My Adoption Story (very long)

I was adopted from a very early age…about 5 months. Given up around 4 months and handed over to my new parents at 5 months. I even went to meet my biological family. Boy was that a trip. I was in massage school at the time when I decided to go find out where I came from. I did not have any problems with my current family, but I was just curious. If anything, I just wanted to know if I had any medical concerns in the family that I’d have to be mindful of like diabetes or cancer or something like that. Well I knew the agency I was adopted through so I called them up and met with my agent. Jason was a wonderful support through all this. Just making the decision to actively look was scary to me!

I met the agent. She was very nice and knew a bit about my history. She was fairly young, so I’m assuming she read up on me when I called. She collected the medical history and some of the family history and anything else that she could find about my natural family and handed it over. It was a long history and not a very happy one from the information she gave me. My mother Lita had died of unknown causes when I was 11 years old (I have a weird story about that, but I’ll tell it later). She had a lot of medical problems from kidney infections to migraines. I apparently inherited the migraines. She also suffered from depression. I don’t have that at least. My birth father Bob was still alive and in good health. No other history about either side of my natural family was given. The information also explained that my mother’s sister and her mother were both considered for adopting me, but that fell through. I didn’t know any more than that. I also found out that I was ½ Russian, ¼ Greek, and ¼ Italian. The agent then asked if I was interested in meeting anyone if they wanted to be found. Sure, why not. I’m interested. This way I get to know not only my medical history but also my roots.

Well, two weeks later, I got a call from the agent. It seemed there was already a request from two of my biological family members to find me; my biological cousin Helen, on my mother’s side, and my maternal, biological grandmother Bessie. Apparently they are not allowed to look for me. If it’s in the records that the biological family wants to be found, then the information is there when the adopted child is 18 and wants to look themselves. Only I, as the adopted child, has the right to search for them if I so choose. I got the phone numbers, but the agent wanted to meet with me first to discuss what to expect when meeting a biological family. We went over there again. First she said that meeting a biological family can stir up some rather unexpected emotions. It can seriously effect both me as the adopted child and them as the family that gave me up. Without knowing the circumstances surrounding the adoption, some things may become very uncomfortable. I need to be sure as to why I’m doing this and to try not to get too attached. She told me that Bessie was one of the people searching for me. However, she apparently did not get to see me leave and did not know that my name was changed. Helen also wanted to find me. She was my age and had been wanting to know about me from the beginning. She was too young to really understand what was going on at the time I was adopted, but as soon as she was old enough, she put in a request to find me. She is only one year older than me. The agent said if I were to meet Bessie, expect it to be difficult for her. She may be emotional. She’s a bit confused as to what happened, so I may be in for a rough ride. I decided to meet my cousin first.

I gave her a call. Helen seemed very nice. She also seemed to be just as curious about me. She also thought it was a good idea to tell me what she imagined I looked like and that included everything from height, to eye color to weight to whether I looked more like my birth mother or birth father. Helen was thinking I looked like my birth mother. I had no idea since I never saw what either of them looked like. I was a little annoyed that she already thought she had a picture of who I was, and it wasn’t what she pictured. I was afraid I’d disappoint her, but I figured either way, she was just excited about meeting me. I met her in a public place and had lunch. Helen was about my height, similar build. Thinner than me. She had an accent. I think she grew up in either Brooklyn or Queens. I am thinking Brooklyn (I forgot since it’s been a while since we talked). I’d have grown up in Queens had I not been adopted. I found out that my birth mother Lita had a sister (that would be her mother) who died of a liver failure. Lita also had two brothers. One died of colon cancer and the other is a Jehovah’s witness and a born again Christian living off his mother with no job (I was sensing she was a little bitter about that one). Helen’s father was abusive, and her brother is just mean, so she refused to let me meet either of them. I respect that. I don’t need to meet everyone. She didn’t seem to know why Lita died, but she was close to her and was very sad about It. She also was very bitter about my getting adopted out. It was apparent that she blamed my Bob for my adoption. She felt that he forced Lita into giving me up because he didn’t want me or for my mother to be happy.

She also told me her grandmother would like to meet me. I agreed to. I did tell her that I wanted her there. I was going to bring Jason since meeting Bessie might be hard on the both of us. I collected a picture of me to give to her so she could have something to have. I knew that she was surprised by my getting adopted, and I thought she’d like to have a picture. We went to meet her. She was in Brooklyn in a small apartment. We ran the bell and my born again Christian uncle opened the door. He seemed very unaffected about meeting me. Not a bother. I went there to meet my biological grandmother, not him. Though, it was a slight bit surprising just how much he didn’t care, considering I was his biological niece. Well, Bessie was sitting in a chair. Totally happy to see me. We went to the kitchen to sit and talk. I found out she was a gypsy psychic and had a lot to say about Helen’s boyfriend. LOL it wasn’t good either. Gotta love the psychics! Helen didn’t believe her, but I found out later on that Bessie’s premonitions were right. Anyhoo, I showed her my photo album. That was hilarious. Almost every picture of me she flipped through she’d say with a bit of disgust, “She looks like Bob! She looks like Bob!” Helen was getting a bit irritated at this. I just found it funny. I had no idea who I looked like. She also really didn’t like Bob. She too blamed him for my adoption. They then pulled out some pictures of my birth parents. I did look like Bob! LOL I looked nothing like Lita. Though they did tell me, when I was born, I looked much more like Lita. They did not have any pictures of me when I was a baby, however. Bill had them.

