Joyce Carol Oates wrote, “An unsolved mystery is a thorn in the heart.” The biggest unsolved mystery in my life, however, has never been a thorn in my heart, or my side, or even in that really thick skin of my heel. I am reminded of my mystery every now and again, every time I fill out a family health history form or find myself in a discussion about physical features and country of origin.
With our closest friends very soon to being new parents, I’ve been surrounded by baby this and maternity that. I’m nowhere ready to have kids myself, but it has reminded me of my own beginnings. I was a planned adoption straight out of the hospital, and have always, always known this. Many of you probably didn’t know this about me – my best friend and next door neighbor Molly didn’t find out until we were 10 or 11. And whenever people find out they always have these questions they want to ask me, and many times they are uncomfortable or think that I will be uncomfortable about answering them.
So I thought I’d lay it all out for the first time. I’ve never really written about the subject before because it’s not something I think about. It’s like having that mole on your face – the mole is there, it’s always been there, and you would not be you without it. But maybe someone else wants to know about my mole – how it got there, why don’t I just have it removed already (it’s really really ugly and it’s got a hair growing out of it for Mike’s sake), and how I feel about having such a hideous mole on my face. (For those of you going back to my pictures to look for it, it’s a metaphor, people.)
I don’t know who my biological parents are, nor have I ever tried to find out. For some reason, I can’t imagine what in the world I would do with this information if I had it. Send a Christmas card? I suppose it might be nice for them (although it would probably just be my biological mother, since dear old bio dad skipped out after the dirty deed, as far as I know) to know that I grew up in a loving home and have had a really good life. But I wouldn’t want her to feel responsible for keeping touch or sending money or anything. And I think I would want to know two things and two things only: health history and genealogy (Irish? Scottish? English? Norwegian?)
I have always known I was adopted but whenever I used to ask my mom for more information she would get all teary and upset. I don’t know if she was afraid that someone would come and take me back, but after a while I stopped breaching the subject with her. And I think that going on the search for my biological mother would hurt her and undermine her position as my mother. So for that reason, too, I have had no desire to find her.
So there it is, folks. My unsolved mystery. My unsolved mystery that I really don’t care to solve at all. Anyone want to know more? Just ask.
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