve come to know her identity, it seems like the most plausible.
It takes SO much restraint for me to craft these letters to her. I have tried to be respectful in the face of her disrespecting me. I’ve tried to be compassionate even when her responses are stunted and void of emotion. I’ve tried to tap into whatever it was that compelled her to have me and place me for adoption in the first place, hoping that if I could touch her there that she’d do right by me one more time. All to no avail. I want to lash out, to give her many pieces of my mind, but I know that that will close her off to me completely.
If you have always known your genetic parents and siblings, perhaps it is hard for you to relate to my insatiable desire to know mine. I lack the words to adequately convey how important this is to me. Having been stonewalled only deepens my desire and my quest. Having seen pictures of my birth mother and now knowing I don’t resemble her, makes me want to see my birth father and any of his children even more.
On the off chance that any of you might see a way to finding him from the non-identifying information that my birth mother shared with the adoption agency at the time she relinquished me, I will share what I know here:
1/4 English-3/4 Italian descent
Born in Massachusetts
Resided in Massachusetts at the time of my birth
36 years old (in 1966)
High School Graduate
Self-employed, auto repair
6’3″-6’4″, 190#, average build, dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, medium olive complexion
talents: manual dexterity, fishing
“Birth parents had known each other a long time and dated 3 years. Cared about each other but birth father had family obligations. Neither were ready for marriage and felt adoption best plan for baby.” There is even reference to my birth mother speaking with my birth father in person after my birth and concluding that adoption was still the best plan.
Extended family as of 1966:
Paternal grandfather deceased between ages 55-65, heart attack
Paternal grandmother, alive, in 70s, in good health
2 paternal aunts, older than birth father, married, in good health
1 paternal uncle, younger than birth father, in good health
All born in Massachusetts
I went through the high school year books from the school my birth mother attended and transcribed every single male and female names in the corresponding years that my birth father and his siblings would have attended into an excel spreadsheet and sorted it to see if there there were siblings, in the proper birth order, that shared the same Italian last name but nothing jumped out at me.
My non-identifying information also indicated that my birth mother had sole custody of me (in those days, I’m not exactly sure how this was since they knew she knew the identity of my birth father, but maybe he terminated his parental rights when she had me). I was born in the state of CA (she came here from Massachusetts to conceal her pregnancy “from family” but I’m not sure if that meant neither of her parents knew, or maybe her mother knew but not her father or maybe they both knew but not her brother?) where adult adoptees do not have rights to their original birth certificates (OBC). It is part of my sealed adoption record that can only be opened by court order (and court orders are hard to come by). So, as she had sole custody, it’s highly likely that his name doesn’t even appear on my OBC, although it might.
If you see something in the above that might be an avenue to discovering who my birth father is, please share. It seems to me, though, that my birth mother holds the key, something she is unwilling to relinquish. Maybe beseeching her to leave it for me posthumously is my next best course. I just have to figure out how to impress upon her just how important this is to me.
How to say what needs to be said?