Greetings to you all,
I had the pleasure of meeting many of you at the 2012 IPAS picnic. I was the adult adoptee who was smiling from ear to ear with photos of my brother and sister who I had just learned about. So much has happened in the last year and I wanted to share a brief snippet of the events.
As background information, let me tell you I was placed for adoption through IPAS in 1961, joining a family first touched by adoption with my parents receiving a son in 1959. My family has been involved with the agency from its infancy. I am so pleased the agency is still going strong after 60 years. I will be forever thankful to those in the Catholic Church who began the agency.
After being blessed with a wonderful family and life, at the age of 50 (after long thought and prayer) I decided to begin a search for my birth parents. Within days of signing papers requesting my non-identifying information from IPAS, I found out I had two older siblings. What? My idea was to find the people who gave me life and thank them for the decision they had made to place me for adoption. To let them know I had a good life. Somehow I had not really considered the possibility of siblings. I soon learned I also had a younger sister as well. Again, "what?"
With the assistance of someone who knows how to go about making sense out of small bits of information, I learned the name of my birth mother within days. We learned she had died, but found her sister still living just a little over an hour away from me. A few days later I got the courage to call her. Family secrets can stay buried for years and out of the blue she received a call from a big family secret.
My aunt was not forthcoming with information and actually denied her sister ever bore any children. After our conversation I decided to write her a letter to thank her for speaking with me. I let her know that I did not want to interrupt her family, I just wanted information.
A few days later I received a call which changed my life. A woman called and asked if I had been adopted and if I was searching for my birth family. My mind began reeling with questions and a part of me wanted to hang up the phone. She began to give me information. She had received a call from the daughter of my new found aunt and was told of my letter and phone call. "OK," I thought, "this isn't random, this woman has real information." She let me know her husband was also adopted and his birthday. She then said, "If I am not mistaken, my husband is your brother."
I spoke with my brother by birth for the first time April 13, 2012. He had been looking for me for 13 years and had found our older sister 12 years earlier. My brother and sister both lived in Texas. We still did not know where our younger sister was. With further research we found her still living in Modesto, the town where we all were born...to the same woman.
In May 2012, I made a trip to Texas and spent time with blood family for the first time in my life. Amazing. People who look like me and act like me. My brother and I are 18 months apart in age and look like the male and female version of the same person; except that he got the height and I got the hair. Our similarities so intrigued us that we had to obtain a DNA test. The test was about as conclusive as you can get, we have the same mother and father.
Shortly after returning, I realized I did not want to miss out on any more time with
them. I gave notice at work and put my house up for sale. On October 1, 2012, I became a resident of League City, Texas, which is a suburb of Houston. My brother and his wife live in that city too, and our sister lives outside of Austin. The job search went smoothly also. I am working for my sister-in-law.
I have also been able to spend some time with my aunt in California and her children - my cousins. Each of the cousins told me within minutes of meeting me how much I looked and sounded like their Auntie Carol. They have helped me come to terms with my feelings about my birth mother. To hear stories about her and see photographs is comforting. I have even been able to watch videotape to see her and hear her voice.
We did locate our younger sister and unfortunately she passed away in July. I was able to be with her briefly before her death. I do not understand the timing of these events, but I am confident it is in the plan of God. I have been blessed to come to know her through her family and children.
Carol could have made other choices each time she found herself single and pregnant. Thankfully, she chose life and chose adoption. All four of us had wonderful adoptive families and siblings through those families. We are now blessed with an even larger family. Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter were all extra special being able to spend time with this new family. We continue to get to know each other and find amazing similarities in our personalities and even life events.
I do not have any regrets for waiting so long to search; the time was not right for me previously. All of the parental figures in my story have long since finished their days on this earth. I know my Mom who raised me would be so happy; I have siblings and she would have had more children. I also believe that my birth mother would be happy to know her children are now together. We are not dwelling on the time we missed, we are enjoying the time we now have.
Thank you for reading my story. Now, reach over and give your kids a hug for me. Love on them all you can. Thanks to God, birth parents, adoptive parents and IPAS for creating these families.
God Bless you all,
Melissa Scholl (Adopted through IPAS in 1961)