For many years I held to the saying of “Not Opening Up a Can of Worms” to protect my mother. Reflecting back I do not believe it was ever spoken of to me by mom and dad in regards to my adoption, simply it was how society viewed any skeletons in the closet and the ramifications of going there. People did not speak of skeletons in their family that needed to stay locked away in the closet – whether it was mental illness, suicide, criminal activity, out-of-wedlock births…it just was not done. Everyone clearly understood all families had skeletons but if they stayed firmly locked away from sight – all was good – nothing to see here – move along. People understood that going there broke families apart and caused immense shame, and those skeletons would then find their way to become public fodder to the detriment of the family.
So in my effort of “Not Opening Up a Can of Worms” I only did passive searching. There was no way I was willing to hurt my mother. Thoughts of what if she never told her husband? What if it ruins her life? What if’s that never involved what if I find bad news about my conception ever entered into the thought process, it was solely focused on me protecting her. My passive searching started first through the newspaper where I would go to the Personal Section each birthday – hoping for some cryptic message from my mother. Mom and dad tried through a link to a link and I got a couple of basic questions answered but the question on would the actual link to my mother send a letter from me, was answered as no.
Then when the internet came along and I started searching for any connection to my birth date or hospital among the bulletin board postings or any other likely site. Then posting my search on the new message boards and databases. All produced zero results. This passive searching was not daily or even every weekend, sometimes months would go by but something always pulled me back, and I would spend a couple of days combing sites looking for any clue, and those around me knew I was in my ‘sad’ cycle. I could be fine for months but the wistful haunted sadness would always come back. I wanted to know my mother. I wanted to know my family, my siblings. I wanted to know everything. I did this passive searching and cycling through my sad days for 30 years.
Then I got sick and that changed everything. My doctors were concerned on two fronts. Protecting me against other diseases based on the damage already done to my heart, and the fact that my disease was unknown to most family doctors and knowing about the disease in their family health history may protect them. That second reason finally gave me a reason to overcome my fear of “Opening Up a Can of Worms” that could hurt my mother. The thought of her going through (and maybe not making it) what I had just gone through, or one of my siblings, scared me worse than the thought of an angry husband divorcing his wife.
Mom petitioned the courts to open my records while I was still too sick to do it myself and the judge granted the petition. Sadly my mother had already passed away…I was too late…turns out her husband knew about me and if I had contacted her she would have told my siblings about me too…