Hidden Agenda

June 25-July 11, 1998

Once upon a time, there were two teenagers in love. They had dated for several weeks and were sure that THIS love would last forever. Therefore, they consummated their love, and in doing so, created a child.

When their parents were told of the pregnancy, the young lovers were separated, she to a maternity home in another state, he to the military. They didn’t see each other for about a decade--in fact, their next meeting was at their 10 year High School Class Reunion. Time had made little difference in their feelings for each other, and soon they were married.

What time could not do, togetherness did! While their attraction and affection had led to marriage, the pain, guilt, and shame of their missing child drove a wedge between them. They silently, even unconsciously, blamed each other for the loss of the child, a daughter. Neither of them could bring themselves to discuss it until the lack of discussion had torn the marriage apart. They divorced.

The boy/father/ex-husband found himself alone and drinking too heavily. In an effort to put his life in some sort of order, he began attending a 12 step group and learned to make amends for the wrongs he had done. Finally, he arrived at a point where he decided that he needed to find his daughter and make amends to her and to her mother, also. He called his ex-wife and told her his plans. She, in turn, told him her plans: she was engaged to be married.

An investigator was hired and the search conducted in record time. The father met her shortly after the investigator found her. The daughter was very happy to have been found and to have contact with members of her birth families. After their meeting, the father called the mother to tell her the good news. He felt good about himself, that he had finally “done the right thing”. In fact, he paid the adoptee’s plane fare to meet her mother. Mother and daughter called from the airport to assure him of the safe arrival and to thank him.

After that, he heard nothing more. Not from his daughter. Not from her mother. When his concern overcame his anger and frustration, he tried calling his daughter, only to learn that her phone had been disconnected. He tried calling his ex-wife, but a man kept answering. Finally, he flew to the state in which she lived, rented a car, and drove to her home. There, he was met by his ex-wife, her new husband, and the daughter he had reunited them with.

He returned the rental car, flew back to his home, and crawled into a bottle of Jack Daniels. He hasn’t been seen or heard from much since then.

HINT:A reunion with a child placed for adoption does not guarantee a reunion with the other birth parent. Reunioning needs to be done for its own sake, not for what it may “fix” elsewhere in the searcher’s life. This father had a hidden agenda, possibly unknown even to himself. He wanted to win back the one woman he felt he had ever truly loved by returning her daughter to her. When his action didn’t bring about the desired result, he felt he had failed and drank to obliterate his pain.

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