The following sayings were given to me by my mother, Patty Cole (pictured above with my father, Sam Cole), in 1993:
"Not flesh of my flesh nor bone of my bone yet still miraculously my own."
"Never forget for a single minute you didn't grow under my heart but in it."
I was born on Friday, April 3, 1970 in a hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana and given up for adoption through the welfare agency (I found out later that they no longer handle adoptions). I was given to a foster mother and lived with her for about a month before my parents received me; my adoption was final on February 25, 1971. I can't remember a time when I didn't know I was adopted; my parents were very open about it and made sure to answer any questions I had about it. They were very supportive and let me know that when I was ready to start my search for my biological parents, they would help me in any way they could. They had an ulterior motive, a good one; they wanted to thank her for giving me up so they could have me. Sweet huh? *sniff*
Growing up, kids were cruel, especially once they found out I was adopted, then it got really bad with all the teasing. I was called all sorts of names, but the one thing they said that only bothered me for a second, was, "…at least I know who my real parents are…" That's just it, I knew (and still know) who my real parents were, they were the people who adopted me, loved me, took care of me, raised me. That's what I knew in my heart and that's all that mattered to me. Admittedly though, I did feel as if something was missing from my life, almost a void. I was always curious about the woman who carried me for nine months and made the most loving sacrifice she could make. She gave me up so I could have what she felt she couldn't provide; a stable, family environment. For that, I will always be grateful to her. Yet, I missed not knowing who she was, this mystery woman who made such a sacrifice. I found myself missing her despite not knowing who she was.
You know when talk shows have reunions for people who are searching for their biological parents/children? It was hard to watch them, but I still watched them. It was encouraging that other people were able to find their biological family even though I hadn't found mine. I cried every time one of those shows were on because I wished I was the one getting reunited (I still cry when I watch one of those shows). There was even a song on the radio that would bring me to tears, "Somewhere Out There", from An American Tail; I mention it (including lyrics) on my adoption page.
It was funny, years before I started my search, my mother showed me my adoption papers, there was one thing that they forgot to black-out, my biological mother's name at them time of my adoption. That ended up working to my advantage when I decided to start my search. In approximately February of 1994, I was living in Akron, Ohio with my husband and my son (my daughter wasn't born yet). It was around that time that I decided to search for my biological mother. I tried writing letters to search agencies, support groups, and even attempted the welfare department, despite knowing that they no longer handled adoptions. I was hoping they could refer me to someone who could help.
They referred me to the Indiana Adoption Reunion Registry. You sign-up and if there's a match with either a biological parent, or a biological sibling, they will be contacted to see if they want to meet with you. I signed-up, but never had a match. They also referred me to the Indiana Adoption Coalition, which can be found on the Indiana Adoption Directory. I spoke with someone by the name of Suzy Singleton (I don't believe she works with them anymore) who had a contact of hers do a search for my biological mother's last name. There were 60 of them in the country; it was a rare name, so I got lucky. There were two listed in Indiana, my home state (I moved back to Indiana in 1994). I called one of them and left an answering machine message. I figured that I either would get a wrong number, they would think I was some weirdo, or it would be her and she wouldn't want to talk to me. A gentleman called me back to say that he would look into it because he was curious to find out if we were related. Turns out we are. Oddly enough, what happened was that the first person he asked was his sister, who turned out to be my biological mother. He never knew she was even pregnant back then. In 1970 it just wasn't looked upon too favorably to be an unwed, pregnant girl. The only people who knew about her pregnancy were her parents and the biological father.
What I didn't know was that she was still undergoing chemotherapy for Breast Cancer, the first woman in the family to get it, I believe she was just finishing it up at the time and her hair had started growing back so it was pretty short at the time. She called me two weeks later when I was on my way out the door. Needless to say, I was in shock that she was calling me. She wasn't sure why I was looking for her, she seemed afraid that I wouldn't like her when I see her for the first time, but I told her that it wouldn't matter to me if she was blue, I still wanted to meet her and try to establish a friendship with her. Over a short amount of time, we had exchanged letters and pictures and I had already told my parents by this point that she had contacted me. We arranged to meet after I moved back to Indy. In one of her letters, she included a picture of my biological father, a man that I hadn't thought about contacting until I saw his picture. It was of him as a senior in high school. I realized something when I saw that picture, I look just like him (not anymore though, he's got a face full of beard and well, I don't…lol). That made me want to look for him.
Using the information she gave me, I started calling information for his name. Eventually, I found his parents, my grandparents, around 10:30 at night. They gave me his number and told me to call him, despite the lateness of the hour. They said that it's easier to get a hold of him late at night than it is during the day (which still holds true). I called and his wife (at the time) answered the phone. I wasn't sure what to tell her at first, so I just told her the truth of why I was calling and she said she would go wake him. I was worried about waking him up, but she said he wouldn't care, he was looking for me as well. I found out, either over the phone or sometime later, can't remember which, that he about fell out of bed when she woke him up telling him who was on the phone. When he answered the phone I asked him if he knew who it was and he did. Funny thing about it, he was expecting me to find him when I turned 21, so he told me I was late…lol. We talked for about two hours and I've been friends with both my biological mother and biological father ever since.
My biological father, Paul Allen Curry, passed away in his sleep on the morning of March 18, 2008. He was only 58 years old and very much loved by friends and family. It's just like him to leave this earth before the warmth of spring comes, he liked it cold, wet, and rainy; I'd swear his favorite seasons were autumn and winter. I'm including a search box for Find-A-Grave, if you know him and would like to leave virtual flowers or a note, feel free to search for his name and do so.
By my biological mother, I have two, younger, half-brothers, one died almost five years ago in a drunken driving accident. By my biological father, I have one, younger, half-brother. I do my best to keep in touch, but we all have very busy lives. One thing's for sure though, despite the distance, we'll always be friends.