“I was adopted? I was ADOPTED!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! So many memories came flooding back and in seconds I started to fit the missing puzzle pieces together in my mind. In one fell swoop it all made sense. I was feeling so many things at once, happiness, sadness, relief and betrayal. I had an instant identity crisis. I was furious all this time I was denied my truth. I was an adult person, damn it, and it was my right to know my story about my life and up until this point, no one had the balls to come forth and tell me. I had made it through 37 years of life and not one person from my past dared to let me know. I was angry at them all. I felt kicked off my center to realize I’m not the same person I thought I was. My head was spinning-It was so weird and crazy to hear this, yet despite all those other feelings, a part of me was thrilled. I knew there was no way I could have been a biological child of my mom. She was just so completely different from me; we were obviously from different molds.
Up until the moment that Charlotte picked up her phone and bravely dialed me, I had not been told nor was it even hinted at that I was adopted. In all honestly, however, I have to admit I always thought something might be up. I didn’t really look like my parents-they were both short and smaller people. I was tall and big boned and I didn’t look like them at all, not to mention I could never find any photos of me before six months of age. It was just something I toyed with on my own. I asked Charlotte if she knew anything else, like information on my biological parents, or where I came from, and a million other questions that came flooding into my head all at once. She had no other info for me. All she knew is that Annie and Emil were not my biological parents. I’d have to find the rest out on my own.
After I hung the phone up that night I was numb. In fact, I walked around a little shocked and dazed for about a week. Every time I looked in the mirror I wondered who I looked like, where did I come from and what was my past history? Who is my biological family? Where are they now? Why did they give me up? Do I have siblings? Who’s nose is this? Where did I get this blonde hair and blue eyes? I was obsessed….I just couldn’t let it go. I felt like I wasn’t the person I thought I was. Of course, inside I was the same, but my story was different. There was now something new and mysterious about me I didn’t have the answers for and it was driving me crazy and I so desperately wanted answers.
The first thing I did after talking to Charlotte was call my dad’s sister Flo. I thought for sure she would know something. She and my dad were close and I thought she could give me answers. When I called her and blurted out I learned I was adopted, I begged her to tell me if it was true. I practically had to crank open her mouth and dust off the cobwebs-It was so difficult for her to answer me. For so long she was sworn to secrecy, told to never, ever tell me or else there would be dire consequences. Flo told me my dad was adamant from the moment he got me in his arms that under no circumstances was I to be told I was adopted-ever. As a result, they my aunt and my entire family and friends and everyone I knew as a child growing up had such fear if they ever let it slip that to get anyone to finally open their mouth and let the words out was equivalent to prying open a buried trunk that was rusted shut. Even though my dad had been dead for almost twenty years, it didn’t matter; it was still physically difficult for them to get the words out….but with my prodding and insistence that I knew… (it’s okay, I know), and with painful difficulty they admitted to me what they had kept secret for so long. And much to my dismay, nobody knew anything-no details, no names, no nothing. It had been many, many years, no one remembered. My Aunt Flo confirmed what Charlotte had revealed to me, but she was getting old and was ill and didn’t remember much. She told me to call my mom and talk to her. Of course, I knew I had to tell my mom….there was no getting around it and I thought maybe she would finally be able to explain things. But confronting her about this and letting her know the secret is out was another thing all together. And it was a call I dreaded. I knew almost without a doubt this wasn’t going to go well. And I was right.