Police Record Starting Early – “‘1-Day-Old Hitchhiker” ~Newsday, August 21, 1963

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Yes, my adoption story was one I didn’t find the full truth about until about 20+ years ago.

 

And to be completely truthful here, I am still awaiting some truths.

This is when my search for my birth parents changed direction. I had no idea the tru circumstances of my coming into being. The truth I found out was only revealed after I did some basic leg work and kept requesting information. So, my truth I  found out when I reached out to the adoption records department through the NYS Health Department. Much of it was general, no history on the parents. Commonly referred to as ‘non-identifying’ information. They sent me my file and it read read ‘released due to neglect.’ Also in it was a corresponding police report ID #; I had a mission ahead of me.

The next step took some time, but I was able to obtain the original police report. It would be up to me to continue to find any of my identifying information. To utilize what was available. DNA, at that time, was financially out of my reach. I hit the pavement. I tried to connect with the police officers in the report, I searched newspaper microfiche. From there I found the correlating news story. The car belonged to a middle aged woman named Josephine.

hitchhiker

Small world, or my world which is actually 4 degrees and not 6 degrees of separation; my partners / SO’s 2nd cousin actually held me  while waiting for the police to come and get me when I was found that fateful day 53+ years ago. But the ‘coincidences don’t end there.  

As chance would have it, a friend of mine went to high school with Josephine’s daughter. This helped with facilitating a meet and greet.  I was fortunate enough to meet Josephine, and her daughter, in the flesh.  I don’t think she was able to see me as anything other other than the adult that stood in front of her. She couldn’t fathom I was that infant that was left alone with literally nothing but the clothes on my back, a blanket and a religious medal.  In Josephine’s aged years, she questioned me; why did you leave that baby in the car. I really was unable to answer her.

My whole life I knew I was adopted, but the story I was raised with was quite different from the truth. It seems that is a common theme, the truth evading me. From my parents [adoptive ones, the ones that earned the right to be called parents], trying to protect me to the current situation. But here, I don’t think ‘Linda’ [birth mother] is trying to protect anyone but herself. 

I reflect on so many things now. It is with a different perspective. Now I look at it as a mother.  I also look at it as lost sister, lost daughter, lost granddaughter, lost niece, lost cousin, and lost aunt. Overall, that is OK because I did not want for any of those relationships.

Random thoughts that seem to plague my waking hours:

  • The hardest thing for me now is still wondering what the exact truth is.
  • To some it might seem trivial, but I have never known what my actual birth date is since they guesstimated my birth as 12 / 24 hours before I was found. 
  • What is it that led ‘Linda’  to that fateful decision?
  • What was going on in her head.
  • All these years, she never tried to find me.
  • This secret was best left a skeleton in her closet. But the truth is rearing it’s head.

Not looking for justice; none if this is about that. The crime itself has long passed its’ statue of limitations. Answers, truthful answers to just some of those plaguing thoughts. 

For some time after I found out the truth I was pretty unhappy that this truth, my truth, was always kept at bay. But then it occurred to me my adoptive parents, the family that made all the sacrifices to raise me; were just trying to protect me and possibly put a better spin on my birth parents.

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Uncharted Waters

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Yes, this blog is about my search – but my search started when my adoptive mother was on her death bed 24 years ago. My sister; also adopted, and I found our adoption paperwork. It was, I thought at the time, the key leading to all my answers.

It was not my key I held; but my sisters. It held her name and from there her truths would unfold. Almost 22 years ago, I was able to give her the gift of her biological family. I had connected some info on an adoption bulletin board on AOL. That first contact find was made in the middle of the night and I had to wait until at least 7:30 AM before I could share this my sister, JA. I don’t remember if I even slept. I remember she wasn’t as keen on finding her family as I seemed to be; but she wanted her truth. She found out her truth and so much more. She learned of a family that had always been searching for her. 

The post on AOL was a maternal aunt searching for her and a full brother that had always been looking. Hours passed in the day before I was able to catch up with JA and find out what had transpired when she had spoken to her aunt. 

JA had another large family. There were several  siblings, the paternal side practically tripling the maternal side. I think 7 or 8 paternal siblings, one full brother and 2 maternal siblings. 

Well, there’s a brief history; but why am I sharing this. I am in ‘Unchartered Waters.’ You see, one of JA’s paternal siblings, a sister younger by about 16 months, Trish, is leaving this world momentarily. She has fought the good fight against pancreatic cancer and some other complications. Trish will be leaving this earth a loving and brave soul with cherished memories of her left behind. I really didn’t know her at all; but I am plagued with these thoughts and emotions.

  • This isn’t my sibling, but I am so truly saddened.
  • How do I help my sister, JA?
  • How can I be there for her?
  • What can I do to save her from this pain when I cannot share it the same way?
  • No matter what had transpired with us, drifting apart and coming back together nothing would / will ever stop me from protecting her.

Memories from childhood and memories from adulthood creep into my mind . Memories of me stepping up to be there, support and even protect JA. Memories of JA always being there for me. Memories of experiencing the sadness of death of family members when we were young and so were they.

We were there, as much as children can be there, for the rest of the survivors. We were bereft because we too had lost them forever.  We were much younger than those that had fallen from this place of the living. Maybe too young to be able to really express ourselves. We were mourning our cousins, aunt, uncle and grandparents. They were more than family; they were our lifeline after our parents, sometimes our protectors, our confidants, our friends & playmates; they were our beloved.  

Final thoughts

  • Appreciate the here and the now!
  • Reach out and let those important to you know, they make a difference to you!
  • Let those you care about know they are important!
  • Take a moment for yourself, take a deep breath and enjoy a moment just for you! 

To you, my dear reader, I say thank you for letting me share this slightly off topic post.

 JA always my #1 sister, my friend, my go-to, and so many more things that  are too long to list; but if you are a sibling, then you know the list! And thank you for being you; you mean the world to me and make my world better!!!!

♥♥♥♥

 

My Own Great Wall Still Standing

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May 2016 So many things to update here ...

There is a breakthrough on my search, for my original tribe – it seems a unique surname; Urdaz, has come up on three separate Ancestry trees where I  have a DNA match. I have reached out to several descendants of Emilio Rivera Urdaz, 1891 – 1957 Arecibo, PR. There’s probably a good chance one of his 9 children could offer some insight to my vague beginnings. However, two have since passed. The one living in NY when I was born is one of those two. Emilio Rivera y Fuentes 1937 – 2001 Queens, NY. He might have held the key. Right now I am waiting to hear back from his daughter, YS, that wonders if we are related. We are; she hasn’t DNA tested yet. We are biologically related! We are family! She is part of my first tribe. How close are we I wonder? A closer relative to Emilio Rivera Urdaz. If I wasn’t adopted; would we have even grown up together? She grew up not more than 40 minutes from me. So close, logistically and biologically!

urdaz post

Then there are few other cousins I reached out – one is very cold when I speak to him on the phone. It didn’t start out that way. In fact the first time we spoke; this second cousin of mine Reynaldo, he seemed genuinely interested in my story and helping me out. Then he went to visit family in PR and has since been very distant the times I have tried to reach out o him on the phone. Another cousin remains in the shadow, Emilio – I have tried to reach out to him via social media and through Ancestry – both so far a bust. Lastly, the the grandson of one of Emilio Rivera Urdaz’ daughter, Daniel has reached out with more of an open hand. We are working to build up that relationship. Although Ancestry recently reconfigured the way they measure SNP’s and we are now a bit further apart on the DNA tree. I don’t think his grandmother ever ventured from PR; so that would make sense.

The most frustrating is a match on ancestry that is just a basic member – with a vague name, no family tree, no identifying information except – female, probably in the NY area and a 1st cousin match. Several attempts at reaching her go answered in the ancestry in-mail system. FIRST COUSIN Match – OH MY!! and I cannot get any information from her. [Big sigh of disappointment as I shake my head]

These walls seem pretty unsurmountable at this point – but eventually something  has to break. Patience is not one of my better traits; but what choice do I have.

Waiting for My Bulldozer …. to answer my lifelong question; Who Am I?

 

Elated!! Ecstatic!!

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Wonderful fabulous week and it’s only Tuesday!!!

I spend so much time on the DNA sites; checking for new matches; looking at names, looking for hints of information. Calculating how can I be related to this person? How can I connect the dots of their life & world to mine. Where do they live now?  Where has their family lived?

Over thinking until I am exhausted and still empty. My cup runneth over with information; but it is too distant for me to make sense of it – YET!!!!

But yesterday …. YESTERDAY I found out I finally have a surname I can call my own … Miranda!!! It’s official! thank good news for MY COUSIN TRACIE, who figured this all out. Her acumen in Gedmatch is to be admired!! I am still pretty green on doing this.

Finally!!  Finally!!!    Finally!!!!   HUGE sigh of relief!!!

Late last night with the last bit of energy I had to stay awake; I exuberantly entered my newly confirmed surname into my profile on Ancestry, FTDNA & 23andme.

It gets better though … I have been in contact via the DNA sites ‘in-mail’, email, phone calls, Facebook, texts and also working on Skype calls.

I have been fortunate to have so many new cousins. These new additions are under the special grouping of primas & family in my contacts. I know each day how increasingly important they have become because each time I see an email or a call or even a FB entry that they have made; I cannot wait to get to it, to answer that call. And when I do, I am smiling from ear to ear! Truly, I consider them friends as well because they are lovely wonderful warm open hearted people.

Well, this Friday I meet my cousin Karen IN THE FLESH.

This is the VERY FIRST COUSINS I WILL MEET IN PERSON!! [squeal squeal squeal].  I cannot wait!

Bridging the Gap Between My Two Tribes!

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I reached out Irene – a cousin of a 1st cousin by marriage, her paternal 1st cousin; from my Life sustaining tribe – and also she is also a cousin from my original tribe. There is definite genetic & paper trails to her maternal grandmother.

I gave Irene the outline of my adoption; how we are connected through both my tribes and a little of the travels on this path.

