I'm feeling so sad right now. Just really and truly blue. My hands and feet have been hurting so much lately, and of course my teeth as well. I think they need to be lassoed and taken to a dentist. Wouldn't it be great if you could just take your teeth out of your mouth and send them in when they need work?
I took a pain pill so that I could fall asleep. A pain pill that I stole from my lover's brother who was dying of cancer. I am so ashamed of that. I don't know why I tell you, maybe because I am feeling so sad. So I took this powerful pain pill and then I thought I'd kill a little time by cruising the Internet for anything I could find about some of the people I care about.
This is my little sister. Isn't she pretty? I've never met her.
I talked to her on the phone three months ago, and we exchanged a couple of emails. But my birth mother doesn't want to have anything to do with me, and neither does she. I just found out all of this wonderful information about her, so I'm upset and feeling so sad. It's my own fault for allowing myself to continue to care so much. I just didn't expect to find anything about her tonight because I've tried before and nothing comes up but for some reason I found four separate pages with photographs and information about her undergraduate work in college.
But what's so stunning and shocking to find out is that what she is doing for a living is something that I wanted to do myself. It's probably hard to understand this but for someone who has never had a brother or a sister or a single relative that she was related to, to find out that she has so much in common with people she longs to meet, but who want nothing to do with her, is really painful. People who grow up surrounded by family know what it feels like to look, sound and act like their relatives, and to have things in common with them. I never had anything like that. My parents and I were as different as night and day.
I'm adopted. I was given up at birth. I always knew I was adopted because my mother always told me I was her "little adopted baby." She says that when I was about five or six, I asked her to stop saying that. I'm sure it was because it made me feel so separate and different from other people.
Well, like most adopted people, I spent my life wondering about my birth parents. Especially my mother. I knew her name, but I was consumed with an insatiable curiosity about her. What did she look like? What kind of person was she? Why did she give me up, and did she think of me like I thought of her? Did she miss me? Did she love me still?
Whenever my mother was cruel to me, which was often the case, because even though she loved me she was incredibly immature and narcissistic, I would imagine that there was this other better Mother out there some where just waiting for the day when she could come and scoop me up and tell me it had all been a bad mistake. My adoptive mother was an only child herself, who had been raised by two parents who were also only children, so there wasn't a lot of child rearing experience to be drawn from. So basically she didn't have a clue how to raise a child. My father was also an only child. So they were both kind of shooting in the dark, with a copy of Dr. Spock for good measure. Although of course later he recanted much of what he originally believed to be true. Great, thank you Dr. Spock.
Anyway I always hoped and believed that my birth mother wanted to meet me, just as much as I wanted to meet her. But I was wrong. It turned out she had kept the circumstances of my birth secret from everyone, including the man she later married, and had trouble conceiving a child with. Imagine not being able to get pregnant and never telling your husband that you knew you could. Not only that but to never share something that personal with the one person you share everything with, well it's just really hard for me to understand. Basically my mother gave me away, hoping I'd be all right, and that she would never hear from me again. Oops.
So somewhere around my thirtieth birthday the desire to make contact became so great that I started searching. It didn't take long and suddenly I found myself holding her phone number. I dialed the number and a teen age girl answered. When I asked for Loretta, she called out, "Mom." God, I thought I was going to faint. Here after all these years I was, talking to a sister I didn't know I had, and about to speak with my Mother.
That was the high point and it went downhill from there. Since I had been and continued to be a big secret, she couldn't exactly speak freely. So she referred me to a cousin here in California, who she had stayed with throughout her pregnancy. She promised to call or write when she could.
I then contacted my cousin who told me that she had persuaded my mother to go to a good doctor and to arrange a private adoption so as to find me a good family, rather than to just give me to Catholic charity as Loretta wanted to do. She told me that my mother had been in love with a young man from a wealthy family, who thought she wasn't good enough for him. he had just been having a summer fling with her and when he found out she was pregnant he cruelly dismissed her. At about the time she was giving birth to me there was an announcement in the society page of a paper announcing his wedding to another woman. My mother was crying when she showed this paper to the nurse, she reportedly said something like, "How can he be getting married when I'm here having his child?" The nurse kept the newspaper article to show to my adoptive mother so she could see what my father looked like. Unfortunately Mom can't remember his last name but she can remember the picture.
