I'll Always Love You

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I'll Always Love You

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Posted: 8/28/2011
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

I never belonged to my "family". I was the proverbial black sheep. I never belonged anywhere. I have four awesome children, a grandson I adore and a husband who I cherish and though I hate to admit it, I feel lost. I was adopted when I was 6 months old. My adopted mother committed suicide when I was 7, I was kicked out of the house at 12, and I was pawned off into the state system and lost in the shuffle after that. I was in and out of foster homes, a girls' school, and a group home. When I was 16 my father "signed off" on me and I was property of the state. He said he never liked me and said it was all my mother's idea to adopt and when she was gone, it was over. He said he put up with me as long as he could. Basically, until my children came into my world when I was 18, my life sucked! Still, there seems to be a hole in my heart. No matter how hard I try, I can't fill it. I know this may not end the right way but I need closure of some sort.

My mother's name is Ruth Mary Knight or Padgett. Her birth place was Bennington, Vermont and she was 28 when I was born. She already had several children and couldn't care for another baby. My birth father was a war veteran and did not want a baby, so he left. My birth name was Ruth Padgett. I have some health issues and when the question is asked "is it in your family?" and all I can say is "I don't know" it's very unsettling.

I finally got up the nerve to search for my birth mother last July. I talked to my husband about it, and we saved for months until we had enough money. Even though logically I knew the search could take months or years, emotionally I was impatient. From day to day I hoped for the best, then convinced myself the worst case scenario was going to happen. I was a basket case most days. I emailed my researcher, Julie, constantly with worries and concerns. There's a chance she might have put my case on the top of her priority list just so she could get back to working in peace and quiet.
The case was officially solved on September 1st. sadly, my mother passed away on February 2, 2000. I'll admit this was devastating news for me. I sat there silently stunned while Julie rattled off important facts about her life.
Her name was Ruth Maris Knights. She was born June 29, 1935 at Putnam Memorial Hospital in Bennington, Vermont. My grandmother was Annis Adeline and my grandfather was Kenneth Wood Knights, and both of them were also born in Vermont. She was white. She graduated high school.

She was 64 years old when she died in Onslow, North Carolina. For whatever reason, she was autopsied. She was cremated at Jones Funeral Home. Her husband, David, has her ashes. She left behind 3 sons, whose names are Michael, David, and Mark. She also had 1 daughter, whose name was Deborah. You know the carnival game where you take sharp darts and toss them to pop colorful balloons? As I heard each of these facts I felt like darts were being tossed at me. Some bounced off, others popped. The first hopeful news was that I have three brothers. This was the first blood family I had ever known about, and they were still alive. Then I started to realize that they could show me pictures and tell me stories about what life was like growing up with her. Certainly, it wouldn't be as good as meeting her in person, but it wasn't a dead end.

But why was I given up for adoption? Why did she keep three sons and another daughter, but give me up? My mother's husband was able to answer that question. He said he was married to Ruth when I was conceived, but they were technically separated. She got into a relationship with another man and wanted to hide her pregnancy from him, so she moved to Gloversville, New York. He said he never knew if I was a boy or a girl, but that she chose to give me up for adoption so that she could get back together with the father of her other children. Their marriage was off and on through the years, but he loved her. David was not interested in getting to know me personally, but he was helpful in providing the contact information for my siblings. He promised to call them together and tell them about me first, and told me to expect their calls within a few days.

That left me with a few days to process all of this information and figure out how I felt about it. To be honest, I was crushed to learn that Ruth died. I would have loved to hear her version of events and find out how everything really happened. Plus, it sounded like my siblings had a rough childhood and adolescence. Would they understand my need to find them, and would they be open to a reunion with me? When they called, my fears were all put to rest. I talked to each of them individually, and without fail they were open, loving, and warm. They never knew about me, but took the news in stride, better than I ever hoped they would.

Now we keep in touch every week or so. We met in person a few months ago, and although we might never be best friends, it feels great to look into faces that look like mine, and hear stories about our mother. My search might not have turned out as I dreamed it would, and I won't lie and say it turned out better. But I will say I now have the answers to my questions, and I find a sense of relief in that. Ruth, wherever you are, I hope you know that even though I never got to meet you, I hope we get to meet someday on the other side. I wish you would have kept me, but I can understand why you made the choice to give me up. I'll always love you.

Written by Mica Burton on Susan's behalf.

Client ID# 264718
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