Home > Family Life, mommy time, parenting > I once was lost…

I once was lost…

Mommy, Cyndi, Daddy

So this isn’t something that usually comes up unless some brave soul tries to navigate my family tree, but I am (legally) adopted… sort of. The adoption itself was legal, so that’s not the sort of part. The adoption papers, from what I recall, show that both my parents adopted me, but my mother is my biological mother; my legal father is her second husband. 

Yeah, it’s complicated. 

Now, I’ve learned over the years that anything my mother tells me is more likely than not to be extremely slanted with enough spin to be a tilt-a-whirl ride at the World’s Fair… but this is the story as it was told to me.

 My mother married my biological father, who was in the military, when they were very young (she was 19 when I was born). According to Mom, he abused drugs (she of course was just a recreational user, which was to be expected since it was 70’s) and became physically abusive. She told me that she left him after he turned his abuse on me. She alleges that he threw me across the room, and I hit the wall before sliding into my crib. She rushed to my defense; he broke both her wrists, and then refused to let her seek medical treatment. Eventually he either left the premises or passed out, and she put me in my stroller and went to the base hospital. I couldn’t have been much more than a year old at the time. She married the man I call daddy around the time I turned three. Supposedly, when I was five years old my biological father agreed to relinquish custody so my stepfather could adopt me. My last name was changed to Neuberger, and a revised birth certificate was issued listing my mother with her maiden and (2nd) married name and her 2nd husband as my father.  

 When I started high school, I decided I wanted to change my name back to Whitmore. Although I did have a strained relationship with my dad (due partly to teen angst but mostly to the tilt-a-whirl of my parents’ divorce), this was primarily driven by teasing I endured as a child that lingered on into high school. Having a last name that sounds anything like “new” when you’re in a military family and constantly the “new” kid is bad enough, but having a last name that inevitably led to me being dubbed the New Booger was torture. I was a cheerleader in a town small enough that they’d announce us by name before performances, and it always made me cringe. I didn’t want to go out into the grown up world of job applications constantly having to explain how to pronounce it or carrying the painful memories I associated with it. My grandparents were willing to foot the bill, but my mother was resistant. I dug in my heels and when I ordered my class ring sophomore year, I had my birth name inscribed on the inside. Eventually it became clear to her that I wasn’t buying any of the nonsense she was trying to derail me with, and that this change would happen… it could either happen with her consent then or it would happen when I turned 18… She eventually relented, and the name change was done the summer before my junior year. The attorney inquired whether I wanted the adoption reversed, but I declined. I would be moving to AZ to live with my grandparents and get residency the summer before my senior year, so college tuition wouldn’t be as expensive. I wondered if I had any siblings, and considered trying to find my biological father. My mother gave me my original birth certificate, a copy of the adoption paperwork, the last known city of residence for my father & his family, as well as a bunch of old pictures from when she and my biological father were first married, which included pictures of a grandmother and numerous aunts & uncles, and a cousin.

After moving to AZ and away from her influence, I developed a much stronger relationship with my daddy (adoptive father) and realized more fully how manipulative and deceptive my mother could be. I figured she probably made it difficult, if not impossible, for my biological father to have any relationship with me. I thought again about finding him, but it just wasn’t that important to me. I strongly considered doing so again when I was pregnant with my first child, if for no other reason than to have a complete medical history… but the need just wasn’t that great. Over the years was occasionally run his name through people finders or social networking sites… would usually come across some potential leads, but was never willing to shell out money to get additional information. I guess I felt that he had given me up, and he would find me if he really wanted to… it wouldn’t be difficult since I was using his name. I think by my mid 20’s I had little to no expectations that I would ever know him, but I wasn’t particularly troubled by that. I have a daddy, and he’s not perfect by any means, but I’ve never doubted that he loved me and considered me his in every way (except maybe during that teen angst period I mentioned).

This is as far as I got this morning before work, but it’s already pretty long so I’m going to split this edition into two installments. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish the next segment tonight or tomorrow.

…but now am found « curlykidz.

  1. Joyce Edlinger
    November 19, 2009 at 7:36 PM

    oh my gosh, how did I get in this picture. I had no idea that as a child you looked just like me when I was a child…

  2. November 19, 2009 at 8:29 PM

    I told you, didn’t I?!?!?!

  3. Joyce Edlinger
    November 19, 2009 at 11:18 PM

    yes you did, and looking at your picture now I know if we were seen together that it would probably be obvious that we are related. Even so I didn’t think it would be like that, gee you look more like me then my own children did when they were little…

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