Fair weather daughter

I've decided to share a search experience. It's important to understand my intent in sharing so I'll first explain that.

I believe that adopted people think about how it would feel to find their biological people. They wonder if it's what they really want. I think the search itself can become a challenge, a quest. That the ramifications of success are impossible to know. Results are unpredictable, as are the ultimate feelings and effects on the adopted person's life as they know it.

So, the intent of this post is to share my feelings and reaction in an attempt to supply a known. To offer one small experience that was enlightening to me. There is no need to read into this post as what I plan to say is what I felt and am feeling, nothing hidden, nothing deeper.

The day before yesterday I was alone in my home. I got thinking what a perfect time it would be to call my biological mother (yes, I have her phone number as well as her address) so after writing a list of what was important to me to say to her, I started trying to call. I say "trying" as I must have partially dialed the number about 10 times and hung up before actually connecting to her number.

As I made these failed attempts I asked myself why. After much thought, I decided it was fear but first I debated with myself about why I'm afraid. Am I struggling because I don't really want to call? Because I'm worried about someone else answering? Am I afraid she'll be mean? I decided it was just plain fear, that I did want to try calling but was afraid. Knowing this gave me courage and I dialed the whole number and let it ring.

When I got the answering machine I was a little surprised as in my mental preparation for the phone call this likely scenario had eluded me. Out of instinct I left my first name and number asking her to call me when she had time. That's it. That's all, it was done. -Side note, she sounded younger than I'd expected.

But, now I'd left a message for her to call. And, I needed a shower as I had an appointment in a couple of hours. Ok, off to the shower I go, phone within reach. As I wash I contemplate what I'll do if she returns my call with my head full of soap, how it will be better if she calls while I'm on the conditioner stage. I ponder if she was really home and had decided not to answer, had screened my call and was listening to my message. What would she think I sounded like? I think I'd sounded upbeat and normal. I thought about how I'd forgotten to add to my written list of things I wanted to say that I was fine with her keeping me a secret, that physically meeting wasn't that important to me. That correspondence via email was perfectly acceptable as was snail mail although I'm really, really bad at mailing real letters.

Ok, out of the shower and ready to dry my hair. Will I hear the phone ring while my blow dryer is running? I stand the phone up so I'll see it ring, just in case. Hopefully she doesn't call before I'm done though as it will certainly be a bad hair day if I don't get it dried enough before she calls.

Ok, I'm all ready, but now I have to leave in a few minutes. I enter her name and number in my phone so that if she calls while I'm out and my husband is back from golfing he'll see the name and not ignore the call thinking it's just another long distance call from some phone center.

Off I go to take care of my errands, the last one being meeting my mom at her apartment to take care of some travel arrangements for my nieces. All thoughts of bio mom calling back are gone for the majority of the time I'm out, although I did check my voice mail at home once while I waited for my mom to meet me.

The travel arrangements and errands I took care of that day were a real load off my mind so I returned home quite pleased with myself and enjoyed the coffee my husband had ready for me when I got there. I listened to him talk about his day, he listened to me talk about how relieved I was to have gotten these "chores" done.

Eventually I check my call history and see there's been no return call as it was obvious no message had been left in my absence. There's a bit of thought about this, of course. Did she get the message? Is she maybe out of town? Has she not had a good time to call back yet? Ahhh, who knows, but what I do know is I want to just stretch out, watch tv, maybe have a nap, and relax. My brain is little fried from all the travel planning and it'll be great to do nothing for the evening.

As I veg out on my bed, flipping through channels, half dozing, the phone rings. Damn! Oh crap, I hope it's not her, I don't feel like talking on the phone. I grab the phone and check the call display and it's my mom, but not the bio one. I'm slightly relieved because since I'd just spent three hours with my mom that afternoon I felt no guilt in not answering, opting instead to check the message she'll leave just to make sure this time it's not something important.

And then it hits me. After all my trepidation, curiosity, speculation, anticipation and excitement, when it came down to it, I had dreaded the call when it wasn't convenient for me. When I didn't feel like being curious, didn't feel like talking, her call became just as much of an annoyance as anyone else's would if I wasn't in the mood for a chat.

