The End...No, the Beginning

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Ever had an internal struggle because of some life changing information? This is my story...

Submitted: November 28, 2011

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Submitted: November 28, 2011

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I have had a knot of apprehension and fear in my chest and throat for several weeks now. It’s the result of a discovery that I was never supposed to find. It feels like the conclusion of a book by Jodi Piccoult, an ending with tears and a reunion of acceptance and loving. But I’m not sure if that’s really what I want; an ending to all of this. My whole life has revolved around this knowledge and this problem for the entire time I’ve been in existence and I finally get to complete the task.

Twenty years ago a young woman, twenty-five, in her prime and enjoying life on the wild side received the shocking news that she was pregnant. I can’t imagine what she went through, I made a decision a long time ago I wasn’t going to ever even have to think about that, but I’m grateful for the decision she made.

Despite the fact that her parents and her family wanted her to keep her unborn child she knew she had to give the baby up. She was not ready to be a mother, certainly not a single one. The father was a friend of hers and neither loved the other. So Holly made the decision to give her baby up for adoption; which is the beginning of my story.

I always knew growing up that I was adopted, never really thought much of it, it gave me a great ‘something unique about you’ comment for the first day of school get-to-know-you games. I had questions about Holly, but I never wondered why she gave me up, I never even considered that she didn’t love me. I only knew that I loved her in some strange way and that I wanted to meet her.

When I was ten I started making full use of the internet. I tried people searching sites and googled ‘find birthparents’ but never got any results. At times I felt as though the people that created me never really existed or that they just didn’t exist on the internet.

At eleven I knew that Holly wasn’t my mother, my mother was the woman who raised me, the woman who was there when I was terrified of the monsters in my closet, the woman who had hidden my Easter basket, played Santa, and the Tooth Fairy. But, regardless of how I much I loved my parents I couldn’t get it out of my head that I wanted to meet Holly.

I asked questions again at fourteen. My mother decided that I was mature enough to learn that I had met Holly and my half-brother. I had been four, Holly had called one day, out of the blue, and said wanted to see me, wanted to meet my parents.

I remember Holly. She was the beautiful woman with the long blonde hair and the pretty smile. I knew that she loved me, but I didn’t know why. No one told me that she was the woman who gave birth to me, a four year old wouldn’t have understood that, but I did know that I loved her and she reciprocated that love.

At my high school graduation I asked my parents if they would help me find her so I could send a graduation announcement. When they tried and failed to contact the woman that had initiated the contact and the adoption I accepted that and went on with my life until my grandpa died the summer after my freshman year of college.

The road trip out to Ohio was adventurous, one that brought all the family together and the talk of what it was like to have Nedreberg blood in your veins. My sister and I are the only ones in the family, aside from those brought in by marriage, to lack this Norwegian pride of florescent white skin and loud booming voices.

It was with this talk of family that had me up till three in the morning with my mom in the bedroom where my grandfather slept (Grandma didn’t sleep with him because he snored so loud she couldn’t sleep). We talked about family, about how much life had changed and about Holly. She said, my wonderful mother with all of her kindness and understanding, “When you’re ready to look for her we’ll help you find her.”

Mommy and Papa, as I still call them even at twenty years old, have always been very open and willing to talk about Holly whenever I brought it up. They have never been pushy about it, never asked why I wanted to look, why I was so desperate to look for a woman who gave me up when I was born. They never asked the question that I know so many other adoptive parents have asked, “Did we not do enough for you?”

They always allowed me to bring it up. My little sister has never brought it up of her own will. She looks at it differently than I do, which is okay and as far as I know neither of my parents have pressured her about it. Regardless of how willing they were to talk about it when I asked, I have always been nervous about talking about it, especially in front of Papa. I usually bring it up with Mommy, out of security. I feel as though I can talk to her more easily about it.

When I approached my twentieth birthday I began to feel the nagging that I always do around my birthday. It’s the nagging that initiates another search and another disappointment, but the promise that I’ll just get on again in a few months, maybe a year and look again. It always sends me off into a letter writing mode that is left in an encrypted file on my computer or a hand written one in a journal.

This year I wrote one, knowing it would never get to her, never reach her hands and she would not see the words I wrote on the page. It was a kind letter, one explaining much of what I do around my birthday and the struggle I go through when I deal with the rejection from just another Google search. I spoke about how I felt right in continuing my search for her that through prayer I knew I was supposed to keep going and that one day I would find her.

