I’ve spent the past few days trying to make myself go back in my mind to the moment after I hung up the phone. What had I been feeling, and what were the thoughts going through my mind at that moment? I kept coming up blank, recalling nothing, no feeling of relief, no anxiety, no satisfaction, just nothing more than a weird sadness I didn’t understand. Five years is a long time, but was it the passage of time that was making it difficult to remember? Was it that, emotionally, I didn’t want to remember? Why couldn’t I put my thoughts and feelings, into words?
As I lay in bed last night going over things in my mind, I finally came to the conclusion that I must have been emotionally numb. Maybe, I had been in some type of survival mode? It had all happened so quickly, at least, that’s how it seemed to me. As the saying goes, “Time flies when you are having fun”? Then it hit me. I knew exactly what it felt like and how to describe it: a smack in the nose!
Being blind, obviously driving myself to work is out of the question, so my husband drives me to work. One morning my husband had gone out to the car ahead of me. As I stepped out of the kitchen into the garage, I heard the normal sounds of the outdoors, such as crickets, and the wind blowing. Hearing those sounds led me to assume that my husband had left the door, leading outside to the car, open, which wasn’t unusual. What I hadn’t realized was that he had left it, only, partially open. Hearing the outside noises, and assuming the door was wide open; I forged ahead, full speed, and was quite surprised when, wap, my nose was the first to make contact with the corner of the door, followed by the rest of me.
AS a blind person, I’m a bit accustomed to running into things, so taking it in stride is not unusual. Though this stunned me a bit more than my average, unintentional altercation with a solid object, I, simply, stepped back, pushed the door the rest of the way open, and stepped through, bringing my hand up to my nose.
My husband had heard the smack, and had come running around the car just as I opened the car door and was getting in. He stopped me from getting in and worriedly asked if I were all right. As calmly as if nothing had happened, my hand still holding my nose, I just replied, “I think this is going to hurt.” At the time, my nose was completely numb.
With each passing minute, as the swelling slowly grew, so did the pain, and the realization of what had just happened. My husband looked at my nose and told me it didn’t look good, to which I responded, “It’s not that bad. It doesn’t really hurt. It will be alright.” By the end of the day, my nose was twice its normal size, and beginning to turn black, blue, green, and yellow. It’s a safe bet to say, it was, indeed, a teeny, tiny, bit tender, and wasn’t quite as “alright” as I had originally thought. It wasn’t broke, but considering how bad it hurt, it might as well have been.
Now that you have that particular picture in your mind, I hung up the phone. WAP!!! With every minute that passed, realization, slowly, began to set in. On the way home that afternoon, I finally told my husband about the call. I don’t recall what exactly he said. Knowing my husband, it wasn’t much, but I do recall he had that same worried tone as when the door got the better of my nose. AS time passed, my phone not ringing, I told myself it would be all right. It wasn’t that bad, but the swelling had begun. By the end of the day, my call not returned, it was really starting to hurt, though I wouldn’t allow myself to realize it. I preferred feeling numb to, well, the possible other things I might feel.
I really had given contacting my birth father considerable thought. It wasn’t like I just instantly decided to pick up the phone and call him that exact day. Well, I did, sort of, decide to just call him that day, but it was after considering all the other possibilities, and ways I could choose to contact him, a day or two before. Impulsive? Maybe, but when you are a buffalo caught up in a buffalo jump, you don’t have the luxury of time.
I could have sent a letter to his home address. I could have called him at his home. I had that information. I did make a call to his home, and an answering machine picked up. I could have left a message at that moment. There was just something inside that kept telling me it was a bad idea. I knew he was married, but nothing more. What if his wife didn’t know about me? What if he had children, and they didn’t know about me? Assuming his family didn’t know I existed was certainly a safe assumption, since he, most likely, didn’t know himself.
What if the message was erased? What if he and his wife were not exactly happily married, and the message just made things worse? What if she got the message and didn’t give it to him? What if he had children, and one of them got the mail from the mailbox and opened the letter? That is how my sister, my birthmother’s daughter found out about me, was it such a stretch to think the same could happen in this case. What if contacting him at his home-made him angry? The questions were endless. There had to be a better way. I didn’t want to disrupt his life. (Side Note: If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard adoptees say those exact words?)
Thank goodness for Google and the Internet. A search of his name and I was able to connect him to a business listing. I had an address and phone number to his place of employment. My intuition told me this was going to be the safest way to contact him, so, the question was should I send a letter, or call.
Uncertainty and indecision again popped up, and the questions started running through my mind as I wasn’t sure what his office was like, how big the company was, or what his position in the company might be. Could I send a letter to his office? Would someone else open it, as happens in a lot of large companies? Would it go straight to him or be filtered by a mail clerk, or an administrative assistant, What about sending a letter federal express? I could mark it confidential and/or personal? Was it even appropriate to send a letter to his place of employment? What if contacting him at work makes him angry? I didn’t want to cause him any problems. (Side Note: Another popular motto of the adoptee?)
What to do? What to do? The questions were endless. Whatever way I came up with, the thought kept repeating in my mind, “Someone will know.” What if he didn’t want anyone to know? What if he wanted to keep me a secret? My birth mother hadn’t wanted anyone to know when I contacted her. What if my birth father felt the same? I didn’t want to cause him problems. I didn’t want to disrupt his life. I just wanted to know. (Side note: Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Why do adoptees feel this way?)
By the next morning, the sad numbness, I had previously felt, was growing into something else. AS with my nose, the more it swelled, the more it hurt. Isn’t it funny how I hadn’t felt a thing until the swelling began? I was beginning to doubt and second-guess myself, and just what I had done. Had I done the right thing? I didn’t want to disrupt his life. (Side Note: Am I starting to sound like a broken record yet?) I just wanted to know.
I realize only a short time had passed. There could be all kinds of reasons as to why he had not called me back as yet. I knew he was not out of the office. I had asked the receptionist when I called. What if he thought it was some sort of Joke being played on him? What if he thought I was just a crazy person? What if he was busy, in meetings, or just hadn’t gotten around to it? What if? What if? What if? What if, he wasn’t going to call me back at all?
What if he had no intention of calling me back? This brings me to another little personality trait of mine. I am tenacious to a fault at times. It would go against my nature to just let it go. If he wasn’t going to call me back, even though it had only been a day, I would just have to get in touch with him by some other means. (Side Note: I admitted in a previous post that I was a bit on the impatient side. I wasn’t joking.) I began planning the next step, the letter I would send, and how I would send it. It was almost time to go home. I was reaching for my purse, and, ring.