Later when Loretta called me, I asked her about my father, and she said he was a horrible man and that I should just forget about him. When I pressed her, she said that he was evil, that she hated him, and to put it out of my mind. When I told her that my cousin Mary had told me his name was Tommy Fadigan and that I wanted to meet him, she got really upset and said her cousin was lying. She said that she had been raped by a stranger. Then later after I wrote to her asking her to please tell me the truth, she amended it to date rape. But of course she couldn't remember anything about the man who raped her, or even where she had been when it happened. Do you think you could be date raped and not remember anything about the man who fathered a child, you carried for nine months, and gave up for adoption? Or anything about where something this traumatic took place? I don't think so.
Anyway after maybe one or two more tiny bits of contact, it became very clear to me that she didn't want to have anything to do with me and that it was causing her too much stress. So I completely backed off for several years. But it was really hard to come so close and not be able to see her or touch her hand or have anything to do with my biological family. I found out I had a little sister, and another little sister and brother who were twins. But she was so insensitive and cold about the whole thing. It hurt so much to know I would never be able to meet them. So I resolved to wait it out and contact them when they were over eighteen.
After a few years I decided that since Loretta didn't want to have anything to do with me, I might as well try to find my father. So using the name I had been given by my cousin, and all of the information that Loretta had filled out for my records in Sacramento, I tried to find him. There was a man with the exact same name, who matched all of the physical characteristics, and was even born in the same city listed on my records, who had also been in the state where I was conceived, at the time of my conception. I contacted his family only to learn that he had been a hopeless lost soul of a man, who had died alcoholic and homeless on skid row. How's that for a shocker? But this man had never been engaged, and didn't come from a wealthy family. So again I was at a confusing dead end, and the only person who could help me didn't care to.
So hurting and stymied, I decided to try to contact my uncle, Loretta's brother, to see if maybe he could help me. I found him pretty easily and we struck up a cyber friendship. He was an artist and he was kind. However, he didn't know anything about me or the circumstances of my birth, and Loretta was furious with me for contacting him. She told me to leave her alone and that if I ever contacted any member of her family she would sue me or some other threatening thing like that. So I backed off and went away for another few years.
Then around my birthday in March, my adoptive Mother said that if I was so curious about who my father was, we should hire a detective. But before I did that, I thought I should just give Loretta one more chance to tell me the truth. I thought if I really appealed to her from my heart that maybe, just maybe, she would tell me. So I picked up the phone and just went ahead and dialed her directly. When she answered the phone I just said, "Loretta it's me Jacqui." Then when she said, "Jacqui who?" I thought she was trying to pretend she didn't know me, so I said something like, "Come on Loretta you know who. It's Jacqui, your daughter." Then she said, "I'm not Loretta, I'm Julie," and I nearly had a heart attack.
Then the next thing I knew I was just blurting the whole thing out to my sister, and I couldn't stop myself. It just came pouring out. Of course she was totally shocked. I told her everything I knew and answered all of her questions, but when I asked her the simplest thing, she said she didn't feel conformable telling me anything. But she gave me her email. So I wrote a letter to her, and then she wrote back asking me to give her time to figure out how to talk to her mother about it. Then I wrote back and told her that if she didn't want to mention it to her mother, that that would be fine with me. I've decided that if you've gotten this far, I might as well include the last few letters we exchanged. They illustrate why I feel so devastated and sad.
Letter Number One from me to my sister;
This is so hard. I'm so sorry for upsetting you. It must be so weird and awkward and painful to have some come down out of the sky and tell you their your sister. Here I am filled with emotion, having known about and loved you for eight years and you never even knew about me until this very second.
God, I don't know what to say except I'm sorry. I never meant to tell you or upset you. I've just been sitting here all of this time, waiting, praying and hoping that your Mom would take pity on me and send me a word or a photograph, maybe just a hello in a letter once a year or even every other year would have helped. You can't imagine how painful it is to have spent your entire life fantasizing about your mother only to find out you were a secret she never wanted to have anything to do with. Or that you were this awful product of a rape.
I don't know half of who I am. I'm missing half of my biological history. And on your side I have been held off from making contact for so long that I can't stand it anymore. I never got to meet my grandparents. They died after I had contacted your Mom, and had she been able to open up to everyone and tell her true story I would have had that chance. I don't want to make the same mistake with Edie, Lorenda and you. I didn't mean to contact you today but now that I have I'm glad, I think. I mean I knew that I would definitely contact the three of you someday. I simply had to.
