The Letter, First Draft

While the other False Starts post features letters I drafted to blow off some steam, with no intention of ever sending them, this False Start was one of the first attempts at a version of The Letter that I might actually send.

“I’ve known, since as far back as I can remember, that I’m adopted. I’d also known for some years that, when I was 18 I could go and get my birth certificate and that I could gain access to other information regarding my birth. By the time I walked down that corridor in the House of Records in Edinburgh, I’d hopped two countries and was living in the U.S. I was back in Scotland for a couple of weeks. I jotted down the information from the birth certificate — which did not include your name — and went to the agency that I’d thought held the records of my birth.

 The process was intimidating; the social worker condescending. I left with no further information. I’d stuck my big toe in  and found the process cold and uninviting. It would take me over 10 years to take further action.

 During that time, I thought often of who my natural family might be – moreso at the births of each of my three children. During that time I also discovered the internet and searched for names, details, anything, still afraid to go back to the social workers.

 At some point, I found Birthlink and their adoption registry. I signed up – put down the scanty bits of information I had, hoping for a connection; hoping someone was looking for me, baby Jayne, born in 1967. Nothing. Again, I tucked away the idea of finding you and my mother; told myself it wasn’t meant to be — that it didn’t matter. I had plenty to keep me busy — three children, a husband, work, hobbies.

Then, on a visit to Scotland in 2003, I walked past the address listed on my birth certificate. If I couldn’t see either of you, I could at least see the house in which my mother had lived. When I came back from the trip, I could no longer let go of the need to find out who I came from.

The long and the short of it is this: I emailed Birthlink, who told me where to get the more detailed records regarding my adoption, and there it all was on the page. And there, at last, you were, Hamish, a father with a name. 

I’d dearly like to put a face with that name. And a voice. And whatever else you’d be comfortable sharing with me…”

Ultimately, I decided that this was too much information and sent a much shorter letter, which got me the reply I wanted, though not in a short span of time. Who knows if this might have worked faster.



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