Tuesday, May 17, 2011
The Very Curious Case of a Newfound Cousin
As one of my favorite philosophers once said “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”. (And yes it is perfectly fine to claim a make believe movie character as a favorite philosopher.)
Anyway where was I? Oh, right. So last Monday evening, I got a call on my cell when I was at a music class with Su and the boys from the 508 area code.
I immediately took the call because to me the 508 area code means one thing—Boston. And when I get a call from Boston, it usually means one thing. My only living aunt on my dad’s side has had a fall or something at the nursing home where she lives. (My aunt really has no other close relatives left besides me and my siblings and I’m the one who has stayed closest to her).
Well it wasn’t the nursing home calling, but the call did have something to do with my aunt. Seems when Massachusetts changed some laws in the past few years, it became possible for people who had been given up for adoption to get their hands on their birth certificates which before then had been sealed.
I was in shock as the man on the other end asked me if I had any idea how he could locate the name of the birth mother listed on his birth certificate (I have the same last name as my aunt and his internet sleuthing had given him a hunch to call the numbers he found for me.)
The funny thing is that if he’d have called me several years ago, I would not have had any idea what he was talking about. But through a series of events a few years ago, I had learned that she’d given birth to a boy in the late 1960s whom she’d given up for adoption. Now I was talking to him.
I must admit I was in shock. (He was in more shock though to have found someone who knew how to reach her!)
I’ll make a long story short. He’s a very nice guy that has done very well for himself. He’s got a wonderful family (they have two young kids) and a job with lots of travel and responsibilities. I actually got to meet him face to face the other day for lunch which was great!
And now, in a few hours, for the first time ever, he’s going to talk to his birth mom on the phone.
The nursing home staff has been wonderful. When I called them after learning this shocking news they strategized first before talking to her about it so she'd have the support she needed if this was going to be too overwhelming for her. She’d kept this secret a long time after all. But after saying "wow" she also thought it was really interesting and wants to talk to him and hopefully meet him.
I don’t know if he’ll find all the answers he’s looking for. My aunt is a bit of a “character” and has some mental health issues that make it hard to know how she’ll deal with stuff or even what she’ll say.
But I find myself so rooting for this connection (reconnection) to be a good one for both of them.
More than anything I’m just very grateful that he is healthy and has had a good life. I think that every mom who makes that painful decision to put up her child for adoption wishes for nothing more than that.
And when all is said and done, I know is that my siblings and I feel like we’ve gained some nice new cousins out of all this. Curious case indeed. -M