Julie if this is too much for you right now, set it aside to read for another time when you've had some space to assimilate all of this. I just really need to find out the truth. I have all kinds of paperwork from our state capitol's adoption records department. None of the stories I've been told about who my father was make any sense to me at all. I think at a bare minimum I deserve to know the truth about the circumstances of my birth. The last story your mother told me about it was that she was date raped at a party. I just don't know how that can be. If that's the case then why didn't she simply tell that to the adoption case workers in California? A story like that would be infinitely more understandable than the one she told. That she had been in love with a man, that I was his child, that she had told him about me and he had refused to help, and that he was in fact marrying someone else at the moment I was being born. This combined with a newspaper article she showed the nurse and her doctor, and then finally my adoptive mother, makes me really question the story of her having been date raped.
Also when I first called Mary she was really excited to tell me all about my father, Tommy Fadigan. She told me essentially, the same story my adoptive mother had told me, and I am certain she believed what she was saying. When I asked Loretta about this she became highly defensive and snapped at me saying, "Who told you that name!!?!!" Then she told me it was all a lie that she and Mary had made up, but how could that be when Mary clearly believed he was my father? After Loretta and Mary had a chance to speak together Mary called me sounding very forced and far away. She said that she wouldn't be able to talk any more on the subject of my father except to say that Loretta said she was raped and didn't know him. Try to imagine how horrible this was for me. I'm someone who like most adoptive people longed for familial contact, longed to know if I had brothers or sisters, longed to meet my mother and father and suddenly it all comes down to, "You are a painful, horrible, shameful secret, you're genetically linked to an evil rapist, and maybe I'll have furtive contact with you as long as it's all handled through a liaison so that your own brother and sisters will never know you." What could I do? Nothing. So I loved all of you from afar through the few photos I had.
In time I felt more and more hurt and abandoned. I was keeping my distance out of love and respect for Loretta, but she certainly didn't return the feeling, or harbor even the slightest amount of empathy or compassion for me. The one thing missing in my life is a sense of connection to my true family. It is something I need and crave so very much. I figured that if I couldn't have it with my real mother then perhaps I could find it with my father so I began to search for him. I thought maybe I could find out something about my father and have at least some kind of contact with my mother's side of my family by contacting my uncle. I thought that he could be trusted to keep Loretta's secret for her and might at the same time be able to shed some light on my history. I found him through the computer and he was so kind and compassionate. The first person in your family who showed some understanding of what it must feel like to be in my position. He sent me photographs and some biological information or history, but since he had been away from home at the time of my conception he couldn't help me either. We have remained in contact through the years but your mother was furious with me for having contacted him. About four years ago he said that he would understand if I wanted to contact Lorenda, Eddie and you, but could I please wait a bit until you were all out of college. So I did.
At the same time that I was speaking with Ori I was looking for this person named Tommy Fadigan who Mary had mentioned. Using the biographical description of my father that Loretta had listed in my adoption records, I began looking for him in Philadelphia. I found a Tommy Fadigan who matched all of the biographical data and had even spent summers in New Jersey. His brother and sister in law not only lived near you but knew your grandparents and your mother and had gone to the same church. However, they told me he had never been married and wouldn't have been so hard hearted that he could have raped anyone or refused to marry someone he had gotten pregnant. In fact he was overly sensitive which perhaps was the cause of his alcoholism. However and this is the heartbreaking, awful part for me, he died a hopeless alcoholic homeless man who had spent his last years living in a soup kitchen on skid row. They told me that had he known he had a daughter out in the world somehow it might have turned his life around. They wanted to meet me and even sent photographs and newspaper clippings, they were kind and welcoming but I couldn't get their hopes up if I wasn't certain that he was my father. It wouldn't be fair to them. So...I asked Ori to please appeal to Loretta one more time for the truth. Her response was to tell me that she had never heard of these people and that she never wanted to hear from me ever again. That if I tried to contact her or any member of her family she would sue me and had contacted an attorney in California to do so. Well, I guess this was probably the most painful blow I received. I know that she was frightened and felt threatened by me. But I would never have done anything to harm her. I loved her, she was after all the mother I'd longed to meet all my life. But when she did that something inside me died. Maybe it was hope, I don't know, but I knew then that she couldn't possibly feel anything anywhere close to love or even pity for me, to say something like that. Of course I knew that she couldn't sue me. But just the thought that she felt she had to say something like that made me decide to give her space out of some kind of misplaced filial love that I still don't know why I feel. However to have been totally abandoned by your mother twice in one lifetime isn't something that I would wish on anyone, ever. It was devastating.
At the same time all of these people related to Tommy Fadigan were welcoming me with open arms, and begging me for more contact, but how could I proceed if Loretta said she didn't know who they were? So I did nothing, and even with the chance of realizing a long held dream of having contact with my possible-father's family so close at hand, I let another four years go by. I've thought about having a DNA test performed just to rule them out, but my adoptive mother won't even entertain the possibility of my father's having been a homeless alcoholic whose nickname was Sammy the Salami. Pretty isn't it.
