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Updated: October 19, 2019 



Updated: October 19, 2019 

Reunion Stories

Better Than Wondering "What If?"


Posted: 12/7/2011
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

Like many adoptees, I grew up with a great back-story as to why I was adopted. My parents told me my birth mother had a 2-year-old son when she got pregnant with me; we had different fathers. When she was several months into the pregnancy, she got engaged to a man who told her, "I can accept one mistake (meaning her son) but I won't accept another (meaning me.)"

When I was twenty five I convinced my dad to hire a private investigator to locate my birth family. Our whole family waited on pins and needles for months, but the PI didn't get very far. I tried a lot of services for adoptees, but no one really seemed to care about me, just the money.

My adopted mother Joan was always jealous and too forthcoming with information, she has since passed on. Here is information that I have been told mostly by my adopted father Robert. I was born at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, AZ on November 19, 1967 at 11:27pm. My birth mother held me and almost did not let me go. Dad told me later in life that I look just like she did. She was about 22-23. Her name was Norma and Dad met her when she came into his medical clinic. She opened up and told my dad that she was giving up her baby for adoption, and my dad told her he and his wife were trying to adopt. Before long the arrangements were made.

Norma worked for the Clerk of the Courts and head of the Credit Bureau here in Phoenix and even helped Dad get rid of some bad debt. She lived with her parents, I think, somewhere near Good Samaritan around Glendale Road. My Dad says she told him that my biological father was going to ASU for an Engineer degree and had a high IQ. Guys will say anything, right? LOL

My dad was there in the room when I was born. Although he wasn't my biological father, my birth mother put his name on my original birth certificate. She told him she and her fianc', were planning to move back east after I was born. At least when I was born, she wasn't planning to put my half-brother up for adoption too. I'm proud of her for that.

Well that is all I know, but I realize that is a lot more than others know. I believe in miracles. My favorite book is On Being Adopted. It has pulled me through a lot of feelings I have had through life and validated them. I have several reasons for wanting to find my birth mother. One of the most pressing reasons is that I want my complete medical history. It is scary not knowing my risk factors. If I were to find my birth mother and our reunion blossomed into a full-fledged friendship and relationship, it would be a dream come true for me. I am especially interested in getting to know my half-brother.

It has always been a dream to know blood relatives on this earth as I have no children. I have felt alone and abandoned at times. I would love to know my heritage as I have no idea where I come from. My Dad provided a very good life for me. He actually he divorced my adopted mother when I was 7 because she harmed me. He remarried a woman when I was 8 and she has 4 children, so I went from an only child to 4 siblings I really didn't get along with. In many ways I'm still searching for my place in this world, and that was my most compelling reason for searching for my birth family.

I'm sorry to say that although my case has been solved, it hasn't exactly given me the new family and opportunities I hoped it would.

My researcher solved my case in less than a month. She spoke with my half-brother, Kendrick, first. He said he always knew he had a sister out there somewhere! He even thought my name was Tammy because our mom always kept a special doll with the same name. He even put out an ad in the personals searching for me over 15 years ago, but could never get his mom to give any more information about whether I actually existed and what the circumstances were behind my birth. Our first conversation went very well. We were both excited to get to know each other and Kendrick promised to talk to our mom and soften the blow before I contacted her myself.

When I didn't hear from him more than a week later, I started to worry. I knew something was wrong when he wouldn't return my phone calls or emails. My mind sorted through a hundred different possible explanations before I received his letter in the mail. He wrote: "Tammy, I'm very sorry but my mother is not your birth mother, and I am not your half-brother. I was mistaken in my belief that I had a sister. My mom is 100% positive that she has never had any other children, so we are not related. Good luck to you."

I was totally shocked when I read these words. I felt betrayed. We had such a positive first phone call, and then he got cold feet and slammed the proverbial door right in my face. I cried for days. It was worse than if I had never found my birth family at all. I agonized over what to do now. I couldn't imagine coming so far just to fall short of meeting my birth mother.

First I double checked with my investigator and confirmed beyond the shadow of a doubt that this was the correct family. Then, I counseled with my dad, husband, and best friends about what to do next. I decided to write my birth mother a letter. I provided detailed information about me, including photographs of my children and myself throughout my life. I wrote the letter as if it would be my final communication with the family. I told her how much I love her, even though we've never met. I told her how grateful I am that she gave me a wonderful home and reassured her I had a great life. I told her if she wasn't able to reunite with me, I wouldn't hold it against her, but I needed her to know these things in case I never got to say them to her in person. When I put that package in the mail I heard it clunk in the bottom of the mailbox and I breathed a sigh of relief. I released all my anxieties and angst and made the decision to move on with my life.

That was over a year ago and I still have not heard back from my birth family. I pray that one day I will, but in the meantime I'm just living my life and learning to be happy with all the blessings I DO have, instead of focusing on the dream that didn't quite turn out the way I hoped.

Even if I had known the way this would turn out, I would not change a single thing about my search. Although the experience was painful at times and disappointing over all, at least I'm not still pining for what might have been or dreaming about a picture-perfect TV reunion someday. And over all I truly am more grateful for the wonderful family I have. I wouldn't trade them for the world, although I'm reserving a place in my heart for my birth family. I hope they come around some day but I can finally say even if they don't, I'll be ok. Better than ok, actually, because nothing could be worse than wondering "What if?" To other adoptees in my situation, I warn you to be prepared for the best and worst possible scenarios. But don't let your fear of a negative outcome stop you from searching in the first place. It's better to have answers and know the truth, one way or another.

Written by Mica Burton on behalf of Tammy, a Search Quest America Client.

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