[If this is your first time reading my Adoption Story, it is a fascinating journey told in pieces. For your best experience, start from the beginning at: Adoptee with a Note]
I grew up in the town of Vestal, a suburb of Binghamton, NY. My beloved Nana lived in the rectory of St. John the Evangelist Church where she worked as cook and secretary. My Nana meant the world to me and we were very close. Monsignor Driscoll was pastor of St. John’s and hired my Nana before I was born. I loved Father Driscoll as much as I loved my Nana. Quite frankly, in my early years, I thought Father Driscoll was my grandfather. After I was old enough to understand, I called him my Uncle in attempts at explaining our relationship, but that fell short in comparison to what I felt in my heart for this man. I adored him, and I always felt adored by him. Nana and Father Driscoll are the two people who modelled unconditional love to me.
I attended elementary and middle school at St. John the Evangelist Catholic School which was on the same campus as the rectory and the church. Kindergarten through eighth grade were the times of my life that I reflect on as being the happiest and care-free period of my life. I was free. Free to dream, free to be creative, free to be me. I felt loved, safe, supported, encouraged and championed. Most of that came from my Nana who told me repeatedly how special I was and how I was going to do great things. These encouragements were followed by a barrage of kisses over my face and strong wonderful hugs. She told me this so often that I believed her, with all my heart and soul.
Since my Nana lived at the rectory, I spent a lot of time there. I spent overnights in her apartment, waking up to the stomach rumbling aromas of percolated coffee and sizzling bacon. Hanging out with the priests wasn’t weird for me. As a young girl, I sat in the rectory kitchen in my pajamas watching my Nana work her culinary magic. A large dining room was adjacent to the kitchen and that was where the priests took their meals, but not Father Driscoll. He ate with us in the kitchen and made me chocolate milk shakes as he thought I was too skinny (a sentiment that no one other family member ever said to me).
When my parents realized they couldn’t have children of their own, they considered adoption. Father Driscoll was very instrumental in orchestrating the adoption through Catholic Charities. He had connections and influence and he used it to accelerate the process and quite suddenly, one day at the end of November, my parents were notified that a baby girl was available. They brought me home on December 16th, 1964 to a house filled with friends and celebration.