Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dear Sweet Mom - Not really

I was born in St Louis in 1966 and I was adopted at my birth. (For those of you who don't feel like doing math, I'm 45 yrs old). I was told I was adopted when I was 16 years old, and I remember trying to process this new information through my brain.

Me at age 15, anyone have a spare comb??

I was adopted??!!


OK, wow.....

Well, then where did I really come from??

Who is my real mother??

Why didn't she want me??

No one had any answers for me, at least, no one would give me any answers to those questions. I was pretty much left to ponder my existence on my own.

Since I didn't have a "story", I made up stories in my head about why my own mother would give her baby girl away.

I assumed my mother was a young girl, too young to take care of a baby on her own. I pictured her crying the day she gave me away, and kissing my little cheek as tears streamed down her face.

Every year on my birthday, I thought of my mom. I just knew she was out there somewhere thinking of me on this day. I thought my birthday would be a sad day for her, and I couldn't wait to find her so she wouldn't be sad anymore.

I pictured my birthmom to look something like this:

 web image

I never could see her face, but I always saw her in my mind with long dark flowing hair and flowers. It was the mid 60's when I was born, and I guess I figured my mom was probably a hippy-flower-child type of girl.

In the late 80's, I was in my early 20's and I had young kids of my own. I began to try to look for my birthmom. I wanted to find her and hug her. I wanted to tell her I was OK, and we would live happily ever after. I wanted her to meet my kids. She wouldn't be sad on my birthday anymore, I wanted to relieve her of that burden.

The actual search for my birthmom took a lot longer than I thought it would. There weren't a lot of resources for adoptees in the late 80's and early 90's.

I eventually figured out who my birthmother was in early 2003. Her name is Frances. She was still in St Louis.

I called her.

She pretended she had no idea who I was, and she actually told me she was the neighbor, who just happened to be there answering the phone.

My bubble burst.

wow. that was painful. quite painful.

not only the fact that she didn't pine away for me on my birthday every year, but I came to find out that she doesn't even know what day my birthday is. nor does she care.


but it's not all so bad.....

in the course of my search for my birthmom, I had learned that I also had two brothers. REALLY??!!
I have 2 brothers? ?? I also found out they are twins, and they are 2 years older than me.

and I have the same mother AND father they do.

and they were also given up for adoption.

I really wanted to find my brothers, but I had no idea what their names were, or their birthdate, or who adopted them.

So now I needed my birthmom to tell me who/where my brothers are. I had figured out she wasn't the neighbor, and I called her back and got her to admit she actually was my mom, and yes, she also admitted she did give birth to a set of twin boys and gave them up for adoption too.

Where are they? What are their names?

She wouldn't tell me.

Who is our father??

She wouldn't tell me that either.

She said she wasn't ready.

So I gave her time. (but I wasn't going to let her off the hook)

I kept calling her about every 6 months. I begged her to tell me who my brothers and father are.

Nope. Nothing.

Of course I wasn't giving up. I continued to call her every 6 months, but at the same time I was searching on my own for my brothers and my dad.

During that time, I did hook up with one of my birthmom's cousins. I found him online doing family research, and I emailed him and told him who I was.

He said Frances and her 2 sisters hadn't been in touch with the family since the mid-60's. (coincidence that that was around the time my brothers and I were born and all given up for adoption??)

My cousin was awesome!! (Actually he is still awesome!) He shared all of my family history with me. More on that in another post, cuz my birthfamily history is fascinating......

He told all of his family about me, and they all welcomed me into the family with open arms. It was so absolutely wonderful to find my family.

SO healing.

My cousins dug up their old photos and sent pictures of my birthmom and even a few pictures of my brothers! (she kept my brothers until they were about 6 months old, then they were adopted to a woman who helped care for them)

so, yeah. That's Frances. My mom. And yes, I look like her. I have the same features, and those eyebrows!! Yeah, those are my eyebrows for sure. Absolutely for sure.

I continued to call her. She was always nice enough when I called, but she wouldn't give me the info I wanted so badly. She wouldn't tell me who my father was or who adopted the twins. We continued this for 8 years.

Don't forget I was searching for my brothers (and my father) on my own. I had a whole army of people helping me and finally in January of 2010, I had narrowed in on 3 last names that I thought might be the twins adoptive last name. I was so close to finding them!!

I came to be in touch with a friend of a friend, that was able to put my info together and figure out exactly who my brothers were. She found them in western Tennessee, both married, both with kids, both teachers.......I could go on and on about them. My brothers are so cool!! yeah, I'm sure there will be more posts coming about my brothers. And I plan to write more details about my search for them, and how this all led me to become a P.I..

