I was born September 5th, 1968 in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, in the Stratford General Hospital and I am an adoptee. My birth name is Leslie Gail Marie B and I weighed 6lbs. 3oz. after an uncomplicated breech delivery.
When I went to live with them, it was as a foster child. I didn't find out until many years later that I wasn't the first child they'd fostered. And by this time, they'd had two more daughters, making five natural children for them. They had also unofficially adopted a Japanese man who'd come to Canada also to look for work.
I find it incredible, even to this day, that my future parents were allowed to adopt me. They didn't have a lot of money, but they did the very best they could and there was definitely more than enough love to go around!! I have many, many wonderful memories of my childhood.
Even though I didn't think it possible, I was even more upset after I'd read everything then I was when finding out I was adopted. The four sentences that told me of my real parents said that my real mom was in her 20's. To me that said right away that she didn't want me. She wasn't a young teenager who couldn't take care of me, she was an adult, MORE then capable of providing and caring for me. I lost any and all reason to search for her then. I was heartbroken.
When I was in my late teens I'd discovered, don't remember how, that I could apply for my Non-Identifying information. I wasn't totally sure what this was, but I knew I could find out more about my real mother. I didn't apply for it though, I was still too hurt and upset. It wasn't till a couple of years later that I finally broke down and applied to the CAS which handled my adoption asking for my Non-Id.
Several years later, my search for my biological family had been completely forgotten. It wasn't until a couple of months after my son was born that I'd decided to start up again. I wrote to CAS again and requested an update on what was going on with my non-id. I had moved back to the same town my parents live in, had married and separated and my ex husband had gotten custody of our post office box and refused to give me my mail so I never received it. I had to demand my right for my own information quoting the Child and Family Services Act. Because of all this new nonsense, and that I hadn't thought to give them my new address, it took me actually 7 years to receive it. Normally it would have only taken several months [please note the time line varies with not only the amount of requests at any given agency, but also to the size of the city you're requesting it from. The larger the city or town, the more people they have to deal with for other programs and such, and the more requests possibly going on at that particular time.]
I've registered with ADR, but am getting the total run around. I'm also registered with numerous adoption-related sites, but they really aren't very helpful as no one I'm looking for is registered.
So now the search is officially on!!!!
In 1990, I registered with ADR to be put on their waiting list to find my natural mother.
After waiting for 7 years for my non-id, I wrote back to CAS to get an update on what was happening. They wrote back and said that they'd already sent it out 1991, but because I'd moved and my ex-husband wouldn't give me my mail, I had to reapply with CAS to receive my non-identifying information in 1997. I finally received it a few months later.
In 1996, I met my soul mate. I fell in love with him because although most guys see the girl and not the child, Rick saw the child and not the girl. He impressed me very much and although we've had our ups and downs and broken up several times over the years, we always find our way back to each other. Sometimes that ticks me off, but most times I'm glad; for he's my other half.
In 1998, I applied with ADR to receive a copy of my original Adoption Order. It was received a few months later. For some reason that no one has been able to explain, it's completely different than the one I gotten from my adoptive parents.
After four years of chickening out, I finally told my adoptive parents that I wanted to search for my natural mother.
Because my adoptive parents are older, I wasn't sure if they'd understand my need to find my roots. I was literally petrified that they'd think that I wouldn't want them or love them anymore and they would be replaced as parents if I ever found my real mom. I agonized myself to death over this. I was so scared and so worried that I was physically ill on occasion. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, and that was scary on it's own as not only am I already a major insomniac who doesn't sleep not only not very often but also not well when I do, but I really don't weigh that much in the first place. I suffer from violent nightmares because of my past, even now once and a while. I guess I sort of have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. A few years ago I'd suffered such a horrible nightmare that upon crawling backwards up the bed, my arms slipped out from under me and I bashed my head so hard off the headboard that not only did I hit it twice, but I lost my memory temporarily for a few months. Just try to imagine waking up naked in bed with a naked man that you don't know!! It was very rough going for a while, poor Rick was not only worried sick about me, but was terrified that I would either just never remember him or not love him anymore. The hardest part of all of it was I just couldn't remember the baby that I carried for nine months, gave birth to, and had raised for those past years. The babe that I struggled to keep, nurtured, kept fed, clothed, a roof over his head, had found a daddy worthy of my precious little boy. I just couldn't recognize him at all. I felt unworthy of his love for me, that I just didn't deserve it. I was never as happy as I was when my memory started coming back!!!
Anyway... we'd made plans several times to go see my adoptive parents. We'd get all ready to go and I'd chicken out. Once we were sitting in the car, and other time we were even on our way there! Finally, I called my oldest adoptive brother and talked to him about it. He convinced me mom and dad would be fine with it and I had nothing to worry about. So off we went!! I was still really nervous when we got there, and it took me an hour to actually bring it up. My heart was in my throat, I couldn't breath, I could actually feel the butterflies in my tummy! I was squeezing Rick's hand like I was in the middle of hard labour, and I just kinda blurted it out. In case they got upset about the whole idea, I didn't mention at first that I'd already been searching for years now. I just asked how they would feel and what they would think if I decided I wanted to find my natural mother. Mom just looked calmly at me and replied, "Well, you know we've always told you that we'd be behind you if you wanted to search." And I was SHOCKED!!! She had never once said that to me before. Here I was, and had been for four years, making myself physically sick because I thought it would hurt them, spent years being scared to bring it up for fear of that and here's my mom saying, oh yeah, go for it!! I'd wasted four years not saying a word and sharing this with them for a totally unfounded fear!