Bessie went on to tell me about Lita’s death. She said she called up her close family members to say goodbye the day before she passed. She figured, being a gypsy herself, that this was something Lita just knew and wanted her family to feel comforted. She told everyone to take care of themselves and not to worry about her…everything was going to be fine. Then she said goodbye. Bessie seemed to know that Lita was unhappy but did not know why. She also seemed to know that Lita wasn’t well either. That’s pretty much all I got from her on that subject. That and that she felt Bob wasn’t taking good care of her and forced her to give me up.

Later on, Helen thought it was only right that I have Lita’s things. I got her wedding album, some photos, and whatever jewelry they could get. Apparently her engagement ring was stolen during a move so that was not able to be found. I then told Helen that I’d be interested in meeting Bob. I knew she didn’t like him, but she was the only person that had any clue how to find him. She had not spoken to him in a long time but knew a way to get in touch with him. Helen said she understood that I just wanted to know for myself and as his natural daughter, I had a right to talk to him. She found his number and gave it to me and told me I’m on my own with this.

I called him up and introduced myself. He seemed quite happy to talk to me. We discussed where we lived at the present time. Well, I was living in my maternal grandmother’s (adoptive) house while she moved to Florida. I had been there for about 5 years. Well, Bob was living right around the corner from me the entire time until about 2 months before I called him. He had been remarried to a woman who had two daughters from another marriage and then recently divorced her. He inherited her daughters. That was amazing. I probably bumped in to him many times either grocery shopping or walking my dogs. Neither of us would have ever known! Well he said he’ll be visiting her in a few days and had thought stopping by might be a good idea. How weird was that!?

A few days, like he said, he stopped by. He definitely had a lot of facial similarities to me. We sat and talked a bit. One question I had for him was if I had any brothers or sisters. He said I was the last in the bloodline. He and Lita never had another child. His younger sister, who had alzheimer’s, had a son who died of AIDS. None of his other siblings had any children. Lita’s sister had two kids (I met one of them, Helen). I asked him about my baby pictures. He said he was hoping I had some of mine since the ones he had all got ruined in a flood and he’d been wanting at least something to remember me by. I did not have any pictures of me when I was a baby either, unfortunately, not even from my adopted parents. My mother had all those. I showed him the medical history I had of them that the agency gave to me. He said that was not completely correct. She never had a problem with her kidneys, but the migraines were a huge problem and she definitely was depressed. She also suffered from a pain medication addiction as did my biological aunt. He also mentioned that my biological aunt had some schizophrenia as did Lita. He believed that was caused from the pain killers they were addicted to. Lita also suffered from anorexia and seizures. He mentioned that she tried to kill her self a couple of times which no one believed him. He caught her each time she tried. She would attempt overdosing with alcohol from what I remember him saying. He’d stop her. He didn’t know if the migraines caused the seizures or the pain killers. But she was definitely suffering. The hospital wouldn’t give her meds for her seizures until she got off the pain killers.

When they got pregnant with me, he said he was concerned. He’d always wanted a daughter, but in the state of health she was in and the fact that Bessie was rather nasty to him Lita (called her names and blamed her for things…I don’t remember if there was any physical abuse involved), he was not sure I’d be brought up in a good home. He admitted to bringing up adoption to Lita, but it was not only his decision. That’s why they kept me for as long as they did. He said he decided to bring it up one day when I was not eating and Lita was sick. He was overwhelmed and shook me. Not hard but it scared him to think that he would not be able to handle me and his sick wife and thought that adoption might be the best thing. He did decide to leave it up to Lita though. They thought about giving me to Lita’s sister, but since her husband was so abusive to the whole family, that I’d be even worse off with them. They even considered Bessie, but he was concerned how she’s treat me considering how much she hated him and mistreated Lita. Lita eventually felt that she would not be able to give me the best life either with her migraines and other health problems and told Bob she wanted to give me up too. They made the decision together. They also decided not to tell Bessie. Bob seemed to be concerned how’d she react to that and they didn’t need the extra pain. So they found an agency and found a couple that had another child. He was hoping that I’d be brought up in the suburbs in a family and sibling. Well, he got half his wish. The family that raised me had an older son but they lived in the city. Either way, he was reassured that was brought up in a good home even though my adoptive parents divorced. It was obvious they loved me and treated me well. Some time after that Lita, was still not doing well. Her anorexia was getting worse and she was loosing her mental health.