And I want to say real quick:

Of course I met my brothers! They flew me to Tennessee in May. I refused to go sooner because I was knee deep in wedding/ honeymoon cruise planning, and I can only deal with one major life-changing thing at a time. so after the wedding and honeymoon, I flew to Tennessee to meet my brothers in the end of may for a weekend.

We are all amazed at how much the three of us are alike. It's really incredible..... we share a ton of physical features as well as personality traits.

Here, I'll give you an example.

This is my brother Scott in high school:

Now, remember the pic of me from above? Here it is again:

Start with our shoulders, and posture. Look at the way we are both sitting!
Now move up to our necks, lol!


Chipmunk front teeth...




Shape of face...


EYEBROWS....ahem......yeah. those eyebrows! Thanks mom!

We have the same flat, thin hair (although by then I had had a perm or two)

So there!! Too funny, huh??? He's definitely my brother. No doubt about that at all for any of us.

And here is a picture of me and both of my brothers, taken in May 2011:

yeah, that one is a little blurry, how about this one:

Here are a couple of close-ups:

Our brother/sister reunion in Tennessee was really cool! I got to spend the weekend with them, and get to know their families. We had a newspaper article written about us in the St Louis Post Dispatch, which is the huge St Louis newspaper. It was like one of those cool reunions you see on TV. Did I mention my brothers are awesome? I seriously love to brag about my brothers, and I like to say "my brothers" a lot these days.

Have I told you that one of them is a Sergeant in the US ARMY?? No? And the other one just got promoted to Principal of a school!! How come I never had a cool awesome principal? Those are some lucky kids at that school, I'll tell ya that. My brothers are so cool!!

OH, and wait till I tell you about their wives and their kids!!! OMG!! I have sisters-in-law's and I HAVE TWO NIECES AND A NEPHEW!!! They are all WONDERFUL!!! Ok, I'll save all that for another post.......this post is supposed to be about my mother......Frances.........yeah her.......

So....back to my mother........Frances never did tell me how to find my brothers, I found them on my own. Of course I had a lot of help along the way, but not from my mother.

About a month after I found my brothers, and let me interrupt myself to say that it's nice to have my brothers, because now it's the 3 of us making the decisions on how to proceed with OUR mother, and not just me trying to figure out what to do, or not do, regarding Frances.
So about a month after I found my brothers, we decided I would tell her I found them, and we would ask her if she would like to meet us.

She said no.

BUT, and this is really big news, she DID tell me the name of our father, and the town she thought he was in. I guess she realized I would just figure it out on my own anyway, so she told me his name. THANK YOU FRANCES!! Although after 8 long years of begging her to tell me, I don't know if I really feel like I owe my mother a "THANK YOU!!" for telling me who my father is. That sounds ridiculous.

But anyway, she told me, and immediately my brother Scott and I scoured the area she pointed us in to find him. As it turns out, our father died in 2004.

He was only 325 miles away from me when he died.

Had Frances told me who my father was in one of our first few conversations, I may have talked to him on the phone or possibly even met him before he died. Oh well, nothing I can do about it now. And maybe he wouldn't have wanted to talk to me anyway, or meet me. yeah, I know......but still.

I was the youngest of 9 kids from my father. My brothers were numbers #7 and #8.

He had had 6 kids before we were even born. One of our half-brothers is 60 years old, and he lives in St Louis. I will most likely meet the next time I go to St Louis. I'm sure I'll eventually meet all of my half-siblings. I am slowly getting in touch with them, (but sadly, one of them, the oldest, has died. )

*UPDATE: Unfortunately my sister Jeannie passed away recently. I am so sad that I will never get to meet 2 of my siblings.

OK, back to my mother, gosh it's easy to get sidetracked with this particular subject! (expect some juicy posts coming up about all of this story! And believe me, I have a lot to say.)

But really, back to Frances.

So she did talk to both of my brothers on the phone for about 20 minutes each. And that's about it.

She doesn't want to meet us. At all. Ever.

so.......thats it.

My brothers and I planned a huge reunion in St Louis last July so we could meet all of our birthfamily (cousins mostly).

We invited 85 people, including our mother. Yes, we invited her.

My cousin, the one who I had met first, explained to me that it really wasn't fair to have a huge family reunion WITH HER FAMILY, and not invite her. It could hurt her feelings if/when she found out about it and she wasn't invited. Plus, maybe she would come after all and I would get to meet my mother.

So we invited her.

She didn't come.

But we had a REALLY GOOD TIME!!! Seriously, my birthfamily on my mom's side are all too good to be true. They have accepted me and my brothers 100%.........they have opened their lives and their families to us. We are so lucky to have such a family.

By the way, there were 100 people at the reunion! It was HUGE!! And the mayor came, and the newspapers did stories about us.......it was like a dream for me after all those years of painstaking searching. I'd say the reunion was one of the top defining experiences of my life. HUGE.

so healing.....

it feels really good to belong to this family.

and the cool thing, I look like them.

