This is not a good time of year for me. I’ve just had my birthday which always makes me feel a bit down (This is not the happiest of posts).
I was adopted at a very early age (about 6 weeks old) and although I’ve had loving adoptive parents I’ve always wondered what my real mum was like. Over the years I’ve thought about tracing her but not done anything about it, like most other things in my life – partly in an effort to not mess up the relationship with my adoptive parents, but after my adoptive mother died in 2000 I’ve been thinking about it more and more.
Well, after having a particularly bad day in July 2006 I decided it was time to trace my family.
The first step in getting hold of biological details is to get your original birth certificate from the adoption agency in London. This normally takes a few weeks due to the need to involve a social worker in your local borough. Mine was in Brighton, UK. It didn’t take six weeks – not even 12, but 6 months before I eventually got a letter from them. Bizarrely it was a letter inviting me to a workshop. I phoned them up to grumble about this to discover that I should have had a meeting a few weeks before but it seemed that no-one had bothered to contact me about it.
One to one meeting duly booked I wandered along to the Adoption Centre in London Road, Brighton to have a ‘chat’.
This bought on a few emotions that I wasn’t quite prepared for. It left me quite drained. I left the meeting with a birth certificate which showed who I was born as – as well as my mothers name.
It was time for a hunt.
In some ways I was glad I hadn’t searched when I was younger. Using the Internet made the whole job a lot easier than it would have been even two years before. Using a geaenology web site I was able to check the birth records for myslef as well as two potential brothers, my mother, her wedding, her husbands death as well as her parents births and deaths.
I’d gone from knowing nothing to knowing lots in three days. Phew! It was a very intense time.
From finding out all this information I’d found the wedding of my mum. I ordered a marriage certificate from the registry office and waited.
Meanwhile… being the person I am I found I couldn’t wait. I took my close friend @steaders with me and we went to Portsmouth for the day. It seemed odd trawling through the public records looking for my birth – coming away with nothing. The strangest moment was driving through the area thinking that one of the people I was looking at could be related to me.
Anyway, the following day the marriage certificate turned up. It had two addresses on it. One was for my mother, the other for her husband. I did a search for both addresses. Hers wasn’t any good. His though – had listed two people living there. One male, one female. Then names matched those I had found before when searching the registry online.
It would appear I had found her!
I was over the moon (as you can imagine). I was itching to drive down to meet her there and then but managed to contain my excitement for the time being. I had been told that writing a letter was a good way to start and that’s what I did. I included a SAE for her to reply with, hoping that a letter would arrive back. I had been told that sometimes nothing returned or that no reply was sent for a number of years but I had high hopes.
No more than 5 days later I had a reply which implied that she might know of me (good to know I was on the right track) and that it was ok to write again.
Second letter written I waited with baited breath. I’d included my mobile number – just in case.
Then, I got a text message saying ‘Hi’. I had a number….. What would I say? It had been 39 years – I’d never spoken to her – Would I fluff it all up?
After an agonising hour I picked up the phone and gave her a call.
‘Hi, Is that Clive?’
‘Yes, who’s this?’
‘It’s Nick, your brother’
We chatted for nearly an hour about family and other things. It felt like home. We connected so easily even though we hadn’t ever met or spoken before.
Turned out my mother had gone to the supermarket to do the weekly shop.