Above are the only two pictures that I can call my very own of my first adoptive father. I wish I could say it was when life was simpler, but that would not be the truth.
Not too many months ago, I learned that my adoptive father was married before. I contacted his first wife’s grandson. He was cordial and said his late grandmother was not married before. It wasn’t important to me to push the issue. I knew I had the right person. Maybe down the road when a relative is doing their genealogy, they will say, hey, that woman was right :).
Sounds awkward; both my adoptive father’s wives worked together at the same small hospital for many years as RN’s. His first wife and my adoptive father divorced one week before marrying my adoptive mother.
The only reason I contacted the grandson in the first place was to see if he knew the answer to my question, “Do you by chance know why your grandmother divorced my adoptive father?” If everyone else knew my adoptive father had a serious drinking problem, which resulted in his premature death from alcoholism, “Why would anybody in their right mind help my adoptive parents adopt under false pretenses not one newborn, but two newborns a few months apart in age?” His first wife must have known her ex-husband was adopting children; one was born at the same hospital where she and my adoptive mother worked.
When I look at my first adoptive father’s picture I don’t see a bad man, I see a broken man, a human being who didn’t for whatever reason get the help he needed to conquer his disease. I truly don’t ever remember him loving me. Actually, what I recall is a man who didn’t like his little girl all that much. Do I blame him? Obviously, he didn’t need the added stresses of helping raise and support two more children, along with one older biological son from his marriage with my adoptive mother. If I would have had the opportunity to talk with him as a grown-up, these are the questions I would have asked him:
- Why did mom forge your name on my incomplete adoption records in the courts?
- Why all the deception if there was nothing to hide?
- At that time, would your alcohol problem have been the reason for you not even telling your relatives back East about me, until long after the fact?
- Was adopting children one last attempt to try and save yours and mom’s failing marriage?
- Who in heaven’s name wanted me?
No one could possibly understand what I had been searching for all these years. I needed one person to say out loud, “I knew what the doctor who delivered you, the prominent judge, your adoptive mother, and all the other mysterious players involved in putting a child in harm’s way was wrong. I tried to voice my objections to someone who could have possibly made a difference in the outcome. I want you to know I cared about you, the innocent child.”
Instead, I have felt like so many adults let me down as a child.