I have always known I was adopted, and that it was finalized before I was born. As I grew, I wasn't ever angry about it, but had a lot of curiosity about "my people", and a lot of "what if "about my birth mother. My adoptive mother and I got along fine, but we were two totally different people from the beginning. I probably began searching for them when I was about 12. When I became a mother for the first time at 21, I felt like she must wonder every Sept. 10th, where I am and how I'm doing, because you just don't forget you had a baby! Since then, I have just wanted to see a picture of her and let her know I was alright and doing fine. All I knew about her was her name, Rosa Lee Moore.
Fast forward to this last Sept. 11, 2015. My daughter-in-law called to ask me one more time, to get in touch with a dear friend of her uncle Matt’s, Susan Friel-Williams, who is the CEO of Search Quest America. I figured that by now it was highly probable that my birth mother had died or was at least aged and feeble and could not take the shock, so initially I wasn't too excited about the idea. As I thought about it, I remembered hearing that I might have siblings, which could tell me a lot, and since both my adoptive parents had passed on, and I figured both my birth parents had as well, if I ever hoped to "fill in the blanks" in my life, maybe I'd better give it one more try, so I called Susan.
By the time I called, she already could tell me my mother's maiden name and my father's first two initials...more than I had been able to find out all my life! As we talked about where to go from here, she asked me if I knew about Ancestry.com and DNA Testing. When I mentioned I had done the DNA but was so frustrated with the website, she got real excited and said she was a whiz on the site, so I asked her to check for me. Within about 20 minutes she called back and asked if I realized I had two close family matches, and then went on to tell me that I had two sisters writing to me trying to figure out our close family connection.
I was shocked -It was an absolute miracle, just that easy - after all these years. No way! Susan told me she wasn’t going to wait to connect through Ancestry messaging, and asked if she could call Glenna in Arkansas directly. Then she asked if I have any legal documents.
I had never seen my adoption papers; in fact, the only real link I had was my ankle bracelet from the hospital that had long since disappeared. Oddly enough, my mother passed on in 2014, and in her things was a receipt paying for my birth from the hospital, so I faxed it to Susan...and waited on pins and needles. She called back in about 30 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity to me! I think it was a good thing that someone "official" talked to her for the first time, because Glenna did not believe I was her sister, and had I talked to her myself that would have crushed me!
You see, none of my siblings knew about me. Glenna and Liz had been researching our father's family history, and found children and questionable marriages, skeletons in the closet so-to-speak, so Glenna had asked our mother point-blank, if there was any "skeletons in the closet" she should know about. Mom said nope, nobody! It was not until Susan read her all the details from that receipt did she believe it. After hearing from Glenna how many times they moved, had it not been for Ancestry DNA, we may all have still been searching. As a result of talking to Glenna, Susan gave me another huge shock. BOTH my birth parents were still living, and going on 70 years of marriage! My father is 91 and mother is 88, and in reasonably good health! It also found out I have two older brothers, and I am the baby of the family. Susan also found another sister adopted out born in 1950 who is still out there somewhere. So, all this happened in a matter of hours, and by early afternoon, I spoke to my sister, Glenna, myself, getting answers to lifelong questions, and we became fast friends!
I next spoke to my sister, Liz, who is in California, and pretty much takes care of Mom & Dad who live about an hour from her. I also found out that my oldest brother lives near them as well. Thanks to Liz and Glenna being on Facebook, I was able to see pictures of my family right away, and that was amazing! Putting a face to the name I had only seen on paper all these years gave me such closure, yet even now I still can't believe it sometimes! Liz, who is also wonderful, offered to approach Mom & Dad about it over the weekend, and asked them if they would accept a letter from me. Thankfully, that meeting went well. They said there were too many mouths to feed and not enough money, and that I could write to them. At last, I sat down to write the letter I had longed to write for so many years!
You would think that after writing letters to my birth family over and over in my head for so many years, putting them on paper would be simple. It took me two weeks! I knew I wanted to keep it short and sweet, and in no way make them feel threatened, uncomfortable, or upset their life in any way, just bring peace to their souls as well as mine. I included a recent picture of myself, their 5 grandchildren they knew nothing about, and also their 11 great-grandchildren. I also added that it would be wonderful to meet them, but if not, this was enough...more than I ever expected!
To my delight, they loved my letter and said they would like to talk to me on the phone. I must admit, it took me about a week to make the call. I was more than a little nervous, but I told myself, "You can actually talk to her, after 61 years. You will actually hear your mother's voice, what a gift you have been given....just do it!" So, I took a deep breath and dialed the number. My mother's sweet voice said, "Hello", and we talked for about 15 minutes...like we'd known each other forever. She gave the phone to Dad, and he welcomed me to the family! They couldn't have been more loving and kind to me...I hung up the phone and just bawled my eyes out.
My sisters and I, after a couple weeks of talking, emailing, and messaging, decided we needed to meet each other. Since Liz was going to visit Glenna in Arkansas for 3 weeks in October, she made arrangements for them to fly into Tucson on October 26th, and stay for 3 days. It was wonderful AND they were wonderful! I can't imagine life without them now, and it was hard to let them go! We talked about health problems, and It made me feel so much more "comfortable in my own skin" to know that I wasn't the lone ranger anymore, such a peaceful feeling!
After Liz got back home and told Mom & Dad about the trip and showed them the pictures, she called to tell me that they were ready to meet. I couldn't believe it! My reunion journey, so far, had been so much more than I ever dreamed of, that to actually meet my parents would be the icing on the cake! Liz offered to let us stay with her and her husband, and so my husband and I and our youngest daughter, flew to California on December 2nd. Liz and her husband picked us up, and we went straight to Mom & Dad's apartment. I was shaking, but instantly I was put at ease by my father, with a big smile, and a long-awaited hug! Then I met and hugged my mother! I could tell instantly that we were "kindred spirits", and I AM my mother! I secretly always felt it in my heart. I have always had a love for music, and have sung in church when I was younger, still sing alto in the choir, and I learned that day where I got my love of music from. My father was an entertainer, a singing cowboy, he sang to me, and my mother sang too, and my voice sounds a lot like hers I think. As an added bonus, my oldest brother was there too. He also sings and plays guitar, and was very kind. We took lots of pictures, and a video of Mom & Dad singing together, which I will forever cherish, and my brother singing as well, went to lunch and then back to the apartment. We spent a lovely 2 days with Liz and her family, and all too quickly it was time to go home. On our way to the airport, we stopped in to see Mom & Dad one last time. We gave each other one last hug, and as my father hugged me, he kissed my cheek and told me he was so glad this had happened and I had found them. So am I Dad...so am I!
I have one more brother to meet who lives in Arkansas near Glenna. We have plans to meet Liz and possibly our parents in Arkansas in October...can't wait! I don't know how come this miracle has happened in my life at this time, but I am SO grateful! I've been twice blessed with a wonderful family, and now sisters...I always wanted sisters! Thank you God!