Saturday, May 15, 2010

Orphanage, Pt. 8: The Adoptive Parents

I have often expressed a wish to know what my months at the orphanage were like. From the information that Kraig had found in his research about the orphanage and shared with me, plus the interviews he did specifically with the daughter of a nurse and their time there during the time period I was there, and the daughter of another woman who was the night Baby Fold (as it was called) attendant, I was able to learn enough to know that it wasn't something out of Oliver Twist or Little Orphan Annie. In fact, there were rarely more than six babies in the Baby Fold at any given time, and most were only there for a matter of weeks. Since I was there for almost three months, it would suffice to say that a bond of sorts was formed by the caretakers. Although they obviously wouldn't remember me personally after 62 years, I was left with no doubt as to the tender loving care I would have received from them. While I was being cared for in the nursery of the orphanage, this was happening behind the scenes:

(FYI, there were many entries that I didn't include...no thanks necessary!)


8-10-48: In conference with Superintendent and CW supervisor, we are considering this baby for the Ecklunds.

8-13-48: Phoned the Ecklunds today and talked with both Mr. and Mrs. Ecklund. The background of baby girl Crawley was explained to them and both are interested and feel that the background is a match for them. They did hesitate on considering a girl, but it is not a matter of great importance to them as this is their first baby and they were not too set on their decision. Plans were made for them to come for baby Crawley at 3:00 P.M. today. Mrs. E said they would have to buy some clothes because of getting the baby so soon, but feel there is no need for delay as her husband is on vacation and it is convenient to get the baby.

(Later) The Ecklunds came to LBO today for their baby and it was easy to tell they were interested and excited because of things happening so quickly. A thorough picture of the baby's background was given to the Ecklunds and they were accepting of it, though they expressed their disappointment about not knowing more about the alleged father. It was emphasized that the baby was given for adoption because the mother loved her and not because she did not want her. This and other points will be given to the Ecklunds again during our period of supervision and before legal adoption. The Ecklunds do not know what they will call the baby yet, but will send an announcement to the agency. They brought along a lovely 'going home' outfit, and after she was dressed the baby was indeed lovely. During the presentation ceremony by Mrs. Brooks the child 'talked' aloud, but when Mrs. Brooks began to pray she began to cry. As she was placed in Mrs. Ecklund's arms, both Mr. and Mrs. Ecklund expressed their appreciation to the agency. Mr. Ecklund took pictures of his wife and baby as they left the agency and this will be the basis of their explanation to the child of how she came to them.

8-20-48: Received today birth announcement from the Ecklunds. Baby was named Linda Jean.

8-23-48: Phone call from Mrs. Fox who explained that Lillian would like to know the reaction of the adoptive parents to her baby. Mrs. Fox believes her request is a genuine one and a natural one. She wishes to know if they really like her baby and what their response was.

CW wished Mrs. Fox to assure Lillian that the adoptive parents were not only thrilled but most eager to give a home to Lillian's little girl. They unknowingly retained the name 'Linda' which Lillian had given her. Also the adoptive parents have written in explaining how much the baby resembles her and that they have expressed their appreciation to the mother for releasing such a lovely baby for them. Mrs. Fox believes this information will be of reassurance to Lillian. (Note: The first of several coincidences, Lillian had named me Linda Irene, after her mother Rhoda Irene. My adoptive mother's name was Irene. Also, they had not been told that the birth mother had named me Linda, and yet had chosen that name).

9-8-48: Phone call to Mrs. Ecklund to ask about the baby. She admitted that they are very fond of her and have found her to be a real joy to them. .. (misc. notes)... She has been a very easily managed child, eats well and is lots of company for them. The Ecklund's family and friends are all very glad they have the baby and have given her many gifts.

Although CW believes the E's are genuinely happy to have a baby, it was difficult to obtain even the above information from Mrs. E. She was not at all spontaneous in giving the information and CW had to question her on each point. She seemed to lack the usual enthusiasm that most adoptive parents have.

10-17-48: Mr. and Mrs. Ecklund came to LBO today to show their baby girl. The baby spent most of her time on her father's lap, and it could be plainly seen how much enjoyment he has in being a father. Both parents talked with freedom and ease about the baby's adjustment to their home and their love for her. ...(other misc. notes)...

10-19-48: Stopped by at the Ecklund home today and talked with Mrs. Ecklund for the first time since the placement of their baby . The CW had phoned about an hour before, and when she came the baby was neatly dressed and lying in bed. Most of the visit was held in the child's bedroom, at which time the CW observed the child. ...(misc. notes)... Mrs. Ecklund was obviously delighted to show off her baby, but her attitude was still rather reserved. Not once during the interview did she make an attempt to go over and pick up the baby and fondle or cuddle her or to hold her in her lap. ...(more misc. notes)...

