The following is an excerpt from How Did You Find Me, a sweet story about love lost and found again. Crossing over decades, the book weaves together the narratives of an adopted woman, her birth mother and birth father, highlighting how the adoption affected each of them and their relationships over the years. Though the narratives are at times repetitive, the book offers a view into the multiple experiences of those touched by adoption with the intrigue of missed connections and loving reunions.
The authors of this book are LSS clients. The following excerpt was written by Jean Voxland, the adoptee.
It takes a full week for the package with the letter and the pictures from my post adoption social worker to get to me. Seriously, why is it when you really want the mail to come—it doesn’t? Please explain this to me. This particular day, I have a premonition that the package is going to be on the kitchen island when I get home. I walk into the house and call Andrew’s name, but he is outside power-washing the deck. Glancing at the island in the kitchen, half afraid to look—thinking I will be disappointed if it isn’t there—I see a large white envelope with my name on it. My heart is racing. There is the envelope I have been waiting for all week.
I open up the deck door to say hello to Andrew. He looks at me, slows down the water and says with a smile, “Your letter arrived.”
“Do you want to come into the house, take a break and open it with me?” I ask.
“No,” he replies, “I want you to do this on your own. You open the letter, read it, and then—when you’re ready—I will come in and we can chat. Sound okay?”
“Yes, okay, that’s a good idea,” I weakly acknowledge. Already I can feel my eyes start to sting, and I hadn’t even done anything yet. Good grief!
Andrew goes back to his task while I shut the door and walk over to the envelope. I stare at it for a little bit. I am excited, nervous, uneasy, happy, and eager. It is crazy to have all of those emotions swirling around in the pit of my stomach. I think of my dad, wondering what he would say if he were standing here with me. I am seeing him in three days to tell him the story. I called him earlier this week and told him I was coming to visit him, thinking that I was going to talk to him about this letter.
As I sit down in my leather chair, my hands are kind of shaking and my insides feel hot and cold all at the same time. I pick up the envelope, open it, and pull out the contents. There is some paperwork from Children’s Home Society, an envelope labeled “photos,” and then the letter. Even though I want to see the photos, I wait. I very slowly and purposefully read the letter twice and take in all the words that had been read to me a week earlier. I smile to myself and feel a weird . . . connection. It is very hard to describe, but there is something in me that just feels warmth.
I open the envelope of photos, and the first one is a picture of two people smiling into the camera. My eyes fill with tears. Of course they would. The first thought I have as I look at this picture is: I look like someone—I look like my father. I pull out the other two photos, one photo each of my birth parents separately, and I notice my mother’s smile—it’s my smile. All of a sudden I am overwhelmed. I just start to sob. My shoulders shake, and my chest feels like an elephant is sitting on it.
I take a few minutes to let everything kind of soak in. I read the letter again, look at the pictures, and walk over to the deck door.
“I read it,” I announce to my husband.
“I can see,” his eyes widen with his smile.
“Do you want to read it?” I ask in a small, tight voice.
He looks at me and comes back with, “Of course. Let me turn the water off, and I will be right in.”
After he comes into the house, he sits down in his chair and takes the envelope and its contents from me. He reads everything and then looks at the pictures. “You look like your mother; you have her smile,” he expresses with a grin.
“Do you really think so?” I ask. “I kind of think I am a perfect mix of the two of them.” I can tell that I’m beaming. “The social worker said on the phone that they want to meet me. What is your opinion of that? Would you meet them if you were in my shoes?”
“Jeanne, it’s your decision, but if you really want my opinion, I think you should meet them. Write them a letter and give them some dates that you and I are free and we can go meet them,” his voice is calm and reassuring.
I don’t respond right away because I am processing everything, but a few minutes later I speak up and say, “I know I will want to meet them, but let me think about this for a little bit.” And I turn around and walk upstairs to my office. As I sit down at my desk, my thoughts are tumbling around in my mind. One thought keeps surfacing: My life could really change.