Wednesday, March 30, 2011

her name is susan.

i have to change the name of this blog, i think. she has a name now and it is susan. susan. my birthmother's name is susan. i should back up... so i am sitting with a student (the one and only student who knows i am in the middle of a reunion search) and my phone rings. "unknown" is the caller. unknown=Julie the Social Worker, this i have come to know. so, i turn to my precious student and i say, "i am so sorry, i know that i never take phone calls at work, but this one is going to be important. do you mind if i step out for a minute?" of course she didn't mind, why would she mind? so i answer my phone and Julie the Social Worker informs me that she has in her possession a letter from the woman who gave birth to me. giggling a little as she says it, she offers to mail it to me and before she can offer the alternative, i rudely interrupt and say, "no, that's ok, i'll come and pick it up." a lot back-and-forth chatter occurs, the details of which are still lingering somewhere above my spaced-out brain in the funky funky atmosphere and some kind of Julie-will-call-my-mother-to-discuss-what-we-all-do-next conclusion occurs. i do recall that it was in this first conversation that Julie informed me that my birthmother and i live in the same town. to which i replied, "i KNEW it!" significantly louder than one should in a middle school. especially if one is supposed to be an adult. so my brain is morphing into yogurt and i can no longer feel my feet. or my legs or arms, for that matter. but i have to go back to work. focus. julie calls back a few minutes later and says, "i talked to Susan...." and i, being the rude rude interrupter i am on this day, cut her off. "Her name is Susan?" julie very apologetically says something about, oh didn't i tell you that yet.... blah blah blah but i don't know what she said because my mind was stuck on susan. susan. susan. susan. as it turns out, Susan seems to think that 35 years is a long enough wait just as i do, and is not messing around with a bunch of letters and emails and junk. i am going to meet her on monday, april 4, at 4:30 in the afternoon. i am sure i'll be back here many times before then to freak out in cyberspace while i maintain perfect composure in "for real" life.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


for those of you (two) who read this blog and wonder with more fervor than is probably healthy, i would like to update you by telling you that there is no update to be offered. things are as they were the last time i posted on this wall. i am still coasting on words like "thrilled" and "i know i will want to meet her" and such. so don't go worrying your precious little heads that i am leaving you out of the information loop. there is no loop. you have to be okay with that. i am still okay, you have to be okay. don't think that the "oh, no, she is going to change her mind" or "she was shocked and delighted and now she is over it" worries haven't started to creep in once in a while, but this is all part of the waiting process that we are all so good at. i found out from another adopted friend yesterday that she completed the search process a couple of years ago. she said that she had contact but then, in her words, chickened out, before the face-to-face meeting. i was stunned by this! i can't imagine coming this far and then not feeling absolutely compelled to go through with the actual meeting. i hope that doesn't happen to me! even more, i hope that doesn't happen to my mother! ok, back to work, and back to waiting...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 prob'ly think this blog is about you...

the possibility of reunion is making me more vain than i ever imagined being. on a typical day, i do enjoy a good make-up job and a nice hair styling tool, but these things that are going through my head now are a whole new game. thinking about that moment of first sight is the thing that keeps me up at night and part of the reason for this is that i am incredibly distracted by thoughts about how i can make that moment as pleasant as possible. it's definitely more vanity than i ever wanted to exhibit, but truth is truth and i am just going to have to keep telling it. she is the person who made me, after all. i am a reflection of her in a very real way; who would want to disappoint? not me.

so, for that moment when the source of my genetic code first lays eyes on her product, i want to tan my skin, whiten my teeth, color my hair and... well.... if we are being completely honest, sanitize my biography. only some of these things are plausible and only a couple of them will actually happen. and there is that part of me-- which is usually almost all of me-- that just hates myself for all of this, but i can't help it. i don't want to be a disappointment. especially now that i know there are no other children to even the balance, i just want to be acceptable and maybe even pleasing.

my conclusion: birthfamily reunions are flashbacks to middle school, with a twist. i hope my twist comes with a lemon drop martini.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


i am driving home from adoption club last night, and as i am about to take a left turn toward my house, i have this eerie thought--for the first time ever-- about potential siblings. i haven't given the sibling idea much thought in the past, for obvious reasons, but after some discussion about sibling drama with reunited adoptees i experienced this horrifying thought.... what if there are other kids and i am jealous of them? followed by: what if i find my mother and then i just want her all to myself? Yuck!! who wants to think about shit like that?? not me! but i did and it freaked me out. i started thinking about whether or not it would be possible to keep my relationship with her completely separate from the fact of the other childrens' existence. then i thought about the possibility that i would like them and wish i could be their real sister... but that seemed unlikely. i am much better at friendship than that whole "sibling" thing. it was weird. it was creepy. i felt like a toddler. but it was real, so i had to go with it for a bit. i don't generally experience a lot of jealousy in my life, but as we have maintained throughout this process, this is a whole new world for me. weird and seemingly inappropriate feelings and responses are par for the course as i delve into mystery reunion land. so as i turned left onto 25th ave. s., i had to give myself time to think about the possibility that i would not want to share. i had always believed that the notion of siblings was a positive one, but it wasn't feeling so positive.

imagine my sheer delight when julie the social worker said, "She wanted me to tell you that she is married, but she has not had any more children."

big grin. it's just me.

