This I Believe

Theresa - Oak Park, Illinois
Entered on May 8, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
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I believe in “my daughter.” 2 simple words “my daughter”, yet for me they’re not simple. They are wonderful, but not simple.

To explain, I must tell you my story.

My family emigrated from England to Chicago in 1967 when I was 15. I was 15 and pregnant.

In 1967, being pregnant at such an early age was cause for secrecy, so my parents put me in a home for unwed mothers. I felt very lonely during my four months in the home, shut away from the world, in a foreign country, waiting for the birth of my child.

I gave birth to my daughter on March 8, 1968. I was never able to hold her. My parents had decided that it would be best for me to give up my child for adoption, and so I was not allowed to even see her. On the day I left the hospital, I snuck down to the nursery and gazed at her through the glass. She was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen – and, at that moment, I decided she would be in my life again one day.

I moved on – finished high school and college, started a career, and waited. One Saturday afternoon, not long after my daughter turned 18, I was listening to NPR – to a program about a local support group for birth parents and adopted children. The woman speaking on the program was a birth mother like me. I felt as though a lightening bolt had struck me. Up until that moment, my pregnancy and the existence of my daughter were secrets. This woman was openly talking about her pregnancy and the son she gave up for adoption. I called her the following day.

For the next year, I faithfully attended the monthly meetings of the support group, and listened to the stories of other birth mothers who had searched and found their children. I hoped to prepare myself for finding my own daughter. I was near the end of my long wait.

When I found her, my daughter was living with her adoptive parents only a few miles from my home. A friend made that first phone call. She found out that my daughter had been trying to find me for the past year.

The waiting was over. We met the following week.

My daughter’s name is Sharon. She is no longer a secret. She has been back in my life for 20 years. Sharon is part of our family, and her photo sits proudly on my desk at work and in our living room at home.

Saying those two simple words “my daughter” sustained me during the 18 years of waiting, after her birth. Those two words gave me the strength to wait patiently, until the time felt right to find her. Now, I am a whole person again.

“My daughter.” In this, I believe.