It seems like it happened overnight, the carefree party girl, work to party, party to live had grown up. Paying a mortgage and reading bedtime stories quickly takes precedence over dancing on speakers at the local nightclub. Days turn into weeks, fade into monthes and before you know it years have passed in the blink of an eye.
I was in Nova Scotia for a visit when my baby boy officially turned into a “grown up” Unofficially he was just a boy under an adult label celebrating the right of passage otherwise known as “the legal age to drink” Generally celebrated at a bar with your inebriated “of age” friends and way too many suggestively named shooters! It was our last night in Truro and all of our friends were going out boozing at the old haunts. Chevys, Engine Room, The Mill. A fight ensued with my husband when I refused to go siting my dislike of bars. He begged me to make an exception and spend that last night before flying back to Edmonton partying with our friends. How could I explain that I could not party on this day. I was certain that my son would be out celebrating his birthday and his graduation into “legal drinking” I was certain I couldn’t help but look for him in every handsome dark haired young man, and even more certain that if I saw him I would know. What I wasn’t certain of was how I would react if I did in fact see the boy I had given birth to, here in Truro, nineteen years ago. So instead of trying to explain I sullenly refused to budge and spent the last night in my hometown with my parents, just as it should be.
On the long flight home Kirk badgered me into telling him why I wouldn’t come out. He was apologetic and understanding but I am positive that he couldn’t quite understand the depth of my feelings. I don’t think anyone but a mom who had given up a child for adoption could begin to.
That being said when we returned to our lives in Edmonton he questioned me further. He knew about the dog earred form facilitating a reunion that I carried around for the past nineteen years. He knew about the letter, a response from Jeffreys mom when he was a baby that had moved from purse to purse since I was a teenager. He knew about the void in my heart that no amount of love from him or the girls could ever fill.
He encouraged me to make the call to the number on the form. He did so delicately at first and I put it off and made all sorts of excuses. There was a storm raging in my heart and he recognized that but he didn’t understand. Jeffrey was of age now and I could search for him. Why the hesitation?
I had thought about this for nineteen years and thought of almost every imaginable outcome. The one outcome I never imagined but would now be forced to face was what if he had no desire to know about me. What if I never crossed his mind. What if the closure I hoped for all these years ended with a tightly closed door. I would have no other choice but to accept it. Bear it and respect his wishes. My heart was not quite yet prepared for that scenario.
It took some time, patience and love but with Kirks blessing and encouragement I made the call to Halifax Social Services and was put in touch with an updeat and realistic woman named Christine.
Christine quickly became my lifeline. She spoke to me as directly as possible but her tone was never condesending or negative. She told me the steps involved with the process and allowed my hopefulness but encouraged my cautiousness. The one thing she insisted upon was my patience.
I explained that my children did not know about Jeffrey and she said I should not tell them. If this didn’t go anywhere I would be giving them something and taking it away.
Christine called me almost immediately and let me know that they had an address for Jeffrey on file. She referred to him as Jeremy as I always did because that was the name I gave him. I had made a package with a letter I wrote to him and some pictures of all of us. I wanted him to see us, see that we were real and desperately wanted to know him.
Christine sent a letter to him explaining that she had some information for him. He was asked to contact the office.
Things were moving a lot quicker then I anticipated which was good but dizzying. I was transported back to a time when I was sixteen years old. I was in contact with Jeffreys biological father. We had maintained contact for over twenty years, I considered him a good friend. That would change but in my heart I thought he deserved the opportunity to be included. I was up and down like a teeter totter.
I was on the verge of tears constantly. The poor girls were confused because mommy was a basket case. I had to sit down with my bosses and explain why I could barely talk most days.
Christine told me that adopted boys are much less anxious then girls to make contact with their biological families or at the very least they ponder it awhile before ever thinking seriously about calling.
She said six weeks after the initial letter she would send a Registered follow up letter. That way he would have to sign for it and we would know for certain that he had it in his possession. She shared with me scenarios good and bad and everything in between to help prepare my heart. I remember the one possibility that I found implausible was that we would meet, not feel any reason to pursue or continue a relationship, he may not be a good and decent person worthy if being in our lives. I had to consider it but I couldn’t fathom it.
I convinced myself to calm down a little. I was having heart flutters, insomnia, episodes of euphoria followed by the lowest of lows. I needed to go back to being a Mom and a wife and wait patiently.
About three weeks later I came home from work and I had an important call from Christine. She left an excitable message on my answering machine but her office was closed by the time I got it. (3 hour time difference 😦 )
We played phone tag for three days until I was finally able to contact Christine. It was about 5:30 am for me and I was laying in the bed that I had tossed and turned in and remained sleepless for days. Christine was about to change my life.
To be continued. …