Divine Intervention for Ashley

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Divine Intervention for Ashley

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Posted: 6/25/2011
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

The first time I ever pretended to be sick so my dad would let me stay home from school was shortly before Mother's day in 1989. I was nine years old and my 4th grade teacher had been talking for weeks about the cool Mother's day craft we were going to do for our moms on their special day.

All I could think about was the magnetic popsicle stick picture frame with my Polaroid in the middle that I had presented to my mom last year. I had written "I love you mommy" and glued construction-paper hearts to the corners with fuzzy pom-poms in the middle of each one. The frame was still on the front of our refrigerator, gathering dust. It was one of the many things my mom did NOT take with her when she walked out on us when I was eight years old. Of course, she left ME behind too.

So you can imagine how much easier it was to pretend to be sick and stay home from school. The only thing worse than getting stuck making another Mother's Day craft was seeing my teacher's kind, sad eyes when she excused me from the assignment and let me play with the puzzles instead. No, it was easier to stay home instead. My dad was a smart man and he knew exactly what was going on. That afternoon he took me out for ice cream and that memory is one I will always hang onto.

As I great into adulthood, I wrestled with depression, anxiety, lack of self-worth, and tons of unanswered questions. I needed to know WHY she left, and most importantly, why she left ME. My dad and I were very close growing up, but three years ago he passed away from cancer, and I feel like I am missing another part of me now. I don't know anything about my mom, but I want to find her to see if she wants a relationship with me. It may be a fool's errand, but I figure it is better to try and be disappointed than wonder what might have been.

About a month ago, I was put in touch with Julie at SQA, who picked my brain for information about my mom. It turns out I knew more than I thought I did, and Julie found my mom in less than a month. It turns out that for a few years, BOTH of us had lived in Tampa, Florida. How many times could we have crossed paths? Maybe at a grocery store or at the mall. I asked myself, had I had a conversation with my own mother and failed to recognize her? Julie also informed me that she had a prison record in Tampa, which was a total shock to me. However, it wasn't a violent crime, and I had promised myself to follow the search through to the end, no matter what.

I wasn't brave enough to make the first phone call on my own, so Julie did it for me. She left a message at Patricia's work and got a call back later that afternoon. Julie said she sounded "professional," and promised to call me tomorrow. I hoped that was a sign that she was in front of customers or in front of her boss or something, not evidence that she had blown me off again.
As you can imagine, that was a sleepless night. I tossed and turned and turned all the different scenarios over in my heard. Finally, the next morning I got the phone call I had been waiting for. The first thing I noticed was that her voice sounded so familiar! We talked for hours over the phone and put it all out there---the truth about how I was feeling (joy, happiness, anger, frustration, abandonment) and how she was feeling (regret, relief, acceptance, wariness). I told her about what life was like growing up with a single parent and how much I had missed her. She told me about her life since she left in 1988 and about my half-siblings.

The only thing we haven't talked about is WHY she left in the first place. Believe it or not, after everything is said and done, the why seems so much less important. I hope that eventually she will tell me what happened, but for now I am just so happy to have my mom back in my life again. I think I am on my way to letting go of the hurt and resentment I have felt over the years and replacing it with friendship, camaraderie, and hope for our future.

I miss my dad so much, but I feel like in some small way he must be looking out for me still. I know he would be happy to see me not only get in touch with my mom, but forgive her for all the opportunities lost and focus on the positive, the here and now. Julie and SQA have been amazing, of course, but I like to think that this journey has been guided by a little bit of divine intervention. Wherever this journey ends, I hope it leads to happiness and healing for both me and my mom, and for my dad too.

(Written by Mica Burton on Ashley's behalf.)

Client ID# 278667
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