I fit in with them.

yeah, it feels good.

So, Frances didn't come to the reunion, but I knew she was living with her sister (my Aunt) and they lived just 1/2 mile from the reunion site. That was quite a coincidence....

My brothers thought that since we were all in town for the reunion anyway, maybe we should go knock on Frances's door and try to meet her.


I thought about it.

Nope......I'm not going to go with my brothers to knock on her door. I can't take the rejection.

At all.

Way too painful.

I had already been rejected by her enough times. Although she was willing to talk on the phone for a few minutes each time I called, I still felt pure rejection from her. During these phone calls, she never once asked about me, or my kids. She didn't ask for pictures, she didn't want to meet me.

I was NOT going to knock on her door, and risk face-to-face rejection. Which is why I had never knocked on her door any of the other times I had been to St Louis to meet and visit with new cousins.

My brothers didn't knock on her door either, I think they had planned to, but they ran out of time that weekend. It was a pretty busy weekend. (yeah, more on that weekend in another post....)

Now, let me explain a bit about Frances.

She's a little, well, odd.

She lived with one of her sisters her whole life, and neither of them ever dated anyone or married.

They didn't have anything to do with any of their family for the last 45 years, and they didn't have any friends that we know of. They just lived this sad, spinster, reclusive kind of life.

I get that some of the reason the sisters might have withdrawn from life might be due to the twins and I. Our adoptions might have been very traumatic for them. Things were different in the 60's. I do get that.

But for 45 years??? Really? That's quite a long time to be traumatized. You would think they might have gotten some help by now, what with shrinks and medicines and all that self-help stuff.

So anyway, my mother is 69 years old now, and the sister she lived with for her whole life just died in 2009. My mother has moved in with her only other sister, who is a widow. This sister is now 85 years old.

I do wonder what will become of our mother when her last sister dies. She doesn't have anyone else, as far as family, other than this one sister.

I suppose it doesn't do me any good to worry about who will care for Frances. She's apparently not going to accept any help from me. And it's not like she did me any favors for 8 years while I begged her for only two things. I don't know why I should bother doing her any favors. But I know me, and if it came down to it, I would help her. I mean really, she's my mother.

So anyway, I found my brothers, and Frances had  given me the name of our dad. So, I don't really feel the need to keep communication open with her anymore. I have what I need. She feels absolutely nothing towards me, so I'm done. I tried.

Many many times. probably too many.

All those calls I made to her over 8 years, with each one, the rejection was so hard to deal with. It would take me a few days to "gear up" for my call to her. I would mentally prepare myself and make lists of things to talk about, and ask her. And each time I spoke to her, after the call  it would take me about 3 days to shake off a kind of depression feeling.

So, I don't feel the need to put myself through that feeling anymore. I don't plan to call her again.

But my brothers are still new to all of this. They have only had to deal with Frances in their lives for about 11 months and they haven't really had to deal with too much rejection from her. Yet.

A few weeks ago my brother Scott and his wife were in St Louis to see a baseball game, and they thought they would go to try to knock on Frances's door.

What do you think happened??

Yeah, Scott didn't get to meet our mom.

They knocked, and our Aunt answered the door. As soon as she found out it was one of the twins, she wasn't very nice anymore and she said Frances wasn't home. She sent them away.

I felt so bad that my brother had to go through that. It had to be painful, although he's a guy, so he would probably never admit that. Sad.

So, Scott says he has given it a try (or two), and he isn't interested in trying again anytime soon. He obviously learns faster than I do.

Our other brother Kevin, he's probably the smartest of the 3 of us, because he isn't going to bother with her at all.

And as for me, this post will most likely be the one and only post where you will see me write about my birthmother, Frances. I don't like to talk about her much, or write about her. I keep her filed somewhere in the recesses of my mind. She is safe there, and she can't hurt me anymore.

And I do have to say that something really good came out of all of this searching I had to do to find my brothers, I did become a licensed Private Investigator and my sweet husband Tim and I own an investigations company where we help others who are searching for their own birthparents. We also do genealogy and family history research.

I can tell you without a doubt, if Frances had given me the names of my brothers and my dad back in 2003, I would not be a P.I. today. So I guess I could thank her for that, if nothing else.


  1. <3 I KNOW the story.. but every time you tell it I cry.

  2. Sorry you lost some people you love. Am so glad that you managed to find your birth family...your brothers do resemble you. One can never say what life would have had been like had you not been adopted, but I think it all turned out well. God bless!

  3. It's amazing that through this adversity you have become stronger. I love that you took the skills that you were forced to learn and turned them into a career! Also, I love it that you did find your birthbrothers. You have persevered!