Sunday, October 03, 2010

I come from strong women

Once upon a time in the late 1940s there were two families.

One family, a husband and wife, were childless. Unable to have babies of their own.

The other family had a husband with tuberculosis who was living at a sanitarium for his health, two toddlers having to live with relatives in order to keep them cared for, and a hard-working wife working as a nurse and trying to keep her family together as best she could under the dire financial circumstances she was in.

Oh. And she was pregnant.

An extremely tough situation. Ill husband. Living with a mean-spirited mother. Unable to even care for the two small children she already had. Tough pregnancy. Still having to work. Back up against a wall.

They made the decision to allow their baby to be adopted by the childless couple, who they knew and worked with.

This was during a time when open adoptions were not done. Often children grew up not even knowing they were adopted. Yet these two couples were brave. They had to trust each other.

The baby was my mother.


My mom grew up knowing she was adopted. When she was married she found out more about the unique circumstances surrounding her adoption. She was offered the opportunity to meet her birth mother, but due to the various family dynamics and so on, she didn't do it.

Over the years my mom kept thinking about the few details she knew. A last name. Names of her two siblings. General areas where they might live. Remember when the library had a bunch of phone books from all over the country? Yeah. Sometimes she would look up the names she knew to see if she could find her sister or brother.

This spring she got onto and did a little casual digging, which turned up a jackpot of information. Her birth mother Emily passed away several years ago. The obituary listed not only my mom's two full siblings, but six *more* half siblings, plus step-siblings!

Through the winding road of the wonderful world of google and facebook, my mom did her research, and has been in contact with several of her siblings for awhile now. Her mother spoke of my mom often as a part of their family life, so all of the siblings knew about her. My grandparents had sent photos of my mom as she was growing up, so they were familiar with those and compared themselves to her and wondered what she was like.

It has been really interesting to learn more about my mom's birth mother and their life. I am so proud of the two strong women that my grandmothers were. To dare to make an open adoption work in a time when it just was not! For my mom's birth mother to make such a tough choice in the face of extreme! For her to hand pick a couple that she knew to be good people that she could trust to take good care of her! I admire these couples so much.

I've written about my Gram several times. She was such a wonderful grandmother. I still miss her so much. How thankful I am that my mom made her way to the arms that she did. And I'm thankful to her birth mom Emily for choosing well.

We are quite pleased to have a DVD of a serious of interviews with Emily from a few years before she died. She was a spirited lady who loved adventure. I am enjoying getting to know her a bit. What a great thing that one of my mom's sisters could send us a copy of the recording. Each sibling that she has been in touch with has been so welcoming and happy to get to know her. It has been a very positive experience so far.

It is really amazing to think of all the twists and turns that happen in life to get us to where we end up. Isn't it?

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