Posted by: debstake | May 12, 2009

Hope and Promise for the Future


Reidelbach children Summer 1984Something happened on the 5th of May. I am a member of facebook and I really enjoy the more mature nature of this social network. MySpace is ok but I prefer FB. By the way I use my given name for both my FaceBook and MySpace accounts.

So, anyway on the 5th of May I had a friend request on FB. The “friend” was none other than my sister Kathy. When I say sister I mean my biological half-sister. There are eight of us kids. My number in the birth order is seven. Up until this point I have pretty much felt alone with the exception of Rodney’s small and shrinking family. I have spoken at great length in previous posts HERE about the influence that my dad was on me as a child growing up. Now it’s time to talk about how my adopted father became my Daddy.

I was born in 1961. My biological mother’s initials were JTR. My biological father I have no clue of as JTR took that to her grave. Another reason that 1994 was a bitter sweet year; even though I wouldn’t know of this event until 1996. I knew I was “special” from the get go; that’s how daddy referred to it once. More on that later. My adopted parents were 53 and 52 against my age of 3 when I came into their lives. For the first three years I was with them they were classified as “foster” parents.

I remember multiple trips from their home to Harrisburg; the state capital of Pennsylvania for various appointments with Catholic Charity officials. The main concern of Catholic Charities was the age of my parents. By the time Catholic Charities gave the nod to move forward with the adoption I was 6. Daddy was 56 and Mom was 55.

They had four children of their own. My eldest sibling is the same age of my mother-in-law!! My youngest sibling is nine years older than me. There was a larger than normal age variation in my adopted family. That is part of the issues involving my adopted family. Others are their problems; I have extended (only once) an olive branch of peace to them all. It would have been Christmas 2001. No response; absolutely no response.  According to my niece they don’t believe people can change. They obviously are ignorant to the joys and trials of raising a child with unique abilities. I feel sorry for them; a little.

I always knew I was adopted. Nothing was withheld from me. When I became of age and decided to move away from home to the Harrisburg area; Daddy and I had a conversation about my desire to seek out my biological parents. I had told him before my desire to find them. He gave me everything he had; which wasn’t much but got me headed in the correct direction. When I actually decided to seriously move on finding my parents it took a total of 7 months. I know I was very fortunate in that regard. The luck of the Irish played in this one I think.

In January/February of 1984 was when I made phone contact with my eldest brother. I thought it was my mom’s husband, possibly my biological father. The bomb that dropped when I announced my presence could be felt all the way from Tampa; where they resided; up to my little home in Harrisburg. After talking with my brother and later his father I made another important phone call to my dad. The conversation ended with me blubbering like an idiot and he telling me he loved me. One of the five times he actually said it.

My mom (biological) had a hard time dealing with me being back in her life. It wouldn’t be until July of 84 that I would see them after she gave her consent for me to come to visit. I took 2 weeks vacation and drove to Tampa arriving around the 4th of July. It was surreal I guess, being in the presence of my family. The picture at the top of this post is a portrait done of us kids for our mom. Two mothers it was just so odd.

The last time I had contact with them was Christmas of 87. Due to misunderstandings 22 years were lost. Well that mistake will never be made again. Getting back to what my dad said about me being special. When I was young; maybe fourth grade I told my classmates for the first time that I was adopted. I was asked what that was. I had to go to my dad and ask what it really meant to be adopted. This man had intelligence you could never find in a book. He said being adopted meant I was special; that being adopted meant being wanted from the very beginning. That there was no “adjustment” period of acceptance. That made me smile and to this day I still use this definition.

Time will tell how things go with my half-siblings. I have great hope and I believe there is promise in the future.

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