If going through life was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, is it fair for some people to have puzzles with missing pieces?
Going through life with a parent or parents you never knew, can feel like that. A biological parent can decide to have nothing to do with their own child. But the child has no say in the matter. I don’t know of anyone that has grown up not knowing anything about one or both parents, that hasn’t wondered about the biological parent(s). What did my father look like? What does my mother do for a living? Does he/she ever think about me? Do they regret giving me up? Do I share any habits with them? Were they good or bad at math like I am? Have they ever tried to find me? Why did they give me up? Is there anything in my fathers’ side of the family that would be important for me to have on my medical records? Did they have any other children? No matter how good your life is with one parent, grandparents, adoptive parent(s), you are always left with so many questions, and feelings. To have a parent, for what ever reasons give you up, is hurtful.
I really wish that a parent that makes the decision to give up their child should be required to leave important medical information, a picture or basic description of themselves, and a letter for the child explaining why they gave them up, and whether or not they would agree to talk to the child one day, if the child wanted to meet them.
This is my story: My biological father grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. At some point he moved to Pennsylvania not far from Paoli where my mother lived. Lee (he went by his middle name) was a deacon of the church, and married, with 3 children. Two girls’, and a boy. My mother was hired as his secretary. She was 10 years younger. He asked her out. They started dating. She had no idea he was married with children. Eventually, when they were very much involved she found out. I don’t know the details of their conversations, or what he told my Mom. I know he shared family information, and showed her pictures of his children. They were about 6, 4, and 2 at the time. I believe the son was the youngest. After about a year they ended the relationship. It was mutual. Lee and his wife and 3 children went back to Kentucky for about a month to visit family. During this time my mother learned she was pregnant. When Lee came back to Pennsylvania she told him. He was going to be moving his family to California, where he had a job offer. He accused my Mom of wanting him back, which was not true at all. He denied it was his baby to everyone. He lied to his whole family. Privately, when he talked to my Mom on the phone, he was honest, and said he knew the baby was his. My mother was smart enough to have her father listen on the other line, to hear everything he said to her, which was the opposite of what he told everyone else. Lee and his wife Nancy went to the court hearing together after my birth, where it was proved that I was indeed Lee’s child. My birth certificate had Lee as my father, and I was given his last name. Because it wasn’t as accepted back then for a single mother to have a baby. So I got the fathers last name, Curtis. I would rather have had my mothers’ last name, but I understand. The judge ordered Lee to make monthly childcare payments to my Mom. My mother had a picture of me to show him. He told her he didn’t want to see it because it would make it harder. My mother stuck the photo in his face anyway, to make him see his daughter. I love her for that. So, Lee took his wife and 3 children to California. I believe somewhere around Covina, or Glendora. My Mom received one or maybe 2 checks for $35.00 signed by Lee’s wife. Then she never heard from them again. Not even when my Mom married my new Dad and they had to send adoption papers to Lee. Incase he wanted to contest the adoption. They heard nothing. So I was legally adopted by my Dad when I was 4 and got his last name. My Dad is the only Dad I have ever known or had. I do not think of him as a step dad. He is my father. I am so fortunate to have my Dad. He is a great Dad, and a good honest man, unlike Lee. My Dad and his family accepted me as if I were blood related to them. That says a lot about them.
As disappointing as it is that my biological father could just give me up, and forget about me; how amazing is it that my Dad chose to adopt another mans’ child, and raise me as his own, He is a very special man!
So, even though I grew up with both parents, a brother and an awesome extended family; there are still those missing puzzle pieces in my life. When I am asked about my medical history on both sides, I automatically start to check off things from my Dads side. Then I realize, wait…I don’t know about my biological fathers’ side. I know I look mostly like my Mom, I have even been told I look like my Dad, yet I wonder if I look like My biological father at all. Or have any traits from his family. Am I similar to his 2 daughters or son in anyway? Do my 2 half sisters and half brother even know about me? I have done some research to answer some of my questions. I believe my oldest half sister is living in Texas with her 2 older children, and lost her husband to cancer a year ago. Her younger sister is still in CA. married with 2 children about 18 and 20 years old. Their younger brother, I have not found much info on. I think he is in Ca. still. Lee and his wife are still in CA, I think, and possibly still together.
I wonder if he thinks about me. It was made clear to him that he could call my grandparents any time he wanted to find out how I was doing. He never did. When my grandmother passed away and the house was sold, it crossed my mind that he would never be able to ask about me. Yet I was in my 30’s by then and he hadn’t called once. Chances are he would never call. I wonder if he wanted nothing to do with me, or if his wife made it clear that if he wanted to stay with her he would have nothing to do with my Mom or I. Either way he is a coward. If it was to stay with his wife, then I really don’t care much for either of them. As a faithful wife of 21 years now, and a mother of 2 kids, I can not understand how you could give up a child. If my husband were to get another woman pregnant, I would never tell him to have nothing to do with the child if he wanted to stay with me. Whether or not our marriage could survive that, I don’t know. But I would expect him to take care of this child financially, and be in his childes life if he wanted. I would lose respect for him if he could walk away from one of his children. Thank goodness I have a great husband that would never do anything like that to his family.
What I wonder : Would Lee give me the information I want, if I had someone find him and ask? Would he ignore any requests I have? I don’t really have any interest in meeting him in person or getting to know him. I would like medical information, and a picture of him in the late 60’s when I was born. I would be interested in receiving a letter with anything he would like to tell me. Maybe answering some questions for me, like “Do you ever think about me?” (He does owe my Mom 4 years of child support!)
I would be interested in knowing if his children know about me. I am pretty sure they don’t though. I know they are religious, grown, have children. I would like to email them. I wish I knew for sure if they knew about me or not. Some times I feel angry, because I don’t know if it is right to contact them or not. If I’m a huge dark secret between Lee and his wife, would it be terrible to contact my half siblings? Surprise, I’m the sister you probably never knew about, but I would like to get to know you. Would they want to know about me? I’m conflicted, but my guess is I should not contact them unless I learned for sure they knew about me.
I feel like I don’t have a right to get to know my whole biological paternal side of my family because my biological father decided to have nothing to do with me. It sucks honestly, but that’s the way it is. Lee has siblings in Kentucky, I thought about contacting one of them, to get some answers. The problem is, I know he lied about me. I don’t know, but I imagine he claimed it was just a one night affair and that I probably wasn’t his. He and his wife may have lied to them about the outcome of the paternity tests for all I know. It is frustrating. Some days I can let it go, but others I feel like it is very unfair to have to live my whole life and never learn about those missing puzzle pieces I have wondered about. Here is the biggest long shot ever! If my siblings happen to know about me, or learn about me, and happen to read this….I would be happy to talk with you V.C., C.G.C., or D.J.C. (I know the two sisters have their husbands last names now, but I put C for Curtis.) Is that the long shots of all long shots or what? J
Feel free to leave comments, especially if you have any advice, or have been adopted and had similar feelings.