3-3-49: CW visited the Ecklund home today. As soon as worker came into the bedroom where the baby was standing in her bed, the child began to shake all over. It lasted for about half a minute. Mrs. E went over to get the baby and picked her up. She brought her into the living room and held her while she told the worker she has noticed the baby having such shaking spells only during the past six weeks. They usually occur when a stranger enters. ...however, they have occasionally occurred when the child suddenly wakens from a nap. They believe such to occur because of shyness and fear rather than any emotional or nervous disorder. She has told their pediatrition about it and he believes there is little cause for concern because of the child's healthy condition. ...(several more paragraphs of notes)...

4-26-49: Worker visited the home today by appointment. Worker ws surprised to find Mr. Ecklund at home and he said he was sorry to be at home but that he was unemployed. He had been laid off about three weeks ago and has been unsuccessful in finding steady employment since. ...(misc. notes)... The couple are seriously considering moving to Fort Worth (Texas) and taking a job opportunity. It is plainly seen the Ecklunds are still young in their marriage and are one of the many young couples facing several changes before settling into an established position. Because of these temporary situations, Mr. and Mrs. Ecklund wish to proceed with adoption as most likely they will go on to Fort Worth within the next month or two.

They told that Linda's quivering spells are now almost terminated. They seldom occur and they believe she is becoming more adjusted to strangers. They have not found her unusually sensitive in other areas and believe now the doctor will give a recommendation that adoption be started.

Worker observed the child to be a happy, alert little girl. She was eager about being into the bookcase and the what-not shelves. Her mother took most of the responsibility for guidance during such investigations. Mrs. Ecklund seemed to be at ease and patient during such investigations, but worker wonders how long her patience will last. Mrs. Ecklund seems to be rather limited and flighty and a person who may not wear well. (In fact, she was an alcoholic who had a history of instability in her youth, and at one point some years later, after I had been removed from her custody, she was described by a hospital where she was committed for evaluation as having the social conscience of a fifteen year old. How strange to me that the worker picked up on this in her!) Mr Ecklund took no or little initiative in assisting his wife during such moments of curiousity. Yet on the other hand, he was affectionate and demonstrative with the child....On the whole, worker would not recommend a second placemement with this couple even though they were financially secure unless the adjustment of Linda proved to be a wholesome, happy one.

5-4-49: Mrs. Ecklund phoned to say they have now definitely considered going to Fort Worth.

5-9-49: Phone call from Mr. Hutchins who explained that the Ecklunds have engaged him as their attorney.

5-13-49: Phone call from Mrs. Ecklund explaining they are planning definitely to go to Texas. The Consolidated Aircraft Company is holding her husband's job open until they can arrive. The only thing holding them now are the adoption proceedings. (Under normal circumstances, adoptions were not finalized until after an entire year of supervision - they were asking for that to be cut short due to the move.)

6-28-49: Letter from Mr. Hutchins, attorney, advising that decree of adoption was entered in the County Court of Cook County on June 22, 1949, whereby Linda Irene Crawley was legally adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Tom Ecklund, and the child's name changed to Linda Jean Ecklund.

8-31-49: Case closed. Child legally adopted.

It's fitting that by coincidence I've finished this post on my birthday weekend. It was on my birthday a year ago that this whole journey of discovery began, the post that told about how I always asked questions on Mother's Day and my birthday, the post which found it's way to Kraig. But it hasn't just been my story, or Lillian's, or Tom and Irene's. It's about all those mother's who have given up their babies for whatever reason, all those hopeful adoptive parents, the children of adoption who long to know who they look like, and about all those boxes with information pertaining to those stories gathering dust somewhere.

Although I've finished going thru the papers Kraig uncovered, and finished with my 'search' for answers, I reserve the right to do one more post on what this has all meant to me, on what my reaction is to some of what I've found out, and most especially on what meeting a man like Kraig has meant to me. So: (to be continued...one more time)

20 comments:

Jeanie said...

Families are never simple, whether adoptive or otherwise. I love that you have the information that your mother gave you up because she loved you. The notes seem to prove that there is no question about that fact. That seems to be the jewel in this wealth of information. The whole story about how you came about all this information is just amazing.
Happy birthday. I hope it has been a very good one.

yaya said...

Happy Birthday to you and thanks for sharing this amazing story. I hope it has brought peace and comfort to you.

Bernie said...

Hope your birthday was great and I am happy that you received all of this information....you deserve answers and Kraig has provided many of them....looking forward to your next post on this.
.........:-) Hugs

lakeviewer said...

Happy Birthday! I'm glad all this information you are receiving is filling those curious holes and can put you at ease about your situation. It must not have been an easy adjustment, nevertheless.

Timoteo said...

