Our Journey

2002 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #1

2003 1st consult with an RE, you know, just in case

2003 Got Married (at 37 (me) & 34 (DH) years old)

2003/2004 Naturally conceived pregnancies BFPs #1, #2, & #3 and miscarriages #1, #2, #3

2005 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #2

2005 IVF #1, BFN #1

2005 IUIs #1 and #2, just because, BFN #2 & #3

2005 FET from IVF #1, BFN #4

2006 Exploratory surgery to remove scar tissue from fibroid sugery #2

2006 IVF #2 (w PGD), BFP #4

2006 Emergency cerclage for IC @ 16w6d (5 months + 1 week of complete bed rest at home ensues)

2007 Our son is born @ 38w by scheduled c-section

2007 IVF #3 for baby #2, BFN #5

2007 IVF #4, BFP #5, miscarriage #4

2008 IVF #5, BFP #6, miscarriage #5

2008 IVF #6, BFP #7, miscarriage #6

2008 DE IVF #7, BFN #6

2009 DEFET #8, cancelled, embryos don't thaw

2010 Decide to adopt domestically

12.17.10 Profile is live with our agency

November 2011 Consult with RE re: donated embryo cycle

Early January 2012 Cleared to proceed with deFET

January 2012 Freeze our profile

1.20.12 deFET begins
2.12.12 eSET of one compacted morula
2.22.12 BFN

3.23.12 deFET #2 begins
4.14.12 transfer 3 embryos (1-8 cell, 1-5 cell, 1-4 cell)
4.22.12 + HPT
4.24.12 Beta #1 = 48.4
4.26.12 Beta #2 = 125.7
4.30.12 Beta #3 = 777.8
5.11.12 1st U/S - Singleton!
7.12.12 It's a Boy!
12.26.12 C-section: Baby G is born, 9#5oz, 20.5"

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I Just Can’t Take No

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)
Catholic
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?

13 comments to I Just Can’t Take No

  • Mel

    I don’t have perfect words for you, but I’ve been sitting here with the post open, thinking about this. I wonder if it’s possible to get a pre-meeting (whatever you’d call a meeting before you commit to the task) with a private investigator to give him/her the info you have and see if it’s enough for someone to go on to track down a name. They may know how to scan other schools in that area, etc.

  • Mary

    Have you tried going through the 1940 Census of that area looking for that family? It would be a slog, but probably not any worse than the yearbook exercise.

  • Forgive my ignorance of adoption laws generally and of your situation specifically. . . but is obtaining your original birth certificate not an option that would provide you with his name? (I am guessing it must not be, or you would have tried that by now.)

    I think Mel’s idea of a private investigator is a good one.

  • First – I cannot even begin to imagine what this must be like for you.

    What strikes me from this data is the age of your paternal grandmother verses the age of your father. Your father was born in 1930 (based on the info of age 36 in 1966). Your grandmother was in her 70′s in 1996 – let’s assume your grandmother was 79 (oldest possible) in 1996 – making her born in 1917. That would mean that she had your father at age 13 … having already had two previous children.

    All that considered. I am thinking your data could be wrong. Considering the note “nethier ready for marriage” sounds strange for a 36 year old male, maybe a “2″ was misread as a “3″ and he really was 26??? (Side Question – How old was your mother in 1966?)

    Another thought. Since he was 1/4 English it is possible he did not have an Italian name. If your father’s paternal grandfather was English and then he would have an English last name. Also supporting this possibility is that in Catholic (and Jewish) communities it is assumed that the religion is passed down through the mother. Italian likely equals Catholic, while English likely equals protestant. Thus, it would be more likely the 1/4 English was paternal. This is, however, making A LOT of assumptions.

    Next, given that you know he was a high school graduate and knowing his height, have you looked to the basketball rosters to help narrow it down?

    Also – the “family obligations” comment and the age of death of your grandfather may imply that your grandfather died in the years just before your birth. Maybe look into death certificates from your town from around that time?

    Finally, I’m not sure if it would be possible, but maybe pulling business records for auto mechanics registered in the area in 1966 since you know he was self employed? If this is possible (an assuming your grandfather’s death prior to your birth) than maybe your father (as the oldest male) had taken over the family business – meaning the business would have been around for a while prior to 1966???

    Hope my fresh eyes may help in any way. I pray you one day find him and a wonderful extended family!

  • Erin

    What about catholic boys schools in the area of your mom’s high school. Perhaps you could look at yearbooks and cross-reference with girls in high school classes older than your paternal father? Sorry I can’t be better help.

  • Claire

    OMG. This must just be excruciating. I think you are right to do whatever you can to find out who your birth father is. I think all the ideas above are great. I can’t believe they still seal birth records in CA. I would try all angles, including getting it unsealed. All I can think of is that show that used to be on cable where the guy helps ppl find their birth families – do you know the one I mean? Maybe you could get on that show?
    It’s also puzzling to me the large age gap between them ( am I right?) and that he had “family responsibilities”. Maybe he was married???
    Anyway, I’m with you on the importance of this search and I’m hoping so much you find out what you need to. The movie I saw last night, Philomena, was very much your search in reverse – a mom looking for her long lost son. A really poignant drama – with some comedy. Hoping you can get answers! I know you are smart and determined and you can do it. I’m just mad your birth mom won’t share. But if he WAS a married man maybe that would explain the depth of her shame? Good luck!!!

  • I am of absolutely no use here- I think others have made some good suggestions. I just wanted to send you my support. I can’t imagine how tough it is to be in the dark about your genetic heritage.

  • I think you need to try to find your birth father without involving your birth mother. If it’s hard for her to even write a 2-line note to you, she’s not going to give you any more information. I’m sorry she doesn’t share your desire for a relationship, and I can’t imagine how hard that must be for you. But I can see how being in touch with you would be hard for her.

    I like the private investigator idea. After reading your post and some of the ideas others have suggested, I think you have more than enough information to find him – age, family makeup, ethnic background, work. It’s just going to take a lot of slogging through.

  • Bee

    Have you considered doing a genetic test like Ancestry or 23&me? I know an adult adoptee who was able to learn the identity of her birth father because she matched with a genetic cousin in the database. I know it may be a long shot but it has helped some people immensely and the test is much cheaper than hiring a P.I.

  • Sarah

    I was thinking about the auto mechanic option as well. How big was there town? Would it be possible to look at phone books from 1965-66 and see how many auto repair places there were?
    I’m not adopted, but I really really understand the need to know. I made being willing to be contacted after age 18 a must for both of our donors. Are baby G’s donors willing to be known?

  • Lavinia

    I am in a very similar position as you with regard to my paternal parentage. My mother is an extremely difficult, complex and manipulative person who has never given truthful information regarding my genetic father. I was a child abuse victim many years ago when such things were not spoken about and would likely have been more emotionally damaged and physically injured had my Dad (mother’s husband who raised me) not been such a wonderful person. In order to prevent myself from unravelling about ‘what might have been’ I have concentrated my efforts on my own descendants and worked hard to model different and better behaviour for them. I must add that I am now a grandparent myself and so the likelihood of my own father being alive is now zero.
    Having said that I totally understand your desire to know about your father and perhaps even locate him. I wish you the very best in coming to place where you have a resolution and or peace with this, whatever happens.

    Lavinia from England

  • My gut reaction was similar to Lara’s comment above, especially the part about the math seeming off.

  • [...] I Just Can’t Take No » Catharsis Your many insightful responses to my last post have made me feel much more in [...]

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