At the age of five or six, my parents told me that I had another Mom and Dad. While I was too young to fully understand, I felt like it made some sort of sense, but I refused to believe them. Because my Mom and Dad were MY Mom and Dad, the ones I'd known my entire life. I didn't want another Mom and Dad. What if they were mean and scary? [box] "You were adopted."
"You have another mom and dad who loved you very much, but they couldn't keep you, and they wanted us to be your Mom and Dad."[/box]
As I continued to grow, I'd get a reminder, once in a while. I'd often wonder who they were; what they did. Did I pass them in the aisle at the supermarket? Did they look like me? Sometimes, I'd think I'd never know. Sometimes, I'd wonder: one day, I'll find my Mother. I didn't know how, but could only trust in that dream.
Sherry and Robert wanted to have a child so badly, but had been unsuccessful. In 1971, they decided to adopt, and we're put through a pretty rigid procedure in order to be qualified to be "parents" in the eyes of the State of California.
In 1971, when they were finally ready, they had a small bedroom converted into a nursery, and could only wait until they got a phone call from the adoption agency. Months went by. My mom's sister, Susan, was pregnant with twins, and with this reality, my mom could only wonder when her time would come.
In the nearby town of Sonoma, a young woman named Laura, learned that she was pregnant, and unplanned at that. She wanted to have the baby, and went through her pregnancy knowing that this child would be given up for adoption. Years later, she would tell me that she knew it was the right decision, one that she trusted would give me a better life. "After all, I had no way to raise you the way I wanted."
When I was born, she named me Brian.
My father, Michael, wanted to keep me. And tried very hard to make it that way. Laura persisted.
And for a few days, was able to visit me in the maternity ward, until I was placed in an orphanage, waiting to be adopted.
The paperwork completed by the social worker, her rights relinquished to the State, I was made to wait for two parents. She thought she'd never see me again. What's funny about the adoption paperwork is how it says the parents cannot contact the child.
Two weeks later, in early December 1971, Sherry got the phone call that changed her life. She and Robert suddenly were buying diapers and supplies and formula, and rushed to the adoption agency to pick me up to bring me home. "It was my Christmas gift," she would later tell me.
The day before I came home, my aunt Susie had twins - making the month of December all the more meaningful. All of a sudden, there were three new babies in the family; within 24 hours.
I was named Scott.
As I grew up, I was given a promise by my parents: When I turned 18, I would be given something related to my adoption.
When I turned 18, I was handed a faded envelope with the words "Department of Social Welfare" printed in capital letters in the upper-left corner. Inside, one folded sheet of paper. On this piece of paper were two typewritten paragraphs:
[tabs slidertype="left tabs"] [tabcontainer] [tabtext]Mother[/tabtext] [tabtext]Father[/tabtext] [/tabcontainer] [tabcontent] [tab]"The natural mother is described as having a tenth-grade education and has had employment as a restaurant cook."[/tab] [tab]"The natural father is a high-school graduate and has served with the United States Navy."[/tab] [/tabcontent] [/tabs]
Well, with those types of descriptions, I could only dream up more stories about who these two people were. It still didn't explain my red hair. For all I knew, I thought I was either Italian or Irish. Far from it, I'd later learn. But it gave me something to start with, when I began my search years later.
The story of how I found Laura is another one for another time. But what I know is that there a lot of people in the world who don't have a story like mine. Many adoptees don't have a relationship with their birth-parent. I know a few people who struggle with this very personal and devastating issue.
And on every Mother's Day, I have the incredible opportunity to say to both Sherry & Laura: THANK YOU so much for being the incredible individuals that you are. You both have made me what I am, and for all of the hard work you both have done in your life, you both deserve to be celebrated. Thank you for your strength, for your kindness, love, humor, and wisdom. Thank you for being there for me. For giving me so much in my life, and fulfilling my dreams. Hopefully, I've fulfilled yours.
I love you both from the bottom of my heart.