I know you haven’t heard from me for quite some time. Life has been very busy. But mostly I am still a little gun shy about posting to my blog. I fear certain family members or their friends will interject negativity and ugliness that could hurt the feelings of those I have come to love very much. That happened before and I hope and pray that it does not happen again.
I really wanted to share this because I am hopeful it might help another Foundling or Adoptee with their search for biological family members or with answers to lingering questions they may have about their own past.
After meeting our brother, Tommy, back in May and hearing his story, and how he found out about Karen and their relationship, my curiosity was once again getting the best of me! What exactly happened to cause our bio mother to leave three babies with a man who was not her husband and was not even my father (I know this from DNA testing). He was likely Karen’s father as her sons DNA-tested and had matches to the family of the man named as our father.
I once again started concentrating on getting my records from DCS, as suggested by Kim Haskitt, our Search Angel. I had already submitted a formal written request and copies of the required documents, and called a couple times to follow up; however, I couldn’t seem to get any further than a sweet para-legal who I don’t think knew what to do with me?! I got the impression that my request was definitely not a common one.
So a little over a month ago, I just decided to call the office and see if I could make an appointment. I explained that I had a letter with the official seal from the State Registrar giving me permission to have any records released to me regarding my adoption. And knowing I had been made a ward of the state and placed initially as a foster, I knew I had come through this system. I was told I could come in and complete a required form and was told to bring the letter I spoke of and my identification. So I drove to the office to see what happened. I was kindly greeted by the person I had spoken to on the phone.
She had apparently called a superior to get some advice about what exactly to do with me when I arrived! LOL!
I was given the form to complete, which I did, and then she made a copy of my ID and my letter I had brought. The DCS employee told me that records more than 10 years old were not kept locally and were in Indianapolis, so they would have to request them and would call me when they arrived and then I could come to view them. She couldn’t really give me a specific timeline. I honestly left there thinking it could be weeks before I even heard anything, if I did at all?? I thought I would be calling back to follow up again in 3 or 4 weeks😕
However, to my surprise, I actually received a call within a few weeks informing me that I could come in to view my file, but needed to make an appointment with this case worker to do so. I took the first date and time she had available which was the following week.
My emotions were all over the place and my imagination was working overtime?! Part of me was excited and anticipated learning some new information that might lead me to other siblings we have been searching for, or that I would learn more about exactly when I was left and where all I had been during the first year of my life?! But part of me feared there wouldn’t be anything new in the file…That it would just be the same info I had already seen in my actual adoption file, or that there would be redacted information that would always make me wonder what I didn’t get to know. Any of these scenarios would be really disappointing.
I went to the appointment as scheduled and was welcomed by the case worker who had called me. She had my file in her hand!! And it looked like there were several documents in it?? I was praying things weren’t marked out or hidden. She told me she had made it a point to educate herself on the adoption records law that had recently changed. I felt myself smile and I felt like that was a small victory in itself.
Much to my surprise, I was taken to an open conference room and the case worker told me to take my time going through the file and asked if I had brought something to take notes on, which I had. She explained they could not make me copies of any of the documents as they weren’t allowed to let documents leave the premises. She gave me her cell number, told me to take my time and call her when I was finished. And then, just like that…she left me alone in that big conference room with nothing but “my” file?!
I couldn’t wait to look, but at the same time I was so afraid to look?! Did I really want to know what had happened?! Of course I did! So I opened the file and started reading and taking notes. Most of what it appeared to be were type-written case worker notes.
Apparently my involvement with Division of Child Services began on August 23, 1963 when I was not quite 8 months old. The police had called because they had picked up a baby from a sitter (she was named) who reported that my father had left me with her the day before and had not returned to pick me up as agreed upon. That baby was me.
I learned that I was initially placed with another foster family on a temporary basis. And I also have their names. And address. I have not yet reached out to them, but plan to try.
I did learn that one of my alleged father’s brothers did show an interest in adopting me to be part of their family and was told by the judge how to go about becoming foster parents. There was no more information about it, so I am not sure if they didn’t follow through with the process or were turned down? But this was of interest because some of the “cousins” I met in this family had told me their parents tried to adopt me and the other two siblings, so that confirmed to me they really did remember me. And Tommy and Karen. And we had truly been in their lives, at least for a little while.
Then I learned the answer to a question that had been heavy on my mind. When did my bio mother leave and why?? She had told me during a phone call that our “father” had taken me (well actually “Karen”…because she initially told me I was “Karen” shortly after our DNA tests showed that we were a “parent-child” match) and Tommy and just left her. I still do not know if there is any truth to this?? But Tommy and Karen were mentioned in my file as siblings and they were reportedly in a different foster home. The documentation indicated there was “family” history in Karen’s file…So I am trying to learn how to get access to it! Anyway, according to the testimony documented in the record, my bio mother left ME with my alleged father when I was about 3 months old. And he had reportedly been taking care of me during the previous 5 months, although I suspect that some of his family helped him out, hence the request by a brother and his wife to adopt me.
But perhaps the most shocking part of what I read was the reason my bio mother left…She left me and likely my other two siblings to join the traveling carnival?!?! Yep, you read that correctly. The traveling carnival. Let that soak in a minute.
This information makes so many things that didn’t, make some sort of sense. We have wondered how our bio mother had been able to travel so extensively and have babies in so many different states or locations?? It also helped to possibly explain how many of us had different fathers. And why we were just “left” in several different places?!
