On The Other Hand

July 20, 1998

On the other hand...

Once upon a time, there were two young lovers. They were very young, and very much in love. When it was discovered that she was pregnant, her angry and horrified parents sent her away to a maternity home out of state and sent the law after the young man. He escaped by joining the military and was shipped far, far away.

After the loss to adoption of her first child, the young mother quickly became pregnant again with a replacement baby. Again, her parents demanded that she go away and give the baby up as they felt she was much too young, still, to parent a child. Although she was very strong-willed and determined, she was, in fact, still rather young, and the state stepped in and settled the issue by terminating her rights to the second child she’d born. She went home from the second maternity home a much sadder, wiser, and more subdued person.

Her first love, alone in a strange land, soon found love, again, in the form of a local peasant girl. Having learned from his first experience, and being in a culture where marriages were commonplace at a much younger age than here in America, he married his beloved before bedding her. They had three sons in quick succession and when his tour of duty was over, he and his family returned to the States and life continued in a fairly normal pattern.

Things didn’t go as well for the birth mother. As soon as she turned 18, she left her home and family. Longing for a connectedness she didn’t have, she married and divorced a string of husbands, several of whom left behind living reminders of themselves. In all, she had five more children, by four different fathers, before she was 30. With these children, she finally felt almost complete, almost whole. But she still missed her first two babies.

When the second born of her adopted babies called her out of the blue one day, she was thrilled. She told him all about his brothers and sisters, and about her own life. Their reunion was a good one, and he truly seemed to fit right in with the rest of her kids. But the longing in her heart for her firstborn increased to a point of intolerability. She contacted the maternity home she was in, the agency that handled the adoption, the courts, and even the governor, only to be told that it was impossible for her to be legally reunited. She contacted local support groups, became an activist in the reform movement, and even paid exorbitant fees to underground searchers to find her first born daughter. All to no avail.

However, one day, her phone rang, and when she answered it, the voice on the end was the one she’d waited her whole life to hear. No, not her daughter’s--her first love’s. Because she had married and divorced so often, and even though she had registered her desire for reunion at all the “right places”, her daughter had been unable to locate her. She had however, made contact with her father. But hearing his voice again opened a closed area of the birth mother's heart, an area that had been as sealed as the adoption records for almost 31 years. As they talked, she learned that his beloved wife had died 5 years earlier of cancer.

As they planned a time and place for her to meet their daughter, she wondered if he would attend the reunion also. He said, “Of course!”

The reunion was scheduled for two days later at a motel restaurant centrally located for father, mother, and adoptee. The father actually arrived first, and then the daughter. When the mother walked in she was embraced by both and felt, finally, as if she were HOME.

As the relationship with her daughter progressed, she frequently saw her first love also. They talked often by phone, and met more often than was truly “necessary” to discuss aspects of the reunion with their daughter. Eventually, feeling secure enough with each other, they declared their long-term love and affection, and accepted with joy the re-birth of their romance. Almost 18 months after the initial contact, on their daughter’s 33rd birthday, they were joined, at last, in holy matrimony. All of their daughter’s siblings attended and gave their blessing to the union. Even the bride’s mother attended and danced a dance with the groom.

HINT: A first love can be a very potent, powerful connection. Parents are wiser not to trivialize such feelings.

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