I was put up for adoption soon after my natural mother gave birth to me when she was seventeen.
My adoption was successful and I’m incredibly lucky to have enjoyed a good life. I am happy. I truly believe she did the right thing for me, and hope it was right for her too.
I’ve thought about trying to find her on and off for years, but always decided against it. Until now.
Yesterday I sent this tweet at 6.15am. One day later it had been viewed half a million times. (Thank God I spelled everything right for once).
Long Lost Family
I don’t usually watch this show because it makes me ugly cry, but my oldest school friend messaged to say that Carol from our year was going to be on.
It was a very happy reunion. I was delighted to see Carol and her birth mother look into each other’s faces and find parts of themselves there.
But that night I couldn’t sleep. My thoughts strayed to a question which has always lurked in the back of my head: Why hasn’t anyone ever searched for me?
It’s a question with many possible answers, but if I don’t try to find out the truth, it will continue to lurk, conjuring its own dark and sinister answers for me. And I don’t want that anymore.
The following morning, blurry-eyed, I tapped out the tweet, took a deep breath and pressed send before giving myself chance to delete. I’ve had many kind messages saying I’m courageous. I’m not. I’m terrified. I rang my lovely mum who talked me down from the ceiling. She’s always been curious about my birth mother and will support whatever decision I make. (Told you I was lucky).
An Impending Birthday
My birthday is fast approaching and whilst I love the celebration and the it’s all about me-ness of my special day (what wife and mother doesn’t need one day when they’re the focus?) I still always wake with a deep sense of sadness.
The knowledge that someone experienced the trauma of giving birth to an unwanted baby, then the physical and emotional separation from a child they’d carried, haunts me. I always think of my natural mother on my birthday and hope she’s OK. It would be nice to be sure she was.
Has our generation ever been more aware of our mortality? Yesterday the UK reached the staggering figure of 100,000 deaths from Covid 19.
My family suffered with the virus over Christmas and I was so ill I was monitored by our local Covid team every day for the best part of a month. They even called on Christmas day. That kind of sickness, along with the harrowing reports from around the globe makes everything seem precarious.
There’s always a reason to put things off. But life is more fragile than I cared to admit, and so the time for action has come.
I’ve always been an optimist. I’m one of those irritating people who are naturally chirpy unless something specific happens to bring them down.
My life hasn’t been without its challenges. Like everyone, I’ve faced some extreme and difficult experiences in my fifty years; but my husband and I have our twentieth wedding anniversary this year, my parents and step-parents are all thriving (as far as octogenarians can in current circumstances) and I have two hard-won, much-loved, firecracker daughters. I am working towards my dream of becoming a published author … so am I mad to potentially destabilise this life I’ve worked hard to build? Possibly.
Because there’s no shying away from the fact that I’m throwing a curveball at my equilibrium.
The next step for me is to approach my local authority to ask for my files. I will then have the preliminary meeting with a social worker before my birth certificate is released to me.
Who knows what will happen then? The notes may reveal something that makes me stop my search. It’s not unlikely that, if I do find my birth mother, she won’t want any contact. That rejection will cut, but I must be prepared for it. It’s also possible there’s a letter in my file asking me to get in touch.
It could be that my birth parents have died, and I’ve waited too long to put the pebble in the snowball.
That’s how it feels – like I’ve put a little stone into compacted snow, and sent it rolling down a slope.
My job now is to make sure it doesn’t get out of control. Because there was once a girl, only a year older than my eldest daughter is now, who was probably very scared as she went through a pregnancy, birth and separation that will have shaped her life in ways I don’t yet know.
She was very brave, and I am grateful to her. I’ve started this journey in the hope I will be able to tell her that one day.