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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cliff's Story


When I wrote about the adoption of my daughters - many people had their opinion.... Many were nice and some not so nice..... regardless of how nice or not so nice the comments were - it opened my eyes to the many challenges that all parties in the adoption process go through... I am not saying I am an expert - far from it - I am saying that I now have a more compassionate heart and I am not as ignorant as I once was.....

My husband and I met our friends Cliff and Karen on a cruise ship in 1992 - Dusty and I were celebrating our three (3) year anniversary and Cliff and Karen were celebrating Cliff being cancer free for one year... It's funny to me how we met on the first night of our seven (7) day cruise to the Mexican Rivera.... When we got on the ship - I wanted to cry.... We were on a very old ship that set sail from San Diego, Ca - the ship was very small - no wonder we got such a great deal... as we were looking for our cabin - we had to weave in and out of all the walkers, wheelchairs, and very slow walking individuals.... I think the closest person to our own age was 70.... So on that first night after dinner - we went outside on deck so I could smoke a cigarette (I quit 4 years ago) - and across the deck - we saw a couple with Brown Hair.... and the wife was smoking.... we worked our ways towards each other - they spotted us too.... Seventeen (17) years later - Cliff and Karen are still our best friends....

Cliff shared his story with us many years ago - the story of his adoption that happened over 50 years ago.... It amazes me how different the process is today...

Ever since Cliff could remember he knew he was adopted.... he believed that he was special because he was chosen.. He said that his parents told him that other parents got stuck with what they got when they gave birth and they felt sorry for those people... Cliff believed it and it made him feel good.... Over 50 years later - he likes that memory..... In the days of his adoption - his adoptive parents did not meet with the birth parents.... they did not get a medical history..... they basically got a phone call one day that told them they had a baby boy.... and a few years later a baby girl... His parents went to the orphanage and picked up their new children.... In those days - adoptive parents were not put under a microscope as much as they are today... In Cliff's case - he was raised by middle class parents who loved him and his sister..... As Cliff grew up into early adulthood - he did not really think much about being adopted - it really did not matter to him.... but it did matter to his sister - she was angry towards her unknown birth parents... she felt abandoned.... and it upset her life for many many years.....

Cliff and Karen tried for many years to have children - they went through it all - after more tests than they could count - they decided to adopt... When they started the process - Cliff become curious about where he came from.... He needed to know.....

Cliff knew what county he was born in - he was able to get his birth certificate but before they handed it to him they whited out the birth parents' names.... crazy - (my kids have two birth certificates - the original and the one showing as our child - we got them in the mail automatically) Cliff was able to scratch off the white out and see the name - he knew she was from the mid west - he found a phone number that fit her and called..... a lady answered - he said my name is Cliff and I have reason to believe you are my birth mother.... silence.... and then the lady says through tears in her voice - I have been looking forward to this day.... now I got to break the news to my husband and kids... (they did not know about Cliff)..

Cliff met his birth mom and his 3 siblings - funny thing he discovered is that his brother - had almost the exact same personality - both Cliff and he were handy with their hands and both love love love to talk.. His birth mom told him that she had gone to LA on summer break - went to a party - drank too much - had sex with a cute man (her first time) - came home - and learned that she was pregnant... When she was starting to show - she came back to CA and stayed with relatives and then an unwed mother home - and never did she the baby she gave birth too... She gave Cliff the name of his birth father - Cliff found him too - but the birth father refused to acknowledge Cliff and hung up..... Cliff was hurt but was okay with it too.....

Cliff's adoptive parents have both passed away but he is close to his birth mother and his brothers and sister... his children know her as grandma.... Cliff had asked his sister if she too wanted to meet her birth parents.... and she does not.....


6 comments:

  1. Is it fair to ask you here? With all due respect, did Cliff ever say if he was happy he decided to find his birth parents or did he regret having found them. I've always wondered about this but I don't know anyone so willing to talk about their adoption(s). I suppose it might be different with each circumstance but this is a question I've always had. Please feel free to delete this comment if you don't feel it's appropriate. I won't be offended. I don't want anyone to use it as an excuse to be mean to you. I would hate that.

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  2. It's nice to hear the story from an adult who was adopted. We have friends with 2 adopted children and the daughter who is now 22 is starting to look for her birth parents. Our friends are good with this and are helping her, but are hoping she isn't hurt in the process as they have friends this happened to.

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  3. Oh Sew Good - I asked Cliff that exact question and yes he is very happy he met her. He knows he was lucky because those days everything was so hush hush - the county clerk who whited out the birth cert even told Cliff how to scratch it off - many adoptees are not so lucky. Cliff did say the relationship between him and his birth mom's husband is not the best - they just don't really talk - they are respectful towards one another but that is it - he is happy to meet his siblings - his sister he grew up with wasn't happy in the beginning and really does not talk about his relationship with his birth family - but for the most part - Cliff is happy to have a relationship with them now. That being said he still respects and loves his adoptive parents - one does not take away from the other it just brings more to love

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  4. My cousin is adopted and she met her birth parents and siblings when she was 21. It was an experience she was glad she had.

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  5. What a wonderful story of how it all turned out. I guess it gives some closure to those that are adopted and helps them move on in their current lives. What a blessing it truly is to adopt a child!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

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  6. As a newly (within the last year) reunited adult adoptee, I can say that I'm very glad that I have my natural family back in my life..and they say the same. It's been a roller coaster of emotions though and has brought up a lot of long buried feelings of loss and rejection. I'm glad that things worked out well for Cliff.

    And, since I can't seem to keep my mouth shut sometimes, I did just have to say to Heart2Heart, that it might be a blessing to adopt a child, but that's not always how the adoptee views the situation.

    ~Cricket

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