Monday, March 14, 2011

zoom zoom again...

holy moly!! i was about to sit down to this blog to tell you all about how much fun i had at adoption club tonight. i went, it was amazing. i got to meet a birthmother who is very cool and very sweet and whose story was so insighful for me.... just an all-around good thing. that is what i was going to tell you about. then as i was settling in to my spot on the couch with my lapdesk and teensy computer, my phone rang.

hi, shelly, this is julie.
hi julie.
guess who i just got off the phone with...
ummm... could it be a woman who gave birth to me?
it very well could be the woman who gave birth to you!

so, i have to blaze right past the "adoption cult is really cool" blog post and leap directly into the "Oh my gawd my mother is thrilled that i found her!!" blog post.

thrilled. that is the word that Julie used. thrilled. not even terrified or apprehensive or worried or conflicted or any of those other things, (although i am sure there is a great deal of that stuff going on too) but thrilled. she said that she cried and laughed when she heard the letter that i wrote. cried AND laughed! perfect. she already thinks i am funny! she said that she has thought about searching for me so many times and that she is so excited that i searched for her. she also told Julie this wonderful little tidbit: one of her colleagues told her one day that they had seen a woman who looked JUST like her and My birthmother said, "i was so excited that i wanted to stake out the place and see if i could see her too!" how fun is that!?

here are the other things i learned tonight:
my grandmother and my mother are both avid readers and also have built their own personal libraries. she thinks about me all the time. she is married. she has had no other children. (hello, relief of that whole not-bringing-anything-to-the-table anxiety.) she was very happy to know that i knew she had named me Julie, and yes, it did give her a moment of pause when Julie the social worker introduced herself by name. she KNOWS that she will want to meet me one day.

so, now i have to try to go to sleep and plan for a normal work week starting tomorrow morning. wtf. how the hell am i going to do that??

this is so freaking cool! i am soooooooo excited! now all of that totally stifled energy is seeping out of my pores because the answer to the ever-lingering question has been answered. the answer is yes. she wants to meet me.

oh and she also said about her only daughter, "she obviously loves words, she's a beautiful writer." :)

"oh, it's that damn telemarketer again!"

i seriously believe that my birthmother is never going to answer the phone. let me tell you why... and it isn't just because i know that i would never answer, but that is part of it...

think of the reasons people don't answer the phone. telemarketers. the call shows up on the callerid as "unknown" with no digits. that is already suspect. the caller, being a social worker who is about to smash your world apart, is never going to leave a message> just like a telemarketer. here's what i know about that. the more "unknown" calls, the more irritated people become. and more resolute in their mission to ignore. my relationship with my birthmother is going to be a long pattern of phone harrassment, by proxy.

seriously, everyone knows that once you begin to ignore and despise a mystery number, you don't suddenly change your mind about it and check it out. nope. and if she has ever had an issue with a creditor in her life, then i am totally screwed. having bad credit is how i learned to never answer the phone in the first place.

ring ring ring

a really funny thing happened this morning. really funny. and the more i think about it, the funnier it is...

so i woke up to a missed call from Julie the Social Worker. (missed because i was sleeping) the message said that she wanted to talk to me about some updates on my search. after a bit of phone-tagging i finally got Julie the Social Worker on the phone. here is how the conversation played out:

JtSW: Well, as you know, we believe we have located the correct person, and have a phone number for her.

Me: Yep.

JtSW: I just wanted to let you know how the search is going...

Me: Yep.

JtSW: Well, i have tried calling several times, but no one is answering the phone.

Me: Ok.

JtSW: i have called in the morning, daytime, at night, on the weekends. i just can't get anyone to answer.

Me: Oh, well that is genetic then. i don't answer the phone either.

JtSW: Hahaha

Me: For real, i get in so much trouble for it! i am more of a texting and facebook kind of person. it's genetic. she might never answer your calls.

then there was a bunch of blah blah blah and then we hung up. and then i started to think about the dirty dirty irony of the fact that my birthmother is not taking my calls and i started laughing really hard. it's classic. it's karma. my friends, some of you who may be reading this, are always on my case, my parents get just Pissed at me for not answering the phone...

karma. and DNA. that is what this is.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

so much going on...

i am quietly and patiently waiting. waiting. waiting. and this is not an easy task since there are adoption stories all around me these days. and not just adoption stories, but adoption reunion stories. there was an article in my local newspaper yesterday about a woman who was adopted as a baby, reunited with her birth mother and learned that she has a 4-year-old half-brother who the birthmother is also not-so-able to care for, so the reunited adoptee is about to adopt her own half-brother. now, granted, none of us have major mommy fantasies that we are the product of a person whose ability for self-care or degree of mental illness is such that she has children removed from her home in 4 different decades, but it did make me stop and think... hmmm.... i could adopt a 4-year-old. and we'd be related.
i also spent some time online in the last few days researching some laws about foster care (for reasons that shall be discussed at a later date, don't get ahead of me on this, lovely readers) and of course there is no researching foster care without seeing a damn lot of adoption material. then there was an article in the advocate that was about a 10-year legal battle that finally ended with a french lesbian adopting a child. oh, and one of my favorite colleagues informed me yesterday that he is also an adoptee... did not know that....
adoption adoption, everywhere....
ok. back to waiting. waiting. waiting.
pssst.... Julie, i am being a very good little waiter. but i am sort of wondering if you tried to call my mother today.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

new social worker

over the last couple of weeks, a few of my friends have asked if there has been any news on the reunion front. and by "a few of my friends" i mean, pretty much all of the friends who know about the search. i think some of them spend more time thinking about this than i do. it's adorable. anyway, the answer was "no" until yesterday. as i was walking through the hallway and toward the exit at school yesterday, my phone rang and it was cindy. cindy informed me that, due to limitations in her availability, she is going to transfer my case to Julie. she said, "as i told you before, i have some phone numbers for your birthmom, and because of this i think that your case could move very quickly. i don't want to slow it down for any reason."

i said, "ok."

so she gave me Julie's office phone number. she told me that she would send my file to Julie on Tuesday. then she said that Julie usually works on searches on Tuesday's but that she might work on it throughout the week.

i said, "ok."

i guess we'll wait to hear from Julie.