The Empty Pages
The Empty Pages
For those of you who are praying and following my story—so far, I’ve managed to piece together that my maternal grandmother by adoption had two brothers that were both married at separate times to a woman named Doris that lived in Reno, Nevada. Aunt Doris was living right there in my hometown throughout my adoptive mother’s increasingly “volatile” marriage to my alcoholic first adoptive father, as well as my two older brother’s births, and mine as well. My maternal grandmother, by adoption, married this woman’s cousin, my maternal grandfather, by adoption. All had grown up together in Idaho and were very close friends.
Doris passed away at the age of 104 in 2003 in Reno. She would have been 65 years of age at the time of my birth. I sure wish she were still alive. It feels strange that by proxy she was related to me, but I never knew my adoptive mother had any relatives living so close when she was going through such a difficult time in her life. I can’t imagine why I have no memory of this woman, unless I was hidden from her too. My first adoptive father’s relatives from back east shared with me in a phone conversation in recent years, “We received birth announcements for both of your brothers, but to this day have never even seen a picture of you.” Long after the fact it was like, “Oh, by the way we have a baby girl,” strangely nothing about adopting me or how I came to be a part of their family.
It shouldn’t be the first pages of anyone’s Baby Book—to learn that the delivery doctor took me out of the hospital late in the evening and just literally handed me as a newborn to a couple of his choosing, most-likely as a payback for something they had done for him. “My new parents” were definitely not in any position to raise a child for a number of different reasons. And just as disturbing is why they already had another newborn two months older than me in their possession with no placing agency or any involvement by the state. I know in my heart my late mother who gave birth to me would have wanted a better life for her baby—not one equally or more unstable than her own was at that time.
Sometimes, I wonder, “What difference would it make to know the truth at this point in my life?” I want my beginnings to no longer feel so dark and sinister. Is it just a coincidence that the doctor’s wife’s nickname was Jo and his daughter’s name was Ann? But frustratingly, my adoptive parents and the doctor who delivered me went to their graves refusing to even tell me the truth about my name.
I still don’t know the answers to my heart’s desire, but I am not giving up. Thank you to my friend, you know who you are, for your understanding and willingness to keep steering me a little closer in my search for significance. I want to believe that my great Aunt Doris would have answered this simple question: “Is there any truth to hearsay that I was named JoAnne after my adoptive mother’s “mystery” favorite aunt’s newborn that passed away at birth?”
It would mean so much to me to find out I was named after a special little girl. One of my passions is making a difference in children’s lives and it would give me back a piece of truth that I have lost in this lifetime. I need a namesake as closure.