The telephone rang out early one morning, very early, too early for me, in fact. My sister was calling me. She said she had just gotten a call from someone I might like to meet. She told me my son from my first marriage, which disintegrated in divorce, had contacted her and would like to meet the family.
My son was a victim of a messy divorce and an even messier Mother. After his Mother and I split she abandoned him at her Mother’s, and he was made a ward of the state. He lived in a couple of foster homes for about a year before a strong, Dutch farming family adopted him. His new family lived in the same general area I was born in.
Thank goodness for that phone call. Of course, I wanted to see him. I wanted to bring things back together. I needed to make amends for my own stupidity and negligence. I looked forward to any degree of closure I might be rewarded with. Earlier in my life I had exhausted all avenues of trying to find out where he was. When a child is adopted the blood parents simply have no more recourse; especially the Father. I could get absolutely no information from anyone. Even when I asked if I could at least be told if he was still alive or not I was told, “We can’t tell you anything.”
I had no choice but to sit and wait. Perhaps something would happen. Maybe he will call. Maybe it will be like on TV, and he will search and search until he finds me. Well, fortunately for me, it was like on TV. My son did search and search until he found me. However, he didn’t start his search until he was 21 years old; that’s when his adoptive parents gave him details of his past life.
No matter how much he asked or pleaded, his new parents would not tell him anything. From a young age, he had doubts of his bloodline relation to his new family. He was a swarthy complected, dark-haired boy with a strong streak of American Indian running through him. His new family was all fair skinned, blond haired, Pennsylvania Dutch.
In his early teens, when he finally asked about his relationship to his new family, he was told outright that he was adopted. That was the only information he would get though. Nobody would even tell him what agency he was adopted from. He kept at them until finally, when he turned 21, they told him all they knew.
He went to the adoption agency, got the information he needed, found a phone book and called everyone with his real Father’s last name, mine. The first one he came to, was my sister. We met, right there at my sister’s home, and it was clear; this was my son. He was the spitting image of his old man. Even in mannerisms we copied one another. He even had the same haircut!
There was a lot of hugging, back slapping, arm pumping and even some crying going on that day. For the next several days, as we took him through the entire family, there was even more emotion. The prodigal son was home and we laid out the fatted calf for him.
Children are not always adopted out because their parents misused or abused them. It’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes circumstances play against everyone. I like to think of my son as being a victim of circumstance. Everyone in my family knows how hard I searched for him; some of them even helped me in my quest. I was just never given one bit of information. We should have been reunited much, much earlier than we were, but because of many different people’s reservations and hesitations, Father and Son were kept apart.
Fortunately, I had the experience of losing a son early in life, then being able to meet up with him again later on. I would never stop my adopted child from searching earnestly for their biological parents. In fact, I would probably help them; I would promote the search. We will never know what we will find until we find it. The curiosity and the wonder in a child’s mind can be the crippler. Whatever the circumstances were when the child was put up for adoption may have been remedied by now. Anything can happen.
Everybody has a right to know who he or she is. No one should have to go through life thinking they are someone, when in deed they are someone else. Both on an individual and a professional, organizational basis, information must be made available to all interested parties regarding adopted children. Never refuse the information that may save your child’s sanity. You never know, it may even make you feel good about yourself.