The moment I found her came in the middle of the night, where the isolation of the hour served to properly punctuate the solitary experience I call being adopted. Guided by a few unique non-identifying facts and the online family trees of some distantly related DNA matches, I started my mindless nightly search when suddenly those facts began to line up like stars in a perfect universe.
I sat bolt-upright in bed and looked to my sleeping husband “I found her,” but he remained motionless. I spoke her name aloud and observed a host of new emotions as they washed over me like ocean waves. “Pay attention and stay grounded; something very important is happening here.”
Nineteen keystrokes later I found myself within the pages of her high-school-yearbook, and there she was in a perfectly preserved image from 1966. “This is how you looked when we were last together.”
I bring my mind to center with my next breath and push away the urge to search for more. “This image will be first in my mind when remembering this moment.”
I realize I have always imagined her as a teenaged girl. I take another breath and allow the tears to fall “Hello Mom.”
I do not know how many hours passed while I gazed upon her young face. Who knew it was just so simple to look at the face of your own mother? Like those of my children, it’s a face that makes sense in a world of faces. Strange and new while at the same time familiar.
As I shifted my gaze to the sun rising outside the window, it occurred to me the not knowing her was over and the knowing her had come. “I will no longer wonder.”
Nights later, the gravity of knowing still weighs heavy, and the years of my life suddenly appear on her face in the only photos I can find of her online. I see her at the wedding of her daughter and release myself from the act of visualizing my own face among the celebrants. I see a sadness in her soft blue eyes, and I tell myself it comes from a loss only she and I share.
For a brief moment I allow myself to imagine what might be in our future before I again must bring my mind to center.
Tonight … just knowing is enough.
Pam is a licensed clinical social worker, a wife, a mother, a friend, and an adoptee. Pam was born, relinquished, and adopted in the fall of 1966. She is professionally and personally concerned about the rights and well being of adult adoptees, especially those born in States such as Utah, where she was born and records remain tightly sealed. Pam works as a psychotherapist specializing in adoption loss and believes an important part of healing the human condition is first exploring, and then understanding, ones family of origin to include the impact of culture, life experience, and genetics - the good and the bad. From a social justice perspective Pam believes that as citizens of these United States, adult adoptees should have the right and liberty to access all legal records and documents that pertain directly to them. Pam recently identified her family of origin and is looking forward to reunion.