Friday, June 16, 2006

Appalachian Heritage

3 summers ago I reunited with my birthparents. I found them after searching from start to finish in only three months.

I did most of the searching via the internet. Thank God, how convenient it all was. I used the adoptee’s secret weapon, the State of Ohio Birth Index. You see, every birth, even of babies that were surrendered, is registered in this index. It cost me something like $20, it came on CD-ROM. I bought every year available.

So you enter your birthdate, search the database for just your county, and pop! Up comes all of the births in that county for that date. I got more specific, and looked at the year. For my year it just so happened that there was only one birth on that day, what happened to be Thanksgiving Day; “no name baby Napier”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“No name” babies are almost always babies that were born to mothers planning to surrender the baby. It had to be me! So that’s how I discovered my birthmother’s (probable) last name.

I had certain facts, what the social worker called “non-identifying information”, such as; the ages of my birthmother and birthfather when I was born; my birthmother’s and birthfather’s hair colour, body shape, eye colour; the fact that my birthmother has a sister 2 years younger; facts about my birth, such as that I was a breech, along with certain health facts about my birthmom; and many other non-identifying details about her parents, etc.

So, I proceeded to search the birth index again only this time for a girl with last name “Napier” in Butler county Ohio who would have been 14 in the year I was born, with one sister who is two years younger.

Only one girl came up with that specification, so I wrote her and every “Napier” I could find an address for in Bulter County Ohio (I used online public domain property records to find these addresses)!

I sent a simple story, that I was searching for my birthmother, for medical reasons, and if anyone knew of a girl who had surrendered a baby in the year I was born to please help me connect. Well, about a month later SHE wrote me ! She confirmed that she was in fact my birthmother ( I sent details about my birth that only the right woman would know). She was shocked but elated to hear from me. She said it took her a month to write me because she had had to summon up the courage to tell her three daughters (yes I have three half sisters from my mom!) that when she was 14 she had had sex and gotten pregnant the first time and had had a baby and had surrendered her for adoption, and that now that baby is grown and has contacted her and that they have a long lost sister!

So, we sent each other pictures, etc. She also supplied me with my birthfather’s name! So I searched property records for everyone with his last name of Bolden, and poof! About 2 weeks after I sent my searching letter he emailed me! Apparently everyone I had sent the letters to was his family! They had no idea he had gotten a girl pregnant when he was 13! So there he was at age 42 having to tell his family about what happened (kinda bad), while also telling them what is happening now,(kinda good), getting his daughter in his life. Insane, huh?

So about a month after I found him, I traveled back to Ohio and met both of them. I met my dad first. We spent a looooong lovely summer day picnicking at Houston’s Woods State Park. I had both of my kids (only two at the time), we pitched a tent and brought food and drinks. My birthdad had a dog, and my son just ran and chased the dog all day.

It was great to just talk to him and get to know him a little. I finally know now where I get my musical talent from! My dad! Both he and his father my Grampa are folk musicians! Yay!

I also got to meet my sister (my bdad’s daughter) Brandy and her son, Davin. Finally, I see where I get my toes from! Where I get my teeth from! And we have suuuuch similar personalities, me and my dad! In many ways looking at him is like looking in the mirror. I really do look like him. Finally, to know.

I met my mom and my other sisters a few days later (separately from my dad, of course). We had a great time looking at her old photo albums, she told me lots of stories about her mom, my Grama who passed just a couple of years before, and I got to get to know my sisters a little bit.

My birthmom was definitely more freaked out than my birth dad. I could tell she was a bit apprehensive, or perhaps it was that she was simply in shock. We all were, but I wasn’t very aware of how in shock I was until months after the fact.

The really crazy thing is that my birthdad and birthmom, as well as my adopted Dad, all were born in southeastern rural Kentucky; APPALACHIA (and so does my Adopted Dