Just imagine — you’re going to pick-up your daughter from a friend. Driving over there after work, at the stop light making sure the car seat is in the back, looking forward to that first snuggle. Maybe smelling your baby’s neck and kissing her pudgy cheek.
You pull into the driveway and bound out your door. Jog up the front path and knock on the door. Your friend is expecting you so you try the door. It’s only after a couple of minutes that a nagging feeling begins to creep across your heart. Why isn’t she answering the door?
Stepping off the front stoop you peer through the living room window to only see darkness. And an empty room.
What happens next is straight from a lifetime movie – the “friend” disappeared with the baby never to return. Police were involved and pleas were made via the media. Some time passes, it is unclear exactly how much and then your doorbell rings. It is a man who says he is a lawyer. He represents the people who stole your child. He says you have to sign papers to relinquish your parental rights. He says you are unfit to be a mother. He says your husband does not belong in the United States. He is wearing a well-fitting suit and is extremely confident. You are terrified. You are not well-educated and as a result do not know your rights. Worse still, the stronger this man seems the smaller and more scared you become.
How can this happen? What if they are right? Where is my baby? He says she is safe and happy. He says she is with a better, stronger family. But she is my baby! But what if I am unfit? I am young and not that smart. My husband isn’t here. What is the right answer? What is the strong answer?
We think my parents signed something. They probably did. What happened next was that I was flown from Chicago to NYC in the care of my adoptive parents’ lawyer’s someone. It was my adoptive parents who I am told met me at the airport and for the first time took me to my new home.
I was 4 months old.
I cost $32,000. In 1973. That is tantamount to $166,714.95 in 2012 according to this inflation calculator. None of which my birth parents received.
My adoptive parents wanted another child and sadly could not fulfill that wish themselves. So they reached out to a lawyer who had facilitated private adoptions for close family friends.
And that, my friends, is where I went.