I was placed with my adoptive parents at 10 months as I had been told and already knew from my adoption records. I also learned that my bio mother had never made any attempt to find me, inquire about me, or try to get me back. That was hard to see in black and white, but honestly, not really too surprising. After she wouldn’t accept a visit from my sister, Patty, and me last summer, that spoke volumes, about her indifference toward us.
But the best of this file was yet to come…
After all of the type-written case notes, and legal documents showing my adoption process, there was a treasure awaiting me….
Right there, before my very eyes, were some beautiful, original, hand-written letters in my adoptive Momma’s cursive!! (My real Momma💕)
I could hardly believe it?! I never expected something like that to be in my file, but what an extremely pleasant and wonderful surprise?!
I started reading them and I was almost immediately in tears😢 Here was my Momma communicating with this case worker about how I was doing, how much weight I had gained, how she had been so worried about me because I had a cough and an earache, and that I had said my first words, and was about to start walking, and how much she loved me. She said she couldn’t remember me NOT being part of their life. She signed the very first letter with my name added…Just like I was part of their family. There were several of these letters which I read a few times. The end of the one I shared she writes about buying presents for my first Christmas!! I just wanted to take them with me so bad, but knew they wouldn’t copy them, soooooo…I used my cell phone to take screen shots of them. I needed to always have them, so now I do. I knew she loved me…I never doubted that, but I didn’t realize how quickly she fell in love. That was an amazing feeling. I thought my heart might just explode❤️
I will continue to seek the “Family” history from Karen’s file. And we continue to search for Judith Ann who was allegedly the firstborn in Ohio in 1956. And we also continue to search for “Teresa”, the baby Aunt Nan remembers being present when Patty was a toddler. And there is likely one other sibling, that we have no real information about. However, according to our youngest known sibling’s numbers on her certificate of birth, another baby was born from a viable pregnancy. Maybe, we will get lucky with a new DNA match leading us to them!!
Since the time I viewed these records, Tommy got his DNA results and he evidently has ties to the father’s family named on my birth certicate. So he and Karen likely had the same father. Tommy had been told by his and Karen’s adoptive parents in seventh grade that they were actually twins, but this does not appear to be so because Karen’s birth is listed on the California Birth Index and Tommy’s birth is not. We have been told that this birth index is very reliable. Once Tommy receives his official adoption records he has requested, they should confirm this or not.
In addition, I finally got to meet my other nephew, Wesley, who is my sister, Karen’s oldest son!! My sister, Patty, joined us recently in Clarksville, IN and we had lunch and a nice visit.
Our biological mother wanted to meet Tommy, so they both flew to Virginia and had some time together. He also got to meet our half brother, Michael, and our half sister, Sissy. He hopes to meet more family members too.
Within the next week, I hope to get to meet my Uncle Daniel, who lives in California. He will be in Northern Indiana visiting some other family!!
So…Stay tuned for more!!
6 thoughts on “Just a little update…”
Fascinating. Brought me to tears. How precious are those letters. You have a memoir to write, Sherri😃
Aaawww…Thank you so much Donna! Your comments and encouragement mean a lot to me as you were one of my most favorite teachers! I loved your journalism classes and learned so much!
I am back to writing and won’t give it up so easily again!😊
Wonderful Sherri! It takes a lifetime to find our narrative and tell our stories.The letter is so beautiful! I’m so happy you’re sharing this journey. I understand the push back from family. I received a bit of that and it hurts. But this is YOUR life and YOUR story. Don’t allow anyone to silence you.
Thank you so much my friend! You have been a great inspiration and mentor! Your encouragement means a lot!
The letters…oh my gosh! I can’t even begin to describe what I felt when I saw them! It was AMAZING!! I wish I could have the originals, but I have the screen shots of them and I am thrilled with that! I want to do something special with them, just not sure what?!
And you are right about the family push back…It is my story and I should be able to tell it. It felt really great to write again!!
Hugs Eddie❤️ Thanks for your support😊
Hi Sherri – I’m in the DNA Detectives group on Facebook, and have been following your journey in that group, and on your blog. I am not a foundling, but your story just speaks to my heart. Every time that you find a new family member, I just feel so happy for you. I love that you found the letter from your mama! You know, you should have that made into something and put it up in your house as a reminder of how much she loved you. I know she is smiling down on you from her place in Heaven. I just wanted to tell you that your story is beautiful, and you are reaching not only foundlings, but those of us who are still searching for ancestors via DNA. Don’t stop writing. Keep sharing your story. ❤ Jan
Thank you so much Jan!! I really appreciate you following my story and your kind comments. The writing is very therapeutic. I stopped for a while because of one of my half-sisters saying some things in Facebook comments that really hurt some of my other family members’ feelings, but I have decided to continue with their encouragement to not let that stop me from telling the story.
I am going to do something with the letters…There were a few of them, but all I have are screenshots. I would LOVE to have the actual letters that were in the file, but they supposedly can’t be removed from that office. I can’t explain in writing how much they meant to me, but seeing those words in her own original hand-writing was nothing less than AMAZING!!
I am hopeful that my story touches the hearts of others and encourages those who are searching to keep going and remember that there could be more people than just the parents found during your search and they could be significant in your life!!! I have felt so much love from a couple of my Siblings, several Aunts and Uncles, and several Cousins…I feel so fortunate to have them!!
So don’t stop searching and along with doing DNA, look for other avenues of finding out information….Sometimes it takes putting several things together to figure out the puzzle! Get your original certificate of birth, your adoption records, get your DFC records if you were in the system, and reach out to Search Angels and others with experience for help! It’s hard to do this alone. I would have never gotten this far without asking for and accepting help!
Thanks again for following and I hope you find the answers you are looking for!😊❤️