Friday, November 13, 2009

My Adoption Story: Part 3 ORPHANAGE LETTER

The day the letter came was one of the most emotional experiences of my life. I would finally have some idea of who my mother was and why she had given me up. As I read the letter through the first time, I felt as if I were intruding on someone’s life. As I read it a second time, I realized that I was reading about my mother! I cried as I read it through the third time:

“I have your written request for information from you adoption file. We can understand your need to know and are happy to provide any information we have except that which might identify the natural parents, since that part of the record is sealed by law.”

“Your first question deals with the issue of the delay between your birthday, May 15, and the date of the relinquishment by the mother to the agency for adoption. According to the record, your mother was having difficulty with the decision to relinquish. This ambivalence was increased because of the pressure of other young mothers in the hospital who urged her to keep the child. The worker from the Lake Bluff Orphanage sensed the fact that your mother had not really resolved her feelings in the matter and encouraged her not to sign
until they had been able to help her work through her real feelings in the matter. The worker from the agency actually delayed the signing of the papers two weeks beyond the time when the mother wanted to sign just to be sure. This case worker developed a very warm relationship with her and it is obvious that your mother came to the belief that she was helping you by making it possible for someone else to give you the care which she was not in a position to give you at that early stage in her life.”

“You asked about where she was confined during her pregnancy. The police-
woman who befriended her after she had hitchhiked to Chicago actually took her into her own home until some of the neighbors complained about that. The kindly policewoman then arranged for her to enter one of the maternity homes in the city. At the time of delivery then, she was admitted to a hospital.”

“According to our records, the medical information show that your mother was a very healthy person and that there were no hereditary diseases. She was born December 29, 1928, and was of French-English-Irish descent. Because she had not had a stable home and family life, and not been able to complete grade school, she had been employed from an early age. According to the record, she ‘is a petite, healthy looking nineteen year old girl from Galveston, Texas. She has brown hair, blue eyes, and a fair complexion. She is about 5 feet 1 inch tall and well proportioned.’

“There is an indication that she was interested in sports such as skating, swimming, and bowling. She had left home at the age of sixteen and lived independently, working as a file clerk.”

“We have no information about the putative father except her report that he was 23 years of age, had dark hair, and probably graduated from high school.”

“I hope this information is helpful to you. Having read the file carefully, I am convinced that your natural mother struggled through a difficult decision and finally came to the conclusion that it was in your best interests, given her difficult life situation, to give you up for adoption by a family which could offer more stability.”

“Given the kind of world she lived in then, that seemed to be the most selfless plan and one made in genuine concern for your well being. If she were making that same decision today, she would be facing a different world and with different options. But according to our records, and given the world in which she was living at that time, she and the workers from the orphanage felt that she was making a good decision. I hope you feel that way, too.”

Besides the emotional impact the letter had on me, it also supplied me with enough information to give my search direction. She was born on December 29, 1928, she was from Galveston, Texas, and she had gone to work as a file clerk at the age of sixteen - and the chances were very good that her last name was Crawley. Now the real work would begin. (to be continued...Part 4 here)


glnroz said...

humm,, wow

Michele Renee said...

You know, I had no idea that you would be getting that much info from someone in the mail, who actually read through your file. I can only imagine how many times you read that and how long it was before you took a breath!

Missy said...

You must have been SO excited!

Anonymous said...

Wow. That information was so thorough. Due to those damn hippa laws now, you wouldn't be able to find out if your mom was listed as F or M !

(male or female)

And a cop took her in?

Damn. Where's the good ol' days when you need 'em.

Sounds like she had burdens to bear darlin.

ethelmaepotter! said...

I stopped by to say thanks for reading my blog and leaving such nice comments, and I find myself totally captivated by your adoption story. I can't wait to hear the rest of it, so I'm signing up to follow your blog.

lakeviewer said...

You got a whole lot of information and interpretation too.

Bernie said...

Sorry I am so late getting here, I am amazed at what info you received in letter form....I am so looking forward to reading more. You are a wonderful, strong, warm and loving woman....:-) Hugs

Oz Girl said...

What an amazing letter. They not only gave you more information, but they supplied this information with emotion and warmth. They made sure to stress that your mother did not give you up without great difficulty, and I'm sure that must have made you feel much better. Given her circumstances at that time, it was the best that she could do.

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