He put her into a mental home till she got better. That didn’t go too well with the family. I’m not even sure how much they knew what really happened there. She started to get worse. While she was in there told the doctors that Bob would not let her have another child. He told me she never asked for one. He wouldn’t have thought it was a good idea, but he had not known that’s how she felt until the doctors told him. She did eventually stop saying things like that and started to react better to the help she was getting and was released. He was working and was taking care of her the best way he could. She started seizing more. He had to leave his job sometimes to go pick her up. Sometime when I was about 11 years old, she was standing on a corner of a street looking to cross the road. A truck with these wooden beams came around the corner and one of the wooden beams fell off and hit Lita in the head. She went to the hospital. She apparently was ok but was left with more migraine-like pain which only worsened her depression. With her seizures, migraine pain, and overall health not doing well, the hospital could not fix her problems. Though she was there for a while. Meanwhile, he admitted that while she was in the hospital, he had found another woman. This woman had two daughters of her own from a previous marriage. She was not really a looker but her life was a mess and her two daughters looked up to Bob as someone they could trust. Lita knew about all this and apparently gave her blessing. I don’t know how much of that is true, but if she was that depressed, then I suppose Lita had given up anyhow at that point and may have given Bob her blessing on the affair. She had come home at one point and Bob did stay with her and took care of her while she was unwell.

He then got into Lita’s death. All he knew was one morning, he woke up to find her lying dead next to him. She had obviously been dead for some time since the blood already pooled to her back. He looked to find any pills or any evidence to support his theory that she had finally managed to kill herself without him stopping her. He couldn’t find any clue. I went ahead and mentioned what Bessie told me about her calling around the night before. I told him what she said. That was so uncomfortable but I felt since he didn’t know and the family did not feel the need to tell him anything, I thought I should. I was an outsider, and I probably shouldn’t have stuck my nose there, but I still felt he should know what his wife was doing the night before she passed away. He decided at that point that his fears were met. She did find a way to kill herself. How would someone know they were going to die unless they planned it? If she wasn’t planning on killing herself, why wouldn’t have she told him. She knew he’d have tried to stop her, and she didn’t want that. I realized I probably shouldn’t have said anything, but the look of closure on his face and the sound of realization on his voice made it all worth it.

Well, back to his affair. He decided to marry the woman he was cheating with. Things were not going so well. He realized it was a rebound relationship. He was in a way using her for her daughters. He said he always wanted to have a daughter which is why the decision to give me up did not come easy to him. The woman he married was mean to her daughters. Treated them like slaves until he was around. He sent them to school and would do whatever he could for them. Eventually he had enough and said he was leaving. The daughters asked to go with him and the woman was more than happy to give them away. In fact as soon as they were out, she claimed herself as an independent on her tax forms. Bob even thought that was a bad idea if she was at all concerned with saving money. He took me to meet his ex-wife. Boy, she’s just an odd woman. Apparently her house is a mess. She owns a few cats and never cleans up after them. Bob would have to share the bed with cat poop and hair balls. He said she only had one bathroom and the new tub had never been unwrapped after he left. EWW. GROSS! Well either way, he was free of her and gained her daughters. He is now living with one of them who also has a husband of her own and three kids. The other one is living her dream of living on her own and owning a horse farm.

He invited Jason and I to go meet the rest of his family out where he lives. He was taking care of one step-daughter Penelope, her husband, her three kids, and two of his brothers. I also had another uncle that died of polycythemia vera, an aunt with adolescent Alzheimer’s and another one, which Bob thought I looked more like, who was doing ok and apparently liked to sing before she retired. I forgot to mention while were talking at my house, he had mentioned that his younger sister (the one with the Alzheimer’s), had a son who died of AIDS he had gotten from a drug needle. I was the last of his blood line. I met both the daughters and their families. One of my bio-uncles has diabetes and the other was walking around with a breathing apparatus. I don’t know if it was from asbestos or smoking. They seemed happy to see me but did not have a lot of energy to express anything more than a smile. I talked a little with the diabetic uncle. He was quiet but he’d talk. His step-daughter’s husband was not as happy to see me there. He was a bit protective of the family doe. They weren’t rich or anything, but according to Bob, her husband was afraid I was going to get some of the money that he wanted. Bob felt like he was being used for his money by his son-in-law, but he loved his daughter and was going to put up with it as long as he could. He wasn’t about to give him more than he deserved. I was not there for anything other than to meet the family and find out more about where I came from. The husband had nothing to worry about. I didn’t get along well with his step-daughters.

We had a great time at their barbeque. Jason played football with the kids. I even joined in briefly. I also got to talk with the family. Some guy dropped in on the fun and we all had to scatter while someone called the cops. This guy had been dropping in on barbeques before with the same story about his wife kicking him out and so one. The police said he’s only been a menace in the past but has not done any harm so far. They got him to leave. That was certainly entertaining. Well, the night came and it was time to leave. Jason and I collected whatever phone numbers and emails we could and headed home.

I had talked to Bob a few times after that on the phone as well as his older step-daughter online. Bob eventually told me he was starting to regret some of his decisions and seemed to pull away from me. I let it go. I was just happy to have met him. If talking to me was making him uncomfortable, then I was certainly not going to force the issue. I did however one time talk to his step-daughter who did tell me she was hoping he would keep up some friendship with me. She told me she hadn’t seem him so happy until he met me. She was hoping to keep him that way. Unfortunately for her, it just wasn’t meant to be.

I kept up some conversation with Helen after that as well. She would tell me how Bessie was doing and how she’s doing. She even went to my graduation from the massage school. It was nice and I think my family was happy meeting her. However, things were starting to go downhill. Our conversations were very random and she started to act very unusual. I don’t know if it was drugs or depression or something, but she started to act a bit cold to me. I just figured I’ve worn out my welcome with her so I stayed clear. I did say hi a couple of times after that but only after a few months went by. She started to obsess about Bob and how much she resents him for what he did. I let her rant. She was upset and again it wasn’t my place to defend anyone. My last conversation with me, however, I did find out that Bob’s older sister, the singer, died. I had talked to her briefly through email but she stopped talking. Not for any bad reasons, she was the only one in the family that fully supported Bob and his decisions about me and Lita. I found out that she may have had multiple sclerosis and had died from it. It couldn’t be confirmed since no one but Helen said anything, and she wasn’t too sure if that was true.

I have heard all I needed to hear but I wasn’t about to judge whether what I heard was the truth or not. I just took in what I heard and took everything at face value. I got all the history I could have ever asked for and more. I did get to meet my biological family. I consider myself lucky to be where I’m at now. I had some hard times with the family I was adopted into. No family is without problems. But, over all, I was in a good home. Had I remained with my natural family, I don’t think I’d be as happy as I am now. I would not have met the same people. I may have met some good people along the way, but life would have been much harder for me. I may not have had the same influences and my morals and values may have been totally different from what they are now. I am, however, all the more wiser.

Words of Wisdom: If anyone who was adopted ever wanted to find their birth family, I’d recommend it. But, only do it if you know why and are willing to take in whatever may come your way. If you are the adopted child, just know that some families may be very welcoming to you, but others may not. Don’t go meeting the birth family with expectations other than to collect information that you need for your self. Don’t go looking if you are having some emotional problems in your family wither it be with a spouse, children or parents or any other part of your family. You need their support. It’s easy to get sucked into a new family especially if they are so welcoming and supportive of you. If they seem to fall apart when you are there, don’t take it personally. It’s never easy for a family to meet someone they chose to give up long ago. Resentful feeling come back. Some family members might feel hurt or sad or even confused. Just know that even in the happiest of situations, not everyone may welcome you in as easily as others. Tread lightly. Don’t expect too much and don’t offer more than you need to of your own life. Move slowly if any relationship is going to come out of it. Don’t hide anything from your family. Reassure them that you are still theirs. If your own family is uncomfortable with the idea, try to be mindful of that when and if you make the decision to go meet your birth family.

OH I almost forgot to explain the interesting story behind Lita’s death. When I was about 11 years old. I had a very strange dream. The dream itself wasn’t strange. It was horrible actually, but my reaction to it was what startled me awake. I dreamt my mother got hit by a truck. I did not cry nor did I react to it. I didn’t miss her, nor was I upset. It felt like it was an event I watched. Like a movie. But this was my mother. The woman that raised me. I wasn’t always close to her. But I certainly wouldn’t wish her dead! So why was I not reacting to is. I sat there and thought seriously about what I’d feel if my father or my brother got hit with a truck. That upset me a lot! I felt awful. Guilty even! How was I going to be ok if I’m dreaming my mother dying in a car accident and I don’t even care? When I heard what happened to Lita and that it happened when I was 11 years old, it all made sense to me. I sensed her death. I didn’t know her nor did I know what she looked like. I only knew my own mother. Since I didn’t know Lita but my mind knew it was my birth mother, the image of the only mother I knew came into play. My mind used my adopted mother’s image in place of my birth mother’s image and sensed her getting into this horrible accident. I don’t know for sure if I was sensing her death or just the accident, but it seemed a little too coincidental to be thinking about my mother getting hit by a truck when my birth mother actually did get into the accident.

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