Forty-five years ago, a teenager in Queens went “all the way” with her high school sweetheart. She got pregnant. She told her boyfriend and he told his parents. Happy to welcome a new member of the family, they made plans. They said they’d get a bigger house so the couple could live with them, and they could help raise the baby.
The girl went home and told her family. Alarmed and ashamed, the immediately sent her to a home for unwed mothers s uptown. When her boyfriend came looking for her they told him she was gone. He was devastated.
The girl spent nine months in the home, making plans to give up her baby. Her parents and the adoption agency said it was the right thing to do. She thought so too.
A forty-year-old woman in the New York suburbs wanted a baby. She and her husband had tried on their own, but the doctors said that it wouldn’t happen. So they applied to adopt a child.
When the time came, the seventeen-year-old girl had her baby. She took care of the little girl for five days, named her and cared for her in the hospital. And then she said goodbye.
That same day, the forty-year-old woman got a call. The adoption agency had her baby. Quickly she and her husband prepared for the little girl’s arrival and on a hot August day, they wrapped her up in blankets and brought her home. The next day, they took her to the doctor because all the blankets had caused a heat rash.
The teenager went home and resumed her life, without her boyfriend. She grew up, married, had a career and two children. But she thought about her baby every day.
The couple raised the baby in the suburbs. She grew up, went to school and moved away. The girl wondered about her other mother all the time. She wanted to meet her – to know her – but all she had was a story, and that would have to do.
The teenage mother wondered about her baby, but she thought that the little girl had enough information to find her if she wanted to. She didn’t.
When the daughter turned thirty, she initiated a search for her birth mother. She registered her name and the state searched for a match. It found nothing.
Her adoptive mother, now in her seventies, was dying of Alzheimer’s. Slowly she slipped into obilivion. After thirteen years with the disease, she died.
By that time, the girl had married, had a daughter of her own and was pregnant when she got a letter from her adoption agency. It said a family member was looking for her. She was elated to learn that she would finally meet her birth mother. Silently she thanked her adoptive mother for letting it happen.
The daughter and her birth mother met on the phone. The first call lasted an hour. There were more phone calls, then a visit. The birth mother told the girl she had two half-brothers. She told her daughter that it was her birth father who’d initiated the search. Again in an hour-long phone call, she met her birth father.
The daughter’s relationships with her birth parents blossomed. She traveled to New York and met her first blood relatives since she’d had children. There were family resemblances – she’d never seen anyone who looked like her before until her children were born. She had blood relatives on her father’s side too, in Miami.
The daughter’s relationship with her birth families continues to flourish today. Her adoptive father died last year and she’s lucky enough to have a whole new family now.
This mother’s day I’d like to thank both of those moms for their roles in my life. Thank you Mom, I love you, may you rest in peace. And thank you, Yvonne, for the courage to put a baby up for adoption, and for finding me and becoming part of my life. Happy Mother’s Day to all moms, whatever your path to motherhood.