[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]
Driven by a need to fit in with the neighborhood kids, I switched from private to public school in ninth grade. My parent’s marriage had reached a level of volatility that created a challenging and emotionally charged home life for all of us. Instead of reaching out to support each other through these tough times, we each withdrew into ourselves and into our own survival mechanisms. My Nana and Father Driscoll remained a powerful, joyful light in my life, but as my life changed, so did theirs.
My passion was drawing, writing, and reading. I still loved learning, but my love for school changed after switching to Vestal High School. It was not the safe and nurturing environment of my childhood.
My desire to fit in also applied to my family. I longed to find a meaningful heart connection to my immediate family. As a young teenager I was aware of how different my fundamental life values and beliefs were from my parents and my brothers. I felt very alien. I saw it in their eyes. They didn’t “get me”. They loved me and I them, but we didn’t understand each other, and we didn’t know how to help each other.
Questions began to form in my heart. I considered the traits I had, the talents I possessed, and my instinctual beliefs on God and the meaning of life. Would I find an explanation about those things in my genetic connections? I fantasized about who my birth parents were, what the story was behind my adoption, what their lives were like now, and if they ever thought about me. One-way attempt to connect to my history was to connect to one thing I did have: Italian friends. I absorbed everything I could about the Italian heritage and culture.
After High School, I left Vestal for college, and I never went back. My new job took me to Massachusetts then to Texas. I left behind my passions when I left Vestal. I didn’t draw or write for many years. Father Driscoll passed away. My Nana developed early Alzheimer’s. My parents divorced. My brothers moved to opposite sides of the country and I was navigating my life as a career woman, wife and mother.
When I was pregnant with my first son, I fell deeply in love. I felt his movements and marveled at the miracle of life growing inside me. During that pregnancy I realized that my birth mother shared these same experiences. She felt me stir in her womb, she felt life grow, maybe she even loved me. I made up my mind to find her, if only to tell her how grateful I was for her gift of life. I wanted her to know that I was humbled by her courage and strength to give me up for a better life than she could give me. I wanted her to know that I did have a good life and that I had become a happy, healthy, strong, successful, compassionate and decent woman.
In 1996, I joined the NY Adoption Registry. If another individual registered as a birth parent looking for a female adoptee, with the same birthday and birth place, then we would be a match. The way it was set up, I would only find my birth parents if they were looking for me.
That was not the case. My birth parents were not looking.