After I wrote the letter I discovered that I could get information about her through the state I was adopted in and so it was off to the Notary’s office and a letter sent away to the California Department of Social Services. Then, out of guilt,  I traveled home one weekend away from my job as a Resident Assistant at my University and explored the filing cabinets where all the important papers are stored.

Rifling through the deed to the house, the mortgage, the numerous finger paintings, watercolors, drawings, and awards I had no idea my parents kept after all this time, I finally found the large folder marked Adoption Papers.

Clutching the folder, feeling guilty, I traveled upstairs to where my mother was sitting, the tears growing in my eyes as I walked up the two flights of stairs. “I lied about why I was coming home today.” I said walking toward her, still feeling horrible. “I wanted to get more information about Holly.” I dropped the folder on the kitchen counter and began shuffling through the papers to avoid making eye contact.

I explained to her what was happening while she made tomato soup and listened understandingly. She was so patient, offering no words until I was finished. I told her that I wanted to find Holly and that I wanted to get it done before going on my mission, because I couldn’t stand to deal with the questions while I was away for eighteen months.

After discussing it with her I could tell she had some information that she was holding back. It was only after using the skills of manipulation I had learned in high school debate that I managed to get her to tell me what it was. And she only told me after she called Papa at work and asked him. When she hung up the phone she pulled me to the computer and told me to log onto facebook.

I was confused because I had looked at facebook several times in the past and Holly never popped up on the site. She didn’t tell me to type in Holly’s name, instead she pulled out a picture from a scrapbook she had made when she had met Holly when I was four. On the back of a picture with Holly and her son, my half-brother, she instructed me to type in his name. When I did I was flabbergasted to discover that I had five mutual friends with him and one of those friends was my little sister.

I had gone to Junior high with my little brother who, chances are, doesn’t even know I exist. He is best friends with one of my sister’s best friends, who lives in my parent’s neighborhood. For eight years of my life, Holly had been living two and a half miles away from me. They moved the summer after I graduated.

My Mom told me that when their efforts to contact the woman who helped adopt me, she had looked Holly up on facebook and then tried my little brother. That was when she discovered the shocking news. When they called Holly she did not respond well. She was angry and scared. I hated her instantly when I heard what she had said to my parents, that she had been so cruel and obviously didn’t care about me. I was upset and hurt and all the fantasies I had entertained about her accepting me exploded into a million bits.

After Mommy told me the dramatic tale all I could think to say was, “So I’m related to a psychotic bitch?”

I doubt that was the reaction that she was expecting, but it was the one she got. I was still horribly confused, but for the moment I was relieved. The more painful emotions came later. They especially came at three in the morning on the 13th of November, the morning after my birthday when I crawled into bed with Mommy crying because I was so upset.

But I made a decision. I was going to contact her, even if she didn’t want it. I was going to meet her and I was going to truly understand the woman who gave birth to me. So I wrote another letter. This one detailing how I disliked her, but how I was still grateful for her decision. When I concluded that a letter was not the way to contact her, I began to think of other alternatives. I didn’t want to call her on the phone, that would be too shocking, not just for her, but for me as well. I finally decided that I would write her a small little letter saying that I wanted to meet her over Christmas break and leave my contact information with it.

The first couple of letters were too terse, as Mommy put it. So I revised and came out with a more sincere version.

Dear Holly, it says, trapped inside the little envelope in my cold hands. I have been thinking about you for several years and I have always wanted to meet you and get to know you. Below I left my contact information and concluded with: I really am looking forward to meeting you. You have been a constant source of wonder in my life and I want to get to know the woman who gave me the life I have today. Please contact me. Love, Meradee.

This letter holds so much possibility for so many things. I face rejection, fear, anger, happiness, and so much more that I haven’t even considered. I know that the moment I place this letter in the mailbox I will be opening myself up to it. Maybe it isn’t the beginning of a story, I think as I take another step toward the box, maybe it’s the beginning of one. I push open the little silver door, hesitate for just a moment letting the cold seep into my fingers, knowing that once this letter goes in it’s the point of no return.

I pull the letter out stare at it again and begin to walk away from the box. I will not send it tonight. But I stop again only ten feet from the mail box. I rush back open the door and slide it in without hesitation and walk away, ready to wait.


© Copyright 2017 Meradee. All rights reserved.

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