So here I am now, having done the rashest and least thought out thing of my life. I feel horrible and frightened that I've hurt you, your family or Loretta. Part of me knows that we are as sick as our secrets. That lies and secrets fester and need very much to be brought to the light, despite the fear anyone might feel about the outcome. I am a good human being. I am loving and kind. I deserve to know the whole truth of my conception. If I am the product of a rape then I will accept that but I need to know for certain that this is the truth. I need to know why so many different stories have been told. I need to know why Mary believed my father was Tommy Fadigan, why your mother freaked when she heard the name and then later said she'd never heard of it. I need to know who the man in the newspaper article was and why she said, "We made it up," when Mary clearly believed Loretta had been in love with a wealthy man who had been cruel to and never taken her seriously. If this man is my father, despite his horrible treatment of my mother, I deserve the chance to contact him and learn about his half of my biological heritage.
I just don't understand so much of this. I don't understand keeping a secret this big from your husband. I don't understand what there is to be afraid of. Who couldn't feel love and compassion for your mother for what she went through? Why wouldn't people throw their arms around her and say we understand and give her comfort? There isn't anything about this to feel ashamed of, other than the fact that it was kept secret for so long. You know Julie I think I would have done anything for Loretta out of love and gratitude to her. Except just go away and not need to know the true story. I am so sorry for the burden I have placed on you. I only called today to make one last appeal to Loretta because my family have decided to hire a detective to try to find my father. I only hope you can forgive and try to understand me. I hope that we can someday come to know each other. But in the meantime, if you can please tell me what the outcome of our conversation has been. If I can do anything to help, please let me know.
I do love you,
PS: Let me know if you'd like to see any pictures.
My sister's reply:
What you had to say did come as a shock. I've been meaning to talk to my
Mom about it, but there hasn't been a good time yet. Right now I am
extremely consumed with visiting grad schools and deciding where I want to
go in the fall. Please don't try and contact anyone else in my family
until I have a chance to deal with this situation in the best way possible.
I also don't feel comfortable with you referring to some picture that you
obtained when I was younger. I understand that you would like to know the
people who gave birth to you, but you also need to respect the privacy of a
woman who realized that she wasn't in a position to raise a child and
decided to give that gift to someone else. Again, please wait until I talk
to my Mom before you try and contact anyone else. I'll email you after
I've talked to her.
My letter number two to my sister;
Julie you don't have to tell your mother anything if you don't want. I never intended to speak with you. I don't know how healthy it would be, but if you want to pretend this never happened, I won't interfere. On the other hand, if you need some support in this you could talk to Uncle Ori, he might be helpful. I'm really sorry it upsets you to hear that I love you guys and that I have photographs. I think that comes with the decision to keep all of this secret. They gave them to me, I didn't obtain them in some nefarious way. It hurts that you use that word. But I can understand how you feel. Loretta, Ori and Mary all gave me photographs and they all have photographs of me and Beau as well. Ori and I are friends, we have been corresponding for years now. He has been very kind to me. I can't help that I love all of you. I can't help that I want to know my mother and that her rejection of me twice in one lifetime is the most painful thing I have ever had to endure. Again, I'm sorry I came apart on the phone and blurted all of this out, I thought I was speaking to my mother and I was totally thrown. Please don't think of me as some kind of threat. I understand that this isn't a good time for all of you, but let me know someday if it ever is. I wish you luck in finding the right grad school. If you ever need a friend I will be here.
She didn't reply but instead spoke with my birth mother and then suddenly I got this;
You were told the truth ... I do not know your father or his name. I have no idea what the "case workers" told you. In fact, I had no contact with case workers.
I'm outraged that you would seek out Tommy Fadigan's family and tell them that you were his daughter. I do not know Tommy Fadigan. I suggest that you contact his
family and tell them what a horrible mistake that you made!
The "truth" is that I was raped and gave you up to a wealthy, Catholic family that would give you what I couldn't.
Again, I urge you to contact Tommy Fadigan's family and tell them that you were wrong.
Please accept the fact that you were a "product of rape" and that you will never know your biological father.
There is no need to hire a detective. He will only discover that you don't have your story
straight! Enjoy the family that you have been given and refrain from contacting mine. This is the second and last time that I will tell you that I do not know your biological father.
And this is why I'm feeling sad tonight.