We have each other again

I was born in the early 1960s and given up for adoption more or less as soon as I was born. In any case, I never went home with my birth mother. She went back to her parents, where she was living with her two young sons following her divorce.

The fact that I was to be given up for adoption was planned pretty much from the start. I was born at the end of October and was certainly placed with Mum and Dad by the Christmas of that same year. Proud to show me off, I guess, the house was full that Christmas with visiting aunts and cousins, who as the story is told, passed me from one to another as I refused to stop crying!

Mum and Dad adopted me through the same agency as my older brother who, although was 13 months older than me, was placed with them in the same year as I was.

At Christmas 1960 they longed for a child, by Christmas 1961 they had two, and a third followed by Christmas 1964.

I grew up always knowing that I had been adopted. It was Dad’s job to bath us, one after the other (sometimes two together), and he’d sit on the wicker laundry basket in the corner and tell us stories, including the story of how we hadn’t grown in Mum’s tummy but in another lady’s. I guess the ‘cuddle dry’ was the reassurance which we needed to make us comfortable with the facts, although it never bothered any of us.

I wasn’t a model teenager, far from it in fact. Something was going on in my world which I hated (which I won’t go into here), which Mum and Dad, not really knowing what was causing my angst, put down to the fact that I was having some sort of identity crisis.

I really hated them (which is hard to say, but I did), not because they weren’t my real parents, but because they couldn’t see what was making me so unhappy – and I couldn’t tell them. One day, as I yelled and screamed about how I hated them (yes, I actually shouted it at them), Mum spun round and shouted back at me. The words she shouted, although they had no bearing on what was going on in my world at that time, rang in my ears. “You weren’t the only one she gave away, you know.”

Apparently they had taken steps to contact my birth sister. They were still in contact with the social worker through whom we were adopted, as she had become a family friend and, with her having the knowledge of who adopted my birth sister, she was presumably able to pull strings, albeit probably unofficial ones.

However, nothing came of this enquiry. I understand that dad wrote a letter to my birth sister’s father, who was high-ranking in Cambridgeshire Social Services, who refused contact on her behalf. On reflection, it probably wasn’t his decision to make, as my birth sister was 7 years older than me and no longer a child. Nevertheless, attempts to reunite us at that stage failed.

When I was of an age to access my adoption file, I learned that I did indeed have this sister, and what Mum had said was true. Having looked up her birth and knowing what I needed to know, I sent off for her birth certificate – and yes, I indeed had the right person.

I had little option at this stage, I was unable to travel to London and to try and work out who she had become, I lodged a letter in her adoption file.

It was one of those strange things, as only the week before she had asked for access to that very same file! No sooner had my letter arrived in her file, than she had met with Social Services and was presented with it.

That was 15 years ago – what happened from then on has been at times heart wrenching and at others simply the most fantastic thing that has ever happened to me, simply finding her.

The next part of our lives is a story in itself

I am delighted that, although her dad refused to even acknowledge that I exist, my mum and dad (and surviving brother come to that), have had no problem with her being in my world. Moreover, sometime after her own dad died, it was my dad who was heard to say, somewhat tongue in cheek, “Now I can adopt you too’’.

She plays such a fundamental part in my life – our likes and dislikes are so similar, despite the obvious differences in our upbringings.

I am of the opinion that I was luckier than she with my mum and dad, and she agrees. Her dad didn’t have the right to refuse that contact all those years ago, which my dad implored him to have.

We have each other again now and that is all that matters.


© Jessbowbag 2008