Posted by: jenn11970 | August 8, 2007

Second by Second

I named her Rebecca Anne. Rebecca was the name of my great-grandmother. She had been placed for adoption at the age of 5 around 1903. She was adopted by a family with a little girl her age as a play mate for their daughter. The daughter was very jealous of the attention given my g-grandmother, so they took her back to the orphanage after about 4 months. She had originally been placed because she had 2 older sisters and and an infant sister. The 2 oldest could pretty much take care of themselves after their father took off. The youngest was taken care of by her mother. My g-grandmother, not able to see very well, couldn’t really take care of herself, and her mother was overwhelmed. After being returned to the orphanage, another family took her in, but they changed her name to Mildred. I loved her old name so much I named my daughter after her. Her middle name is the same as mine and my mother’s.

So second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, decade by decade; that is how I managed after relinquishing my daughter. My beautiful Rebecca. That was how I healed. Those were the ways I “made it through.” That was how I got “strong.” I never got over the pain, I traveled through it on a slow time line. Some days were better than others, and I’d have to say overall I have had a very blessed life. My parents really made sure they took care of my needs, unfortunately it exacerbated some other issues in their relationship.

My mother was crushed by the loss of her granddaughter. I wouldn’t know it for about 10 years, but my mom seriously got pretty close to the edge. She even thought about suicide so she could be an angel to look out for her from heaven. As a Catholic, she knew suicides do not go to heaven, but she truly believed she would be able to transcend that and be an angel anyway. The thought that I could have lost my mother, still takes my breath away. She was so angry at my dad for not forcing me to let them adopt her. She couldn’t believe he could sit with me and tell me the choice I made was a good one. He did it to support me, and to allow me to know it was okay. I feel bad that he was stuck in the middle like that , bu I am so thankful to this day for his support. My mother definitely supported me more emotionally, but my dad worked with me to move through my pain, and helped me see my future again. I owe them more than they will ever know.

Back to school I went, and threw myself into the every day tedium that is high school. The following fall I applied to all the colleges I wanted to go to and I was accepted to all of them. Seemed kind of hollow. It was also during this time that I began to regret my decision, and hired an attorney to try to get her back. He was a very nice man, but in the end felt it was not the right thing to do, as the child would have already bonded with her new family. I believe in my heart he really wanted what was best for me, to this day I can’t think about him actually working against me. This was also at a time when Hedda Nussbaum and Joel Steinberg were in the news for the death of their illegally adopted daughter. I was TOTALLY freaked out. I was so afraid that my child had gone to horrible people. To appease me, their attorney agreed to let me get a picture now, and then a picture a couple of times a year, through him, until the age of 5. I got one picture. It was her christening photo. I have cherished that photo for the last 20 years. (I did find out that they had never agreed to this. Upon talking to them, we both had letters dated the same day, with completely different meanings behind them. Mine to get me to finalize, and theirs to put their mind at ease. I am okay with it, they are really nice people and I am sure they didn’t know what he was doing. As snaky as it was, he was doing his job and working for them. It doesn’t make it right, but I have let it go.)

I struggled through 2 years of college, unable to finish my degree. I lacked the focus and concentration needed to get through my courses. I would cry at anything, and I was barely sleeping. I had a new boyfriend, but I so struggled with being close. In my mind I was not worthy of anyone liking me, let alone telling me they loved me. I was literally the walking wounded. My spirit was shot. I left school, got a job in a restaurant and hung out with my friends and drank my tips away. In 1991, I finally hit bottom, and started my gradual return to the world. I met the man of my dreams in 1992, and he is still my husband to this day. I told him about my daughter after only dating 3 months. For me he was it, and if I was going to fall, I needed to be up front about everything. He held me tight, and told me he thought I was the strongest woman he had ever met, and that he was so sorry for all the hurt I had endured. It didn’t change how he felt about me, and he told me he loved me that night. My house of cards had fallen down around me, but with this man in my life, we would rebuild it, together.

My husband has honored me with a dozen roses on my daughter’s birthday every year since we met, and has honored me as her mother on every mother’s day as well. Do you wonder how it went down the night I got the call? Who would have thought it would be the simple “Happy Birthday” posts on a huge forum that would lead my daughter’s parents to me.



  1. Your story and the way you write are amazing…thanks for sharing

  2. Awww shucks…I think I am blushing!

    Thanks Deb. It’s hard because I haven’t really let anyone know about a lot of this on the net. Ya know?

  3. I’m so happy you have your husband, what a beautiful man. I can so relate to this, I couldn’t finish my studies either, not sure if it’s because of the relinquishment but I found it hard to focus and be constant.

  4. so Jenn I am waiting for more…that is not the end for sure…

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