Non-Identity

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Non-Identity

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Posted: 1/20/2010
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

When you are adopted, they say you are entitled to receive your non-identifying information. They might as well call it what it is--a NON-identity. I am 54 years old and have grown up my entire life wondering who I am and where I come from. How could my parents just give me away and go on with their lives as if I had never been born? Maybe it's because I was born with a birth defect. I have only 3 and a half fingers on my left hand and there is no medical explanation for this. As I got married and started my own family I was petrified that my children would also have this birth defect, but they have all been fine. I have wondered countless times whether my birth mother's decision to give me up for adoption was based on the fact that I didn't have all ten fingers and toes like every mother prays for.

My parents raised me as an only child, but I have been told that I have 2 birth siblings. I know my birth mother had polio as a child and was only twenty-one when I was born. I was conceived from a one-night stand, and I am told my birth father never even knew about me. Both of my adoptive parents have been dead for three years now, and the time has come for me to figure out who I am and where I come from. I am so tired of being an only child, and have felt like half a person my entire life. I have a life others would envy--two beautiful daughters and five spunky grandchildren. I even live in Hawaii, one of the most beautiful places earth. Yet there has always been something missing; I have always dreamed of being part of a large extended family.

I can't say enough about my researcher, Julie Jones, who held my hand every step of the way. She walked me through the process of requesting my non-ID and would not let me give up until I received it. All of the important names and dates were blacked out, but over time the ink faded and letters and words started to show through. We knew that my mother's name was Dorothy, that she had 7 or 8 siblings, and that besides my oldest uncle, no one knew about me.

As the case came to an end and the six month deadline got closer and closer, Julie and I hit a brick wall and were unable to progress further. We had a list of women who could be my mother, but without a specific birth date it was impossible to know for sure. We requested more documentation from the state and began the laborious process of elimination, calling each Dorothy, writing letters, and being rejected time and again. The deadline came and went, but Julie kept working hard and was dedicated to solving the case no matter what it took.

Julie's determination was the deciding factor in the case. One afternoon she called a woman named Janice, the daughter of a "Dorothy" who had passed away. When Julie told her the purpose for her call, Janice immediately started crying. She asked that Julie read the non-identifying information and then exclaimed "My sister! My sister! You found my sister." Every piece of information fit perfectly. About a week before my trip to Arizona to meet them, Janice's uncle called the family together to reveal the secret of my adoption, stating that the secret had grown heavy and he did not want to carry it alone anymore. He told Dorothy's story as a feisty young lady who was confident and talented, yet she always pined over the child she had given for adoption--Me.

Janice was excited and said, "When can we meet her?" Just as I had hoped, the family welcomed me into the fold with open arms. I got to meet my sister, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews and the reunion was incredible! They tell me I am the spitting image of my grandmother. Being with them is a little surreal, but on a deep level it feels like coming home. My life feels totally different now. I have spoken to many nieces and nephews. Emails fly back and forth daily with pictures from both sides. Unfortunately, my birth mother Dorothy passed away several years ago, but meeting her family members and my sister shows me, for the first time, that I LOOK like someone. That knowledge alone has brought me more peace than I ever imagined was possible.

In our first conversation, Julie made me promise that when I was reunited, I would share my story with others, and that's why I decided to write in today. She also promised that I could have my photo put on the SQA Reunion board in their office. Actually I have been informed that what was once a few "bulletin boards" is now an entire wall. I am amazed and so very grateful for SQA's help and support through this whole process. You have given me peace, hope, and a sense of belonging that cannot be bought at any price. I hope you continue to reunite fathers, mothers, siblings, and children with their long lost loved ones. Keep up the good work and keep filling that photo wall on reunion at a time!

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

Client ID# 227206
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