This experience has been enlightening, a validation of the concern that my curiosity is fair weather. That my consideration of her circumstance is warranted. That my decision to value her privacy is a good one. That for me it would be selfish to push things further than I have because what I want is frivolous in comparison to what she doesn't want.

I still wonder, don't get me wrong. I wonder how she can not call back, because I'd not be able to resist. I wonder and worry if she walks around in a constant state of dread or fear, because I think if I were her I would.  I wonder who my paternal people are, because I don't know. I wonder what she's thinking, because I always wonder what everyone is thinking.

Thing is, I only wonder when I feel like it, and to me, that's not enough to alter other people's realities forever.


  1. Thanks for sharing. I can only imagine the thought process into your day must been full of ups and downs and questions. I hope she calls back.

  2. That's what's odd about it all. I'm can't honestly say I truly want her to call back. I mean, if I did, how could I possibly consider ignoring the call if I wasn't "in the mood".

    Thanks for reading and the comment : )

  3. Campbell, that is normal - that not wanting to talk if you aren't in the mood. Let me pose that question this way....

    How could you think that you wouldn't be in the mood, unless you wanted to avoid it?

    Personally, there are days when I don't really care if I talk to anyone. But when the phone rings, it is still answered.

    What I heard you say is that you are hurt because she didn't respond and so you are thinking you are right in your analysis....maybe I am wrong, which, as you know, I am good with. But I used to rationalize things that way when my mother, who actually raised me to age 9, would not respond. Now I simply figure her loss.

    I wish you luck on your journey.

  4. I don't talk about it much, but I am in contact with my daughter through a social network. I would love for her to call me, but I would rather the first time we talk for me to have sometime to prepare for the emotions that will follow.

  5. This is a big moment and you need to be prepared and 'in charge' as much as you can so that you don't turn into a blubbering baby and can respond like the sensible adult you now are.There are many issues here..have you read Evelyn Burns Robinson's books on reunion?They might help you clarify what you want and why.
    good wishes and good luck.....

  6. Thanks for the thoughts : )

    I feel very much in charge of myself regarding all of this, thankfully! I feel quite clear now on what I want, and why.

    I'm not as good as you Lori lol and although I don't do it THAT often, I am guilty of having not picked up the phone if I didn't feel like talking.

    Tell me I'm not the only one!

  7. Good luck to you Campbell, whatever happens!

  8. Campbell - LOL - you are never alone! Even I don't always pick up the phone. At least not until my husband died. It is a little comforting to know that I need to sometimes.

  9. Yeah yeah Lori, it changes everything to be sure.

    Kinda sorta but not really the same, when I first split up with my son's dad I isolated myself, and this included much phone avoidance. One night, argh, I wasn't answering and my ex ended up coming and buzzing my apartment to tell me my dad had experienced a mild heart attack. Needless to say I "snapped out of it" and made a much more concentrated effort to at least check my messages...gawd.

    Kris, thank you : ) So far nothing's happened but, maybe that's lucky!

  10. Ditto what everyone said - good luck with everything as things forward!!

    And as for the phone - there are times I desperately want to talk to someone about something, but if they call in the evening, forget it. Almost like there's a time of the day when the brain turns itself off. That might be some of what you were feeling, too.

  11. Campbell- Thinking of you! Hoping that whatever you needed/wanted to happen...happened.

  12. Hey Diane : )

    I don't think I needed anything to happen, but what I wanted to happen has not. It may be hard for you or others to believe but it's not that big of a deal to me that she hasn't called back. I don't understand it, yet I do. She doesn't know me so she has no clue as to what an awesome person she's missing out on knowing ; ) Seriously though, I think if she knew my motivation, or lack there of, she may more inclined to have contact.

    I think I will contact one more time letting her know I get it and accept it but would appreciate knowing my biological father's name.

  13. You said you left your name...did you say who you were? Did the answering machine say her name? Would you like me to get you some other numbers for her? Check to see if her address is current? I don't know if you remember me I aggravated you once on Julie Shapiro's blog. I reunite families for free. I was just reading thru your blog. I thought I'd offer if you want to confirm the contact info you have on her. I'll do that for you. Its probably not what you think.

  14. Yikes Marilynn, yes of course I remember you. I've continued to read what you write from time to time on Julie Shapiro's blog.

    I appreciate the offer(s?) but no, thanks.

    I am curious though, what's probably not what I think?


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