June 24, 2008

Be Brave

Riding a toy-horse
© Photographer: Surkov_vladimir | Agency: Dreamstime.com

My son rode a grocery store "horsey" (kiddie ride) for the first time! 
He has always been a little leary but today he let me lift him up and hold him when the ride began.  Then he let out a lonnngggg LOUD scream ~ I call it his primal scream.  It is his way of "letting it all hang out" emotionally, and I'm trying hard to let him. 

It was great to see the little smile erupt across his face as he realized what fun he had been missing. What a joy as his Mom. When it stopped, I took him in my arms & gave him a big hug ~ told him how very brave he was. Another smile, and he said "I'm brave" all the way out to the car. It was heart-warming. 

I have been working with the hospital of my birth (interestingly enough, also the hospital of my son's birth, and my first Mother's ~ wow) for the past 3 years to obtain my birth records. My doctor has also requested them on 2 separate occasions, and after 3 years and receiving letters stating they had searched and not found my records, I now HAVE THEM! My footprints, my nursery notes, everything!

Everything EXCEPT for the one most important thing I need to know medically ~ WHY I was born by c-section. 
It was quite surreal having to squint my eyes so hard to read the faint print describing my first few days of life. One nurse noted that my "heart rate was elevated due to crying" on the day of my discharge (to an attorney of all people).  I left the hospital as a defenseless newborn with an attorney. Never really processed that before. According to one story, my adoptive parents "picked me up" at the hospital. It is strange that there was no mention of that in my records ~ just that I was discharged to an attorney. In fact, this man is still in practice.

My doctor feels both me and my son were medically at risk because of not knowing my family medical history. He was born 3 months early after I developed pre-eclampsia. She has requested my Mother's labor/delivery records to review and hopefully find out why she had to have a c-section, and can properly treat me for any subsequent pregancies I may have. 
Well, the hospital has now sent me the same letter stating that they have searched for my Mother's labor/delivery records and have exhausted all efforts unsuccessfully. I am very reluctant to believe her records are not there, because I also received letters to this effect SEVERAL times the past few years, pertaining to my birth records, and they STILL somehow miraculously found them.

So, I've been contemplating what my next step should be, after taking break after break from this emotionally exhausting situation. BUT TODAY I happened to be at the hospital for other business, and rode in the elevator with a lady who I noticed had an important title posted on her badge. I GOT BRAVE and stopped her right as she exited the elevator. She was very gracious and allowed me to step off with her and explain my entire situation for the millionth (it seems) time. She profusely apologized for the delays and problems I had encountered, and took my information, promising to get back with me with any information she could find. So...I left shaking, yet again, hoping that somehow my persistence would pay off. I thanked God for this divine encounter, and answering my prayers to give me hope for these records.

Honestly, my hospital records are the closest connection I have with my Mother, since she passed away while searching for me, and before I could find her. She died thinking she had given birth to a son because of what the hospital and attorney told her, after waking up from the c-section. I would like to know if my records might somehow explain the first few days or hours of our lives when we were together. Anything ~ one more nugget of information ~ helps me feel closer and able to somehow embrace her and the connection we have.

When I was first trying to get my adoption records opened, (after already obtaining my obc, finding my first family, and finding out that my first mom had already passed away, while searching for me) the court house ALSO told me that they were unable to find my records ~ sheesh. I called this same attorney to ask if there could have been some mistake, since the courthouse supposedly couldn't find record of my adoption. He asked how I was able to obtain my original birth certificate, and when I told him about the court-order, he said, "if I had done my job right, you would have NEVER been able to find anything". I was so caught off guard that I, unfortunately, could think of no clever comebacks at the time. Just my insides shaking...

Well, I'm getting stronger ~ with each new step ~ with every obstacle and every time I have to "explain" the situation over and over to some stranger ~ my voice doesn't shake anymore, and in fact, I get satisfaction with every encounter, because I know I'm educating someone about the issues of "sealed" records for adult adoptees. It's time to stop feeling uncomfortable, even if it means making others feel it for a change. Thank you, God, for helping me find my voice.

My next venture on this journey is to make a face-to-face visit with this "attorney" while he's still in practice and alive ~ when I can finally take ALL my records with me, sit down with him (hopefully) and get whatever information he can add to my story. Most importantly, does he remember anything about my Mother?

I may not be able to trust what he tells me ~ but think about it ~ adoptees are forced to decipher through second-hand "stories" of their birth, beginnings, adoption, journey ~ their entire lives. We are at the mercy of paperwork, (praying to God for truth to be written) social workers, doctors, attorneys, judges, paps, aparents, first parents & family ~ just to know who in the heck we are and what our story entails.

I've heard it said, "you can't go forward, until you know what's past." Why should I (or any adoptee) at 40 years old STILL be having to deal with this basic developmental task? Because of unethical laws and procedures surrounding the supposed "GIFT" of adoption. And then we are spoken of as ungrateful?

Adoptees have to be SO BRAVE to continue their searches amidst the hush, hush attitudes surrounding adoption. It is tough. Very tough. Searching is life-long, no matter how much we find, connect, and integrate ~ it is truly life-long and exhausting.

So please hope with me...and I'll pray for all adoptees and first moms who are searching. For success and peace and HOPE.


Alare said...

I am so sad that your n-mom died in the midst of her search for you . . . how sick is it that we must run an infinite amount of hurdles just to get information on ourselves--and then some have to deal with finding a grave . . .I just don't get it.

I am hoping for you and for all of us, hoping that we will find our own information and hoping to finally not be a second-class citizen by virtue of adoption.

Anonymous said...

I will dedicate my yoga practise to you tomorrow and will send you good energy for this.

Samantha Franklin said...

Thank you both so much for your good thoughts and support...it means alot. Hugs, Peach

Jenny said...

Wanted to let you know I stopped by to read your son's pony story. ;) The rest of your story was interesting to me as an aunt to her adopted niece. I will pass these thoughts on to my sister.