Yes, very telling comments in the record about your adoptive mother. I find it ironic that a birth mother gives up her baby so that the child can have a "better" life, when in many instances it doesn't turn out that way with the adoptive parents.
Similar kind of thing happened with me.

BUT LOOK AT YOU NOW! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

ethelmaepotter! said...

This story continues to fascinate me.

How sweet, maternal, and wistful that Lillian wanted to insure you would be in good hands with your new family. I hope you can find comfort in the knowledge that she truly loved you.

Your shaking spells - could that in any way have been the forerunner of your seizure disorder?

By the way, do you have Ecklund relatives in Nashville? My friend who had to be literally cut out of her roof during the flood is an Ecklund!

Happy MEANINGFUL birthday!

kobico said...

I guess you were destined to be called Linda! It seems this year-long journey that began and ended on your birthday has been fruitful. Happy belated birthday.

Michele R said...

What a year of information this has been. Information technology to put your story out there and now all this info despite it being from 60+ years ago. Your birth mother really loved you and the LBO sounds like the best. I am amazed at how CW kept all those notes and observations. Families that we come from can be so complicated. The ones we choose to have with us now are so special.

Mattenylou said...

Hi Linda, Happy Birthday wishes to you!

Wow, you are finding out so much information... I'm sure Lillian just wanted the best for you.

Sounds like this past year has opened many doors, hopefully the future will have it all fall into place for you.

My Aimless Infatuation said...

I have finally caught up on reading your blog,once I started reading your orphanage series,I couldn't stop until I read it all. I am so happy for you that after all these years you have the answers to so many questions. I hope this has brought you some peace in your heart. Maybe your Mother sent Mr.Kraig to you,never can tell. Looking forward to your next post and your feelings on this subject now.

Wine and Words said...

Amazing journey! It struck me when reading about Baby Crawley...how odd that getting a child can seem so like a "transaction", like purchasing a car, picking the type...coupe or truck...test driving, checking the "fit". It's almost absurd really. But it is how it goes with adoption.

Happy Birthday!!! So much information must truly be an unexpected gift the year has given you!

Loui♥ said...

I too was an unwed mother, adoption was the answer for me. My daughter, found me 5 years ago on Mother's Day..we have talked so many times..I've met her family, including her Mom, who is the epitome of my hopes!
I won't go into all the details, but my choice was based on what was best for my child, and was made with the deepest love on my part. To have her in my life again is sheer joy..and I am thankful to God for allowing our story to become a reality.
You may read our story on my blog..under adoption.
warmest hugs..
Loui♥

glnroz said...

Ms. Wanderer,, this has been such an astonding story. You should be very proud of your efforts in getting all this information together. It reads like a movie,, glenn

Wendy said...

Strange that they would say that this couple shouldn't receive another baby ("On the whole, worker would not recommend a second placement with this couple"), but they were willing to let them keep you, and speed up the evaluation period even.

And super cool that they both named you Linda.

I'm glad you've gotten all this info. I'm sure it helps somewhat.

Donna B said...

Oh Linda!! What a journey you have been on! The last post I had read was when you had just met Kraig and he wanted to interview you. Between then and now I have gotten way behind on reading your blog.

Happy Belated Birthday. I look forward to going back and reading forward. Just read the last couple of posts. What a Blessing Kraig has been. What a relief to know how much your Mom loved you.

Now that we have decided to stay where we are for awhile, have done the RM, and Dad seems to be healing and doing well...I plan on catching up with you.

What a wonderful circle of life you have been on.... HUGS!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Sounds like you had a very good beginning. With so few babies on hand, they took good care of you.

That the Eckunds named you Linda also - that seems like such a comfort. I hope so.

On 9/8, that Mrs. Ecklund was not very enthusiastic. Perhaps overwhelmed and tired, and trying to figure out how to be a mother.

I'm surprised with all the details. I know I don't know all these things about myself. I asked my mom when she was here about my first three months. She just said, "You ate, you slept, you were so good."

So, on to the next post. I'm behind, but catching up. Fascinating.

Anonymous said...

Genial post and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you for your information.

Anonymous said...

[url=http://hairtyson.com]phentermine 375[/url] are tablets that help slacken up on confederation weight. One of these tabs has to be captivated with water, almost 20 minutes ahead a refection, twice a day.

Anonymous said...

[url=http://www.payloansonline.com]payday advance[/url]
This is the best way to get all your health products online like green coffee, african mango, phen375 and others. Visit now

[url=http://www.prweb.com/releases/triactol/bustserum/prweb10184287.htm]Triactol[/url]

Anonymous said...

[url=http://garciniacambogiaselectz.weebly.com]
garcinia cambogia dosage for weight loss[/url] is the superior obese fervid wring readily obtainable in vend these days a days. Yield upto 10 kg in 1 month. garcinia cambogia select