Finally Betty called me. She had found one of my biological parents. I was in for a shock. The first one she found was my biological father. In all the years and years of thinking about doing a search, I never, ever thought about finding my biological father. I don’t know why but it had never even crossed my mind. Betty told me about her conversation with him.
His name was Jurgen. He was 16 years old when I was born. The thing was, when Betty called him and asked him if he had a child that had been adopted out, he asked which year. Apparently, he had had several children that were adopted. He was an ex-convict that had been convicted for armed robbery of a bank several years back. (Bud promptly said, “That explains a whole lot about you honey.”—not funny…) Jurgen was more than happy to talk to me but now I wasn’t so sure.
One thing that I was learning about doing a search for my biological parents was that it was totally a rollercoaster ride.
So I thought and thought about it and talked to Bud and my dad and finally decided to talk to Jurgen. We decided to start by writing letters to each other. It really was much better than I thought it was going to be. But it was just getting information, not much more than that. There wasn’t any emotional connection at all.
After some time, I got another call from Betty. She had now located my biological mother.
She had talked with her but there was a problem. My biological mother, Ruth, now had a 16-year-old daughter and she didn’t know I existed. Ruth decided that she was going to think about it and call Betty back when she made a decision on whether or not she wanted any contact.
After about a week or so, I heard from Betty. Ruth didn’t want any contact! I was saddened by her decision but accepted it. When I had started this process, I had determined that whatever happened I would not be upset or hurt by it. I would be glad that I had gone ahead with the search and that my biological parents would know that I had tried. They could always contact me later if they changed their mind. But I would be lying if I said that it didn’t hurt…because it did.
A few weeks later, Betty called again and Ruth had changed her mind. She did want some contact but in a very limited way. I was thrilled just to be able to ask her a few questions. The way our contact worked was that Ruth would write a letter and send it to Betty. Betty would take it out of the envelope and put it into a new envelope with her own return address instead of Ruth’s and then send it on to me. I would answer it in the same manner. We would only use first names and no identifying information would be exchanged.
It really was a good way to begin. I was able to ask tons of questions and get all the answers I wanted but not worry about the awkward “we should have a relationship but we don’t” feeling I got during my contact with Jurgen. Ruth told me a lot about her life before, during, and after my birth. I questions and she answered them. She told me about her family and I told her about my family. She wanted to know about the two grandchildren she never knew that she had.
After about a month of correspondence, Ruth decided that she wanted to have more contact between us. We started writing letters with no intermediary between us. She also decided to tell her other daughter, Shannon that I existed. The funny thing was that Shannon’s father had told her that Ruth had a daughter that she put up for adoption several years before.
So, we finally got to talk on the phone. I would love to say that it was wonderful but in reality it was more just strange. I realized that in all those years of wondering about searching for and finding my biological parents I had never even thought about anything after the actual first moment. We both were very perplexed as to how to go about this new relationship in our lives. I kept thinking that here was this person who gave me life and I should know her almost as well as I know myself but she is this complete stranger to me.
Another thing that I realized was that we are two totally different people. Whereas I might get my nose and my poor eyesight from Ruth, and my prematurely gray hair from Jurgen, it seems that my personality was pretty much my own (just as it had always been with my family). Apparently, God just made my unique.
There were a couple of funny things however. When I was writing letters back and forth with Jurgen I realized (and so did my intermediary Betty), that our handwriting was eerily similar. Also, as I was growing up I also seemed to name my baby dolls Marie. I just loved that name for some odd reason. When I met Ruth I found out that she had named me Marie Ruth – and that is what my foster parents called me for the first two months of my life. It could be a coincidence but I’m not convinced.