Thanksgiving morning I received an email from an attorney in New Brunswick, Canada requesting help for a 92 year old birth mother. In essence, she stated the woman had given birth here in 1946, had returned to New Brunswick to make a home – leaving the two month old baby with a woman she trusted. She returned to New Mexico and was told the baby had been given a new name, “Joellen Mayfield” and that she could not have her baby back, to go home, and never return. She remembers the woman to be “Mary Mayfield.”
Horrific as that sounds, there are paper trails that can be followed. While the turkey roasted, I was able to determine that this woman’s daughter was born on the date and place she remembered – Clovis, New Mexico. Because I could see this, I knew that the child had never been legally adopted because if she was, that original name would be redacted – changed by Court Order to the new, adoptive name. I was able to determine that there was no “Joellen Mayfield” born in NM in the 1940s. On Monday, I contacted the State Adoption Unit, and the very kind woman there searched as best she could but found nothing. Now – this does not mean that the baby was not “adopted.” It could be that the baby was considered a “foundling…” A person found, and that foundling was given a different date of birth and different name. But she was not named “Joellen Mayfield.”
I turned to a local librarian in Clovis who went through City Directories for the years prior to and right after the year of birth of this child. She sent me copies of all pages, and there was no “Mary Mayfield” living in that City during the years in question.
I have searched ancestry.com and found nothing that matches this description. I have run first name, date of birth searches for Joellen and found only one – living in Texas. She was a very nice lady but assured me she knew she was biologically related to her parents. That, and there were absolutely no ties to New Mexico.
While I am not finished searching, there are items that need clarification. One piece of the puzzle is that Sally File apparently helped with this search around 2000. Supposedly Sally said the child, “Joellen” was alive, starting a career as an “airline nurse” and was engaged. This is all quite tantalizing, but if you draw the timeline, “Joellen Mayfield” would have been 54 years old in the year 2000. Being engaged and starting careers is something that statistically happens in your 20s…not your 50s. What concerns me the most is that I have Sally’s records and she would have done exactly what I did – go through those records to see if there was a “Joellen Mayfield” born in the 1940s.
My point…often traumatic experiences create faulty memories. Untraceable, unverifiable, and unsearchable. I know the woman gave birth, but past that I can prove nothing, nor can I recreate anything. I certainly hope to figure this out for this elderly woman’s “wish list,” but I am not hopeful. I am hoping that someone sees this, and someone knows something that will help me put the puzzle together
UPDATE: I finally located “Mary Mayfield” – Myree Mayfield actually, and her proximate location seemed promising. She had four daughters, the youngest one was born in 1946 and now deceased. Through the wonders of the internet, I was able to find and send photos to the attorney in New Brunswick who showed them to the birth mother. She did not believe this could be her daughter and said that “Mary Mayfield” had no other children. I also located the doctor that delivered this child – deceased in California and apparently living there since 1950, and the nurse…”Scotty” who died in Clovis a number of years ago. It is important to follow – and eliminate, if necessary – all leads when searching. I have done that, and have been able to verify some of the birth mother’s memories. But at this writing, I am no closer to solving this than when I started…
UPDATE SUCCESS (6/8/15): This lovely birth mother decided to petition the courts and have me appointed as Confidential Intermediary. There was no adoption file, but Vital Records was able to send me a copy of the Final Decree of Adoption and a copy of the Texas Birth Certificate that states this adoptee was born in Curry County, New Mexico. And I found her. She is not JoEllen Mayfield – not even close. She has been searching for her mother since the early 1970s and has been turned away by lies and false leads, just as her birth mother has for many, many years. But today, this 69 year old child will talk to her 92 year old mother for the very first time. This. Is. Awesome. And I will remember this search always. I don’t usually cry, but this one….