What if everything you were told was a lie?
All of my life I have been held hostage to the notion that I was all alone. My parents signed emancipation papers for me when I was 16 years old. Even my blood sister I grew up with seemed like a stranger to me and remains so to this day.
What if everything you believed was a lie? My parents never liked to talk about my adoption. When my blood sister and I found out that we were adopted, naturally we had our own questions.
"Who am I? Who are our parents?"
These were some of those first questions that came up. They were ones my sister asked. She is 21 months older than me and at the time those questions were not anything I ever thought about. When she asked them my parents froze and they immediately set up a wall. From that time forward any questions that were asked were like much guarded secrets. The subject was taboo.
At the time I was too busy growing up and being a kid. I was in the back yard climbing a ladder so that I could jump off the roof into the deep end of the swimming pool. I was busy climbing our 40 foot flag pole to see if I could touch the top. And all I got from that was a blistered butt when my dad got home. He took punishment pretty seriously.
My sisters questions drove her crazy. So crazy that she ran away from home when she 12 and ended up in a group home. We would drive over and see her on the weekends and she would always refer to our parents by their last name. It was all kind of sad really, watching a child disown her family.
"Who am I?" I could hear my sister asking this in my head.
What kind of question was that? You are the same person you were before you found out that you were adopted. Nothings changed.
Later I had my own questions. All I ever wanted to know was who were my natural parents, what were they like and whether or not they loved me.
My mom could never talk to me about my adopted parents, at least not until we met later in life when I was in my 30's. And even then it was a sketchy story. She said that my mom had given my sister and I up for adoption at a very young age. We went into foster care and were passed from home to home for a couple of years because nobody wanted us. She said that all she knew was that we had it very bad according to the case worker. But there was always an indication that maybe my mom knew something she didn't want to share. Her voice would always change when she spoke to me. She would physically shudder as she spoke about it. This from a woman who endured life in Nazi Germany and had horrible memories and scars from there. As much as I wanted to know about my adoption, I could never bring myself to push her too hard. And besides that, she had a firm line she would stand on and if you tried to cross it you would lose. She could be a lot more stubborn than me sometimes.
So I am talking to my sister on the phone a month or so ago and she is almost screaming, "That adoption was not supposed to happen. Those names on the court records are made up names. They weren't going to let it happen. Dad had to fight to get it to happen."
And you really have to know my sister to get the whole effect, "Sweety," She says, "Dad told me what happened. He had to get some Senator in Arizona to push the thing through. Barry something or another. The whole thing was a whitewash!"
"Wait a minute," I say, "Are you talking about Senator Barry Goldwater?"
"Yes!" She screams, "Barry Goldwater."
Now she's talking to her husband in the background.
Sister: "Honey. It was Senator Barry Goldwater wasn't it?"
Sister's husband: "Yes, I believe it was."
I am hearing a story that I have never heard before and I am suddenly having an out of body experience. I hand the phone to Lois and we pull off in a parking lot because we are driving and I say, "You have got to hear this."
Twenty minutes later.
"That is insane!" Lois says.
"Is it?" I say.
"Well what do you think?" She asks.
"Dude, I don't know what to think anymore."
One month later.
My wife calls to tell me that we have finally got my original birth certificate.
"You are not going to believe this. This is unbelievable!"
"What?" I ask.
"This birth certificate shows two different names than what are on the court records."
My whole life I always believed my natural mom was a minor and that because she was too young to take care of us so she gave my sister and I up for adoption. I believed this because this is what I had been told.
My birth certificate showed that my moms name was entirely different than what was on my adoption records. It also showed that she was 29 years of age at the time of my birth; instead of a minor. It revealed that I had other siblings. And that my birth fathers first name was also different than the adoption records said.
After we received the adoption records and I did the math while considering my mom was a minor when she had me, I figured she would be in her mid-sixties right now. But this new age of 29 would bring her to around 77-79 depending on birthdays.
I don't know if we will ever find her but I still hold out on hope. Today I miss her. Today I wonder what happened back there. Today - like so many others - I still don't have my answers.