Sunday, January 29, 2017

Winners

Please take the time to read my important message below.  Love you all. ❤️ Linda

December 27, 2016
We are all winners.

Sometimes just one decision we make in our life makes everyone we care about a winner. Even if that decision seems at the moment to be a bit unusual and risky, the results can be rewarding and make us proud that we did what we did.

In my long lifetime, I have come to many "roads not taken" and made many decisions. I live comfortably in the present without dwelling on why I did what I did and what I should have done.  But I must say that the most difficult decisions have made me a winner. And I am pretty confident in saying that my other family members involved in my decisions are winners, too.

Perhaps the most difficult decision I ever made was at the age of 22. Near the end of an extremely successful four years of university study, I was a victim of date rape on New Years in my hometown ( whew! I finally wrote it) and became pregnant after my very first "sexual experience." In a time before Roe vs. Wade, and I having internally and mentally denied that this had actually happened to me, I finally told my parents about my pregnancy after about four months. My mom immediately began organizing my summer at the Methodist Home for Unwed Mothers in New Orleans, Louisiana, and I took my exams and graduated from college.

Much of what my parents and I said or did about this "situation" back  46 years ago has been lost in my memory. Over the years, I have pushed all of that as far back into that "file cabinet drawer" of my brain as I could. My parents must have done that, too. Because after I returned from the Home in New Orleans, we never talked about "the summer that I went away."

Last year when I cleaned out my mom's paperwork and belongings, I never found a trace of any documentation or letters (of which we wrote many) from that time. A detective would have had difficulty finding any proof that anything unusual had happened back in 1970.

As my parents are no longer alive, I can say with an open heart that as an adult I was the one who made the decision to relinquish my child for adoption. As I wanted to make sure that I would stand by that decision, I asked that no one should allow me to see or hold my child. As cruel and as hard as it might seem, the child I carried was not the child I planned. The situation of force and threatening during conception cemented even more my decision.

The sooner this could be over and done, the better.  I spent the months of June, July, August, and September 1970 working as a nurse's assistant in the medical clinic of the Home. I sorted and distributed meds ( basically iron tablets) to the other residents, took urine samples for testing, cleaned and sterilized medical equipment for the weekly visits from the OB-GYN, organized the timetable for the appointments for the doctor's visits, and took care of the residents in the infirmary who had given birth and were waiting to go home (with or without baby). I had a fulltime job for four months that I would never ever be able to include on my job experience resume.

Near the end of my stay in New Orleans, I gave birth by induced labor to a baby girl. After the birth, a hospital nurse helped me walk to a pay telephone to call my parents to let them know that I was okay and had had a girl child. I must not have stayed more than one night in the hospital, but then again I do not remember. I do remember that there was complete silence from the back seat of the car when we were driven from the hospital back to the Home. For over 46 years I wondered if that baby girl even came with the nurse and me or if she had passed away.

Louisiana adoption records are as locked tight as Fort Knox, so for over 46 years neither I nor my parents were notified that someone was looking for me. That all changed on November 9, 2016. While my husband, son, and I were still trying to recover from a presidential election like no other, I got the call. "Linda, does September 29, 1970 mean anything to you?" It was the child that I had given up for adoption. I was indeed surprised. Not shocked, since I knew that someday someone would reach out to me. If for nothing else than to ask, "Why? Who am I? And can I expect to have a healthy life?"  Or I would find out some sad news that she had passed away.

Recently I met L. face-to-face for the first time in my old hometown. The meeting was good. She and her husband were like dear friends that my husband and I had not seen in a while. Before we even left home to drive to meet them, I had finally come to the conclusion that I had definitely made the right decision over 46 years ago. We have all become winners because of that decision.

L's adoptive parents got the sweet baby girl they had always wanted. L. had two loving parents and siblings and a wonderful childhood in a happy family. She then met her future loving husband while in high school, and they are the proud parents of a smart, adventurous son.

The decision I made 46 years ago allowed me to go on with my career as a teacher (no school district hired unwed mothers as teachers in 1970) and finally earn enough money to travel to Europe and meet my future Dutch husband. My eventual move to The Netherlands would later lead me to teach for over 26 years of my 37 year teaching career at one of the most prestigious international schools in the world. And after marrying the love of my life, I gave birth to my one and only son who became a"jet-setter" dual citizen at the young age of 7 months and is now an engineer for an important international oil company.

We are all winners from the decision that I made.

8 comments:

Janie Junebug said...

Linda, Yours is truly a fascinating story, and I thank you for sharing it with us. Everything turned out the way it should.

Love,
Janie

Joanne Noragon said...

You did the right thing, then and now. The world is better for making light the dark, and you are better for adding a daughter to your family.

Buttons Thoughts said...

Linda yes indeed you are all winners.I am sure this was a hard post to put up there but I think more people should be as brave as you. There is a healing with the truth.As Janie said everything turned out the way it should. I am sending my respect and my love, oh and not to forget HUGS.xo B

Joyful said...

This is a good news story about an adoption gone right for everyone. So glad for you and your family.

Linda said...

Putting this post "out there" in the World Wide Web was easier than I thought. That is all that I will say about my decision to publish it here. Thank you, Janie, Joanne, Buttons, and Joyful for your kind and supportive comments. I asked for no glory in publishing this. It is what it is. ❤️Linda

Curt Iles said...

Linda, I am moved beyond words. Thank you for sharing this. You are very transparent and brave.

Love,

Curt

Marty said...

I just surfed on in to this blog and wanted to say how much I admire your honesty & courage.

David Smith said...

I am so glad you had a happy ending. I admire your courage and am happy that you both got to meet to answer a lifetime of questions. Thank you for sharing. David