piece by broken piece
I found more papers last night.
My kids wanted to know more about my childhood... so I told them about the time I was in the bicentennial parade, dressed as Betsy Ross. My grandmother made the costume for me. At least I wasn't alone... I had my brother with me; he was dressed as Ben Franklin. We looked like dorks. I wore a hat, and held a flag, and he wore fake glasses and carried a kite. We sat on this huge float made of fake flowers because we were kids, and our dad made us, because our grandmother made the outfits.
The whole time we had to smile and wave. The whole time we felt like idiots, so we laughed and wished we were off the wooden death-trap, hoping none of our friends saw us.
At the end of the parade, we learned our float won first-prize. My brother and I were stunned. We thought we were instant celebrities. Some guy, Buzz Aldrin, shook our hands and everyone was all excited. I remember thinking we would win something. We got a letter in the mail, that was it.
We got to keep the ugly outfits.
They were really ugly. Horrible little white stars, on red and blue fabric. <shudder>
My kids asked if I had any photos of the outfit. I found a newspaper clipping, it had made front-page news in our local newspaper back in 1976.
That's when I found some papers from the adoption agency my adoptive parents used.
Sister Mary Eugene Foundation.
My heart stopped.
A lump caught in my throat.
I recalled stories told to me from a few other women adopted through that agency. Horror stories. Complete horror stories of A.family-abuse. There was strange comfort knowing there were other adoptees that got sold through that agency that didn't get the fairy-tale ending adoption supporters like to sell.
When I saw these newly-found papers, I recalled the story the social worker told me when I got my non-id info, told my real/original (blacked-out) name several years previously. According to her, the social worker assigned my case, the agency was shut-down many decades ago, due to illegal practicing. According to the SW story, the building where records were kept was torched. Birth/adoption records were burned and ruined, and many were not salvaged, but supposedly, my papers were found. I was one of the lucky ones to have some of my records saved from the fires.... fires started by whom?
"Lucky" being a sick, twisted word in the world of adoption... sure, I was indeed "lucky". I was not killed or burned in a fire.
Far too often, I feel too sad to feel lucky, but then, maybe I'm not grateful enough to appreciate all that was done for me by those who wanted to push others to adopt.