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Talking with my mom - Drinking from the Fire Hose — LiveJournal
and trying not to drown

Mrs_Sweetpeach
Date: 2007-08-10 19:15
Subject: Talking with my mom
Security: Public
Location:Home and on my corner of the couch
Mood:nostalgicnostalgic
Music:Midsomer Murders: Blue Herrings
Tags:adoption, family, modeling, photos
Last Sunday jebra and I traveled to Ionia for a family visit. My sister, KC, along with her husband, daughter, and her daughter's fiance, drove up from South Carolina to introduce the fiance to the rest of the family. He seems like a nice young man, but this story isn't about him.

At some point during the afternoon the conversation turned to how I found my way back to the family (I was placed up for adoption upon birth). As I told whoever it was who asked the question, after nearly 14 years of following every lead I could find, work got in the nation's phone books on CDROM. This was in 1994, long before the internet search engines had been invented, and having access to all those phone numbers was really quite remarkable.

My adoptive parents received a copy of the official Order of Adoption when my adoption was finalized. With one exception, every reference to me is by my new adopted name. However, I had a very good clue in that the document begins "In the matter of Angelena Maria M--"

I borrowed the CDs from work and searched for the surname in question. Examination of the entire database revealed three matches, all of which I called. The first number had been disconnected. The second number was answered by a woman who did her best to convince me that she wasn't my mother and that her husband was almost certainly not father, but promised to ask around the family and get back to me. I called the third number. It, like the first, had been disconnected.

Three nights later our phone rang. It was my mother. (The woman I'd spoken with was my mother's brother's wife.)

We then talked about my mother's efforts to find me. She'd contacted the adoption agency, but was told the building had burnt to the ground and all the records were lost in the fire. I'd heard that story too, but hadn't believed it. Mom says it was true and that the fire was electrical in origin. Personally, I suspect someone disgruntled with the agency set it. Mom also mentioned going to a lawyer to try to get the adoption records unsealed, and having been rebuffed by the court system. The only avenue left was dumb luck. Mom began looking at every child the right age who crossed her path. On the street, on television, in magazines and newspapers. She clearly recalls seeing an advertisement that she was sure contained my photo. The funny thing is, in 1962, when I was about two years old, I was one of the models in a national advertising campaign. Mom says she saw that ad everywhere and kept telling her mom that the kid in the ad looked just like her at that age. My grandmother's response? "You weren't that cute."

I know that the older I get, the fuzzier my memories become. I went looking for my copy of that advertisement, in order to show it to maddiec24. I clearly remember the image, me standing in front of a washer and dryer, looking forward into the camera. Wrong. Everything except myself is positioned exactly as I recall, except that I'm not facing forward. I'm facing the other model. Which is my way of saying that I don't actually know that the ad I was in is the same ad my mother so clearly recalls "being everywhere." Or if she's confounded me for the other older girl used in the same series.

This is the complete page:




This is what I looked like in 1962. And that's really my Raggedy Ann doll.



I got the job because my (adoptive) father was one of General Motors' staff photographers and, at the time, Frigidaire was one of their subsidiaries. It was a legitimate modeling job though, and the $250 modeling fee became the first deposit in my college savings account.
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maddiec24
User: maddiec24
Date: 2007-08-11 02:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The modeling story! That's amazing. Aren't you adorable! And you know I *so* covet the pink washer and dryer. *g* This story was well worth the wait.
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jebra
User: jebra
Date: 2007-08-11 03:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I don't believe it! Topless pictures of The Spouse on the Internet!

Good thing I'm sittin' down.

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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Mrs_Sweetpeach
User: mrs_sweetpeach
Date: 2007-08-11 19:44 (UTC)
Subject: Re: those are the kind of stories
Speaking as an amateur genealogist, I can say that written records containing one's family stories are more valuable than gold. And a lot more rare.
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mocomab
User: mocomab
Date: 2007-08-11 10:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My God! You're living my fantasy. I was adopted as a baby, too, but haven't had much luck finding family. I did manage to locate information telling me my nationality (Spanish & Irish on father's side, Irish, German & Danish on mother's.) And that my father never knew my mother was pregnant,and that she played the violin!
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Mrs_Sweetpeach
User: mrs_sweetpeach
Date: 2007-08-11 19:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Shit, Moco, I didn't know that! It wasn't just me that found my birth mother -- my (non-blood-related- adopted-by-the-same couple-) brother found his mother too. He hired a, um, social worker I think, to help him search. And I had to hire a private investigator, not for the search but to contact the guy my mom believed to be the father after I'd successfully tracked him down. I needed someone to contact him in a nice way and ask for a DNA sample. It's just as well I didn't approach him myself -- turns out that as much as she didn't want it to be so, my father was one of the two unidentified men who raped my mother one hot Georgia night.

But I digress. What I meant to ask is what you've tried so far. Maybe I know of something you don't. (Feel free to take this to email if you want, you should have my addy somewhere.)
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mocomab
User: mocomab
Date: 2007-08-12 08:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I have done much in recent years. Have very low frustration tolerance. I got the nationality info through a sorority sister who worked in the juvenile court system...she told me how to request it. I had to get my (adooptive) parents' death certificates and send copies...the county where I was born is different than the county where my parents lived when they adopted me (at 2 weeks), and both counties claimed that the other county had the records.

I've also listed my info on Colorado's adoption registry for parents/kids trying to connect, but that's about all. No money for investigators or such such, so here I am...by now, my mother would be in her early 70's, so really, what's the point.

But I love hearing stories like yours! Gives me warm fuzzies.
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mbumby
User: mbumby
Date: 2007-08-11 19:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
So very cool. Thank you for sharing.
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User: lorelei633
Date: 2007-08-11 20:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh neat! How cute are you? And I am really grooving on the pink washer and dryer. Thanks for posting this. :)
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