My adopted mother Rosella was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Reaching out for sympathy and emotional support she had quietly stated, “There is something I want to tell you before I die. Your birth mother’s name was Becky, Rebecca, Roberta or Loretta, or something like that, and her last name started with the letter M.” I felt as if I had been shot out of a canon but I remained poker-faced to prevent my exuberance from showing.
Over five million people lived in the state of Wisconsin—I planned to call every one of them until I found someone named Becky. A male voice responded positively on the hundredth call. “I have a sister named Becky. She lives on a dairy farm near Madison.” My knees were weak. My heart was racing. My left eye started twitching. My hands were shaking as I envisioned an attractive woman with brown hair looking out her kitchen window at a pastoral scene with a large white barn surrounded by mature shade trees, dairy cows and endless rows of corn. I jumped for joy. I had finally hit the jackpot. My birth mother was living on a dairy farm in Wisconsin—an exotic new lifestyle I had never imagined. I had no experience milking cows. I wondered if we had anything in common.
I could hear myself breathing as I dialed her number. My heart was beating rapidly. “Did you give a baby up for adoption thirty years ago?” There was a long hesitation. She seemed sad and deeply reflective. I starred catatonically into space with my mouth wide open and eyes dilated. My chest was heaving. I could feel myself taking shallow, frequent breaths. “This is Judy. Are you my birth mother?” I asked politely. Her lack of an emotional response was astonishing. The silence was killing me. Why didn’t she just say, yes or no? “I’m sorry,” she finally responded after a lengthy deliberation.
Our conversation fizzled. Was she my birth mother or not? Her vague response to a poignant question of this magnitude was enigmatic. I had never anticipated such a nebulous outcome. I felt like a cold, wet, orphaned puppy. I carefully placed the receiver back on the hook. But wait—I had forgotten to ask Rebecca if she played the violin…I wondered if I should call her back?
Adoption Detective, Chapter 19-Hello Rebecca, p. 121
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