Mom even gave my all of my paperwork [which I already had via photocopies... lol] and tried really hard to remember anything that might help me. She didn't remember much at all, and not anything that wasn't already on any of the paperwork. If I had braved up and asked years ago, she might have remembered something, but at this time she was already into her 70's and not only had Alzheimer's started kicking in, but was apparently going senile as well. That's according to my adoptive brother, any time I've talked to mom she seems just as sharp as a tack as any other time. Whenever I ask her about anything from several or more years ago, she doesn't even have to think about it, it's right there.
So now my adoptive parents are back in the loop and everything's going smoothly. At least for a while....
Also in 1998, I received my Search Information Form and Issues for Consideration During the Search Process package from ADR. In 2001 I received another one as they didn't send me all the forms the first time. I filled it out and sent it right back.
In 2002, I received an information package from ADR, in which included a questionnaire.
Later in 2002, I started writing my natural mother letters. These were to be forwarded to her when she was finally found. Each time I wrote a letter, there were two kinds, one non-identifying and one identifying. Whenever anything new happened, like we'd moved or had a baby, I'd write again with an update. I'd had specifically requested that ALL letters be forwarded to her regardless of whether or not she wished to have contact. I signed a release waiver to void any confidentiality on my part so that my identifying information would be forwarded as well. I wasn't meaning to infringe on her privacy by doing this, my intentions were that if she changed her mind about not having contact [which is what I had totally prepared and convinced myself of so I wouldn't be devastated when it happened] that we wouldn't have to reapply with ADR and wait for years again in order to get into contact with each other. I made it clear in each letter that I didn't hold any ill will towards her, and that I only had one side of the story of how I came to be and I didn't fault her for the decision she made at all. Now she would know that I wished to have contact and that the ball was totally in her court. Whatever she decided to do was completely up to her now.
Also in February 2002, I'd received a letter from ADR stating that, "We are now ready to establish contact with your birth relative..." and later on, "It will take several weeks before your birth relative responds to our letter." BUT! In February 2003 I received my first letter from a counsellor through ADR stating, "I have not had contact with your birth mother at this time. I'm attempting to have contact with a person we believe to be your birth mother. When I do have contact with this person, she will have the opportunity to confirm her identity. If we have found the right person, she will be asked if she would like to have contact with you. She could then let me know if she wishes to receive identifying or non-identifying letters from you."
I heard the mail drop through the door and a little while later I brought the babes upstairs to play as I needed to sweep and mop the floors downstairs. On the way to the door I saw a little envelope lying on the floor and I knew it was from my mom. I pretty much ran the babes up the stairs and threw them in our daughter's room [ok, ok, ok... I carefully dropped them over the gate... lol] and went down the stairs so fast I don't think I even touched one step! I picked up the envelope and stared at it for about 10 minutes before realizing that maybe I should actually open it if I wanted to know what she wrote!
I walked back into the dining room and sat down to read her letter. She wrote about how she was surprised that she could actually write to me directly, but was very happy about it. She was also very glad to know that I had a loving family growing up and went into how I came to be adopted. She told me about my siblings and her family, and how I now have 15 more nephews and nieces and a grand nephew. I was doing fine reading the letter until I got to the part where she said, "And now that you're one of us that makes 18 grandchildren." That "... now that you're one of us..." made me burst into tears and I never really stopped! So now I'm an Aunt 50 times and a Great Aunt twice! Boy, do I ever feel old... lol
She gave me her name, address and phone number and I immediately started writing a letter to her. It took me all afternoon and half the evening. I started with, "Now that I can actually write to you directly, I have no idea what to say!" and proceeded to say it for three pages... lol. My oldest wrote her a little note as well.
I'd printed out several pictures for her of the children when they were all babies, the only baby pictures I have of me, recent pictures of the children and of my hubby and I.
I called from a pay phone on Sunday and got to talk to my brother. Turns out we know each other from years ago! Mom was at work so I called back after supper to talk to her for the first time in my life!! It was a very difficult phone call... we were both crying so that most times we didn't know what the other was saying... lol. It was the most incredible feeling in the world to be able to hear my mother's voice. I never thought it would ever happen.
We talked for a while and then she said my brother was here too and I said he didn't have to sit in the van, he could have come in too. But then she told me that his wife and children were there as well and she didn't want to overwhelm me with everyone all at once. We eventually went outside to meet them all and it was totally great! They have a daughter age and our daughter took to her immediately! When they were leaving she wanted to take our daughter home with her, but our daughter had to stay and it was very heart wrenching because our daughter cried and cried. We got some really great pictures [I hope!] and made plans to meet for a barbeque the following Sunday.
The whole visit was just the thing to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Everyone was very excited and happy to meet me, I felt very loved!! It was really neat to discover that my mother and I collect the same kinds of books [Jean Aule, Forgotten Realms and DragonLance novels], we like the same kinds of movies, we both love puzzles and we both use the same shampoo!!
It was also really neat to look at my mom and all my siblings and see actual family resemblances!! My mom and sisters are beautiful, my brothers are handsome and we all have great looking children [toot toot].
Everyone was really nice and so great, we all got along and I fit in so fast and well that it was like I'd never left.