Tag Archives: chance coincidence and luck in adoption search

My First Contact with My Son

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How would I manage my first contact with my son? I’d said good-bye to him in Iowa 20 years earlier.

Post Adoption Contact

I was not entirely sure how to initiate my first contact with my son.

As a regular attendee of the monthly Concerned United Birthparents meetings, I picked up some tips there. How to have modest expectations. How to approach the situation with an open mind. How to put myself in the shoes of my son. I didn’t want to shock him or frighten him. Most importantly, I didn’t want to lay my grief on him.

And there’s also this more recent guidance from American Adoption Congress.

After a lot of thinking, I found my path.

The letter

Not long before Christmas I decided I was ready to make my first post-adoption contact with my son. I wrote a letter to him, detailing who I was and how I’d come to place him  for adoption. And I enclosed a faded color snapshot of his biological father and me dressed in our pastel evening finery at our senior prom. What would my son think when he saw those two innocent smiles? Would he realize that he was in the photo too?

Christmas was just a couple of weeks away, so I put the letter in a red envelope, hoping to pass it off as a Christmas card. If he doesn’t write me back in a couple of weeks, I thought, I’ll call him.

The mail fell in heaps through the slot in our front door during the week before Christmas. I’d hear our dog bark, and I’d race to the entry hall to contemplate the holiday envelopes strewn on the rug. Examining each one, I hoped for a return address from my son, but there was nothing. At the meetings I’d heard adoptees say that reuniting with a birthparent could make the adoptive parents feel abandoned or threatened. I told myself my son was just taking it slow out of consideration for his family. But even ten days later there was no response.

A phone call

When I first received information about my son, I learned some basic details. That he lived at home with his parents. That he had a sister. That he worked as an information operator for the phone company.

The searcher had given me my son’s phone number and pointed out that the line was separate from his parents’ line. Consequently, I began working up the nerve to call him. But first, I wanted to find out if my son shared his phone line with his sister. This would be important if I called and left a message.

One afternoon shortly after New Year’s, while my daughters were napping, I sat on my bedroom floor with the telephone in my lap. Because I knew his sister’s name, I could call information to get her number and see if it was the same as his. I dialed information for Mesa, Arizona with my pencil at the ready. “Hello, this is C***. May I help you?” said the operator. I gasped at hearing my son’s name and slammed down the phone. I lay flat on my back on the cool oak floor of my bedroom. Was it possible that I had just spoken to my son?

I would find out later that I had.

Adoption Search and Chance

Finding a sibling

Adoption search and chance can be good partners. Sometimes it takes a little luck to find the person you’re looking for. Sometimes it takes a lot of luck. Or in some cases, people aren’t really searching at all, but chance plays a role in revealing a sibling or a birthparent.

The world is full of adoptees and birthmothers, some reunited and many still unknown to one another. There are siblings out there, too. So many siblings. Some of whom dream of having a brother or a sister and don’t know that they already have one. And maybe that person they’re wishing for has the same brown eyes or the same dimple. Or a similar set of freckles, or loves the same kind of chocolate ,or drives the same car. I’ve seen statistics that say there are somewhere between two million and six million birthmothers alive today in the U.S. Probably no one knows how many are reunited with their children. If you consider the siblings that have been separated by adoption, there are millions of people out there looking for each other.


Finding my son

I dreamed of finding my son by chance almost from the moment I let him go. And although, coincidence has salted a pretty healthy dash of “you must be kidding” to our story, I don’t think we would have ever found one another if I hadn’t searched for him. Searching for my son, due to the sealed records in the state of Iowa, was a frustrating and useless venture. But Chance was there all the same waiting in the form of a person who’d happened to hear of a person, who knew of a person who could help. I have no idea who that person was. If it was a man or a woman, an adoptee or a birthparent, maybe even an adoptive Parent. but if I had to give the person a name, I’d call him/her Mr. or Ms. Chance.