I received a very positive uplifting response from Irene and value it more than I can actually convey at this time. No matter our connection; she considers me a cousin!

My world has always been about less than the predicted 6 degrees of separation – and so that trend continues.

What’s in a name? What’s mine?

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A way we define ourselves
Our nationalities
Our culture
Our traditions
Our family

Whenever my sister and I found ourselves under the scrutiny of our parents, because we had done something they felt was wrong, the statement – “I gave them my name” was held over over our heads. In retrospect; I never really paid it much attention. More recently, though, I wonder, what was my name before my adoption?

Does a name really define us? It is the one of the primary ways others define us?

If we look to conception; we start out simple and then grow into so many other roles. But that singular word; our first name defines us to our immediate family and friends later on; our surname will define us to many others throughout our life time.

We start first as

  • Baby
  • Gender defined
  • child
  • sibling
  • grandchild
  • niece / nephew
  • cousin
  • etc.

then we change into the age related categories

  • infant
  • toddler
  • preschooler
  • elementary school aged
  • pre-teen / prepubescent
  • teenager
  • HS senior
  • HS graduate
  • new driver
  • college student
  • college graduate
  • worker bee
  • spouse / SO
  • parent
  • middle aged
  • retired
  • senior
  • referred to in the past

and the cycle starts again

Still, I may be all of those things whether here in my life sustaining tribe or with my original tribe. The fact is that I was adopted, and welcomed into someone else’s tribe; that I appreciate. But the question still lingers – what is my original name. Like that age old Zen Koan; ‘what was your face before you were born?’

What are the names of my biological tribe?

  • my parents
  • my sibling/s
  • my grandparents
  • my cousins
  • my aunts
  • my uncles

Where would I be today if I had remained with my original tribe?

Documentary?? Too Good to be true … but THANKS Universe – I would love to!!!

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Since I found out my true story; I tried to do the search thing ‘old school detective style’. It hasn’t yielded any insight into who my birth-parents could be.

After years of disappointing efforts I was enchanted with affordable DNA testing. Here again, my hopes were raised; but not too high, my *closest public relative is about 3.8 generations* from me. There are second cousins on one of them; but for whatever reasons they have chosen to remain that way even after I had contacted them a few times.

However, DNA testing has been incredibly successful in other ways. So many things have come to light: my nationalities, a plethora of family from my ‘Original Tribe’. In addition I have been privy to many family stories – that may or may not also belong to me – yet I have a sense of ownership because even if they aren’t ‘mine’ per-see, they are the stories of my cousins!

In my quest to find my Original Tribe; I have been on adoption sites for years and more recently on Facebook Adoptee / Triad pages. I sporadically will visit the pages. One lucky day, I noticed this post – a lovely woman posted her friends email address to contact if you are interested about your story being documented. Well, it happened to be a great day for me!

I sent a quick email stating my interest to share! Recently, I was contacted by the woman who just completed this documentary – https://www.feeln.com/films/journey-of-dreams. [they are connected to Hallmark – WOW] She had been busy wrapping up a film and hadn’t forgotten about me. ‘Can I share my story with her.’ Well, I gladly did!!

I shared my story; some information that I haven’t been extremely forthcoming about for no other reason than I just wasn’t comfortable; and it seemed that it may make others uncomfortable. I included the newspapers articles from when I was first found and the one from done 35 years later, one of gratitude to my birth mother for having me.

I also am fortunate to have a copy of my foster care records, and the accompanying police report from when I was found. Attached those as well. Being found abandoned at approximately a day old with no knowledge of the birth parents did not make for a successful police investigation. Fifty plus years ago; information was not as easily shared, computers did not exist as they do today and the idea of an **unwanted child** is much more accepted.

Well, I received a response; the team is now considering my story for a documentary. This is huge!! People have been reporting incredible success with just posting their stories on Facebook. A documentary! WOW!! That can be the path to the MY TRUTH that I seek. The path to finding my ‘Original Tribe’.

Thank you Universe!

Thank you to the wonderful people at feeln.com!

Thank you to my wonderful ‘Original Tribe’ family!

Thanks to my ‘Life Sustaining Tribe’, how I got to here and now!

And most of all to my spouse & children that propel every success I achieve!

Note:

*This cousin, ‘3.8 generations’, is one of my closest original tribe family. We are in constant communication and it’s wonderful! AND, there are more cousins that I am also in VERY close contact with, 4th generation and beyond. The thing is, we are friends because we found out we are family. It is a wonderful feeling! We text, email, talk, try to Skype, share on Facebook. We hope to meet soon; for me with two toddlers and working full-time, etc., I have limited time and energy right now; but I look forward to that incredible day!

I guess I would have to call them framily!  They are supportive and informative and try to help me find out more information. I feel so fortunate.

**Now, here I would like to clarify ‘unwanted child.’ I really cannot speak of my birth mother and possibly birth father’s true intentions or feelings. I do not know what motivated her / him / an unknown helper / them. What I do now, they had some kind of spirituality / religion and they believed in the miracle of life. I can only conclude from their actions that they probably knew they were unable to care for an infant / child and hoped for the best.