A couple of years ago I received an email from a man in England. He stated he was doing genealogy research and had received a copy of his mother’s divorce decree from New Mexico. Imagine his surprise to find that in that decree, a judge had ordered his mother to give up a child she was carrying at the time for adoption! Could I help him…?
I did some quick research and found the adoptive name of this child born in 1947. County 4 it said – which is Union County and also where my husband is from. As I settle into searcher mode I look again at that County 4 code. Believe me – there’s not much out there except Clayton, New Mexico. I wander into my husband’s office and ask if he knows this adoptee. Nope.
I continue to search and locate the adoptee in North Texas – not far from Clayton. But I continue to come back to the age and County 4. Finally, I bug my husband again asked my husband if he was sure he didn’t know him. This time I get an….”ahhhh…yeah maybe. I seem to remember somebody by that name. He was really ornery…he’s a little older than me.” I head for his high school year books. And there, quietly sitting in my library for all these years gathering dust, was the photo of the long lost son of a woman from England, who in all probability, did not know the story of his biological family. I quickly scanned and sent the image, along with contact information, to the other side of the world, and I say, “this is probably meant to be…”
The story was definitely unique. A woman meets a man during WWII in England, marries him and comes back to live in Corona, New Mexico. They already have one daughter together, born in England, and then they come “home” to New Mexico. Back to a land so unfamiliar, so isolated, that this war-time marriage quickly unravels. They move to Albuquerque to see if that helps but it does not, and soon their lives are in the hands of a judge. The judge orders the unborn child to be adopted at birth, and the birth mother is then free to leave the country. Who knows what logic was behind that decision, but it’s done, and she is gone…and the child is adopted in Union County, New Mexico. With a stroke of a pen, this adoptee will not have an English accent, but will know the dusty plains of the Panhandle, the feel of the wind, and understand cattle in a way most of us only imagine.
Last winter, I received another email. By this time the adoptee has gone to England and met his mother, who is in her late 80s and gravely ill. He meets his half-siblings, and has plans to meet his full sister who now lives in Australia. The adoptee, his English half-sister, and his two daughters are coming to Albuquerque. Can we meet?
What a fun afternoon!! My husband and the adoptee remember each other and catch up on the last 40 years. The adoptee even took my husband’s first cousin to Homecoming all those years ago in exchange for her tutoring him in math! The world is small and intimate that afternoon as we all do what we can to piece together who the biological father might be, but the name is too common and our time limited. My husband and I listen to the West Texas twang and the English accents and laugh at how they are, undeniably, a family.
Today, on a small comment on our Facebook page, I see that this birth mother passed away last April. Although a sad moment, I have to smile at what it took to reunite that family and the bonds that tie them…and to some extent, us! What an incredible journey…for all of us!