I know this sounds mad but even though this is my journey, unique to me and a mix of pleasure and pain, I almost feel excited reading back over it in written form. Its as if it isn’t even me featuring in it…Sorry guys, random thought for the day there!:-)
Right where was I? Oh yes..so the mobile kicks in with Rule Britannia and I hot foot it passed my child and up the stairs for some ‘privacy’. (I am of coursed chased!) As the number showing in the screen on my phone is 0161 I know without a shadow that this is THE CALL I have been waiting for since Saturday morning. Breathless and more than a little nervous I whisper into the mouthpiece ‘ Hello , is that E……?’ The reply is as rich and sumptuous as molten treacle. A heavy Caribbean accent greets me with ‘ Oh Yes Dear, this is E, I am ringing as you asked in your Letter!’
Silence and a very deep breath
I say ‘ OK, thanks for coming back to me’, all kind of formal …So I open with ‘Well I didnt really know what else to do at this stage so thought if anyone were to know where VS moved to it would be you!?’
She laughed and then says ‘ Oh well, I do know a lot about a lot of people and a little more about a lot of things!!’ That laughter was the icebreaker I so desperately needed. I immediately felt at ease.
It was like she was verbally holding my hand. She continues ‘ When you say moved, how do you mean dear?
I said ‘Well I was told she moved in 2003 or around that time and no further clue where she ended up!?’
“Ahhhh” she says…”No my love, she didn’t move, she’s still right next door!”
Now, to say I nearly fell clear off the bed is an understatement. I clammed . Gob smacked, heart racing and have to admit to being slightly sick in my mouth! (TMI sorry but you want warts and all don’t you!!? Could be worse, I could have said I wee’d a little bit but I will spare you that visual! Ha!
Anyway my next question, given I have in no way expected this was “Oh my god, is she well?” Now I later learned that this simple little query was the one thing my BM said proved to her I was a ‘Good and Caring lady’ To ask after her well being. Fact was that is not a completely selfless question is it? As an adoptee I don’t have a clue if I am destined to get some gruesome ailment that will kick my life on its head . I did ask though and was told ‘ Oh yes dear, she is well, a bit of a cold but she is still going to work tonight! ‘ Eh? She’s still working at 61?? The conversation flowed as if we had chatted dozens of times in the past. Like I knew her too. Very surreal. I let it pass and asked if she would mind very much passing this information onto her.
She said ‘But of Course I will dear, just as soon as I see her!But you must contact her yourself too, I am sure she would welcome it’
It seems she did know her very well indeed, they regular did see each other, had to really didn’t they given she never bloody moved since she moved there over 15 years prior!!!!
Now let me take you back to the SW and his help on my journey….don’t get me wrong, he really was lovely and a major support to me as I learned the facts about myself prior to my adoption. Remember him saying that he believed that VS moved from this very address and was vanished without trace? We did both move on from here so he was not entirely responsible but it wasn’t me who was trained in these things officially. Well you can imagine my initial fury at the discovery that we spent a further 6 months of heartache and mystery and she was sat in the very house doing her bloody ironing or whatever all that time!!
Initially I am not happy with SW AT ALL and admit to a lengthy complaint , more directed at the system and its restrictions than to the lovely man himself. I know he was grateful for my teaching him how to use Facebook 🙂 I guess I was more than a little disappointed given I had tried to do the right thing in working hand in hand with the Social Services. I am saddened that their hands are often tied behind their backs when it comes to carrying out these searches. Rest assured we did have a laugh during our working together and he will always be a part of my journey that makes me smile.
Next I asked E what she intended to do and she said I must of course contact her directly as I had to having coming this far. We agreed she would pass on my letter so she could email me or ring the number (which in hindsight was a mistake). Most 61 year old ladies like the old fashioned letter and my BM was no exception.
So I said good bye and thanked E for her time and sat stunned in silence for a good ten minutes.
Running downstairs I said to my Hubby (who was plumbing in a toilet at the time, romantic I know) and said slowly ‘ I’ve found her!!…..I’ve f***ing found her!!
He dropped his wrench and grabbed me in a hug . My child ran in for a group hug looking up at me seeing me with swimming eyes. ‘Why is Mummy crying Daddy?
He replied ‘She’s Happy baby, give her a hug and tell her you love her’
She did just that and I cried a bit harder…………..
Now, it would seem I was right about the email/ phone thing as a couple of days later the Skype number rings a second time. Lets say I was less likely to pee my pants this time but it was still very surreal , like a secret number that literally only me and one other person had! Bloody hell people, that person was my BM’s best friend and next door neighbour!
She opened with ‘ I passed on your letter love and asked her if she knew anything about it. She said V said ‘Oh my God That’s my daughter’ and broke down. She told me that she wanted to write to me as apposed to email as they shared a PC which was on its knees. She knew if she rang me she would just cry. I agreed that made sense and only at that point did I give her my home address.
You see I got to the point of trust before I gave that personal information over. Personal safety is paramount but you can trust your gut at this point as what is there to lose?
So a week before Christmas and therefore a week before my Birthday a 6 page letter landed on my mat. I knew it was from her instinctively. A scrolling handwritten letter is a rarity around these parts, least of all to me so I held onto this letter and stared at the writing for longer than was natural. To me it was a moment of real clarity
I had come so far, limped part of the way and run other parts. I was bruised and battered emotionally yet seemed relatively unscathed all at the same time. I knew from that day on that who I believed myself to be could be someone totally different once I opened this letter. Imagine that! My faith in my own past could be twisted simply by learning things that for the writer of the letter were old news. For me it was new news and could wound or heal in equal measure. Well I would be lying if I told you that in some dramatic way I ripped open the letter and threw myself on my bed to read it. I didn’t. I placed the letter under my bed with its bright red envelope which was clearly a card and I walked back down stairs. The whole day was ahead of me and I needed a quiet uninterrupted zone to focus on the letter so I could absorb the information that lay before me.
That time was bed time so the day dragged on . You know what I did do though which looking back sounds totally irrational and a bit odd.I kept going back upstairs to look at it sitting there under my bed , like it was a gift I was excited to open but wasn’t yet allowed!?
Thinking about it now I know why I did that….
You know after almost a year or searching, hitting brick walls and bouncing back to the start over and over, I guess I felt that actually this could result in a huge anticlimax. All the anticipation and angst. The falling out with my eldest sibling, the lack of empathy from the other one, the harsh reality that actually my Adoptive Mother was so NOT on side after all (more of that later!) All this came to a head . That afternoon , in the quiet calm of my home, before I even opened the red Hallmark envelope I cried. I cried a lot. I cried hard until my throat burned. I well up now recalling the utter relief flooding from my heart like a collapsed dam. My tears were for me, my BM, my adoptive parents, my siblings, known and unknown. They were for my past, my future and my here and now. I literally didn’t know what the hell to do with myself. Was I happy? was I sad? who the hell knew?
Someone asked me ‘How do you feel? my answer ‘NO clue, sorry!’ I know you want me to make this neat and tidy and descriptive as is my way . But honestly there are no words. NO way to describe the emotion. Its like every emotion you ever felt merging into just one whammy of a feeling. No one in a position outside of the adoption process would ever feel it. I guarantee anyone adopted reading this will say to themselves ‘ Yes!! That!! Its That!!..what the hell is That!!?;
So that evening I learned my Truth and the Truth of my Birth Mother…prepare for revelations as I had to admit I didn’t see this one coming AT ALL…
Thanks for reading and continuing to hold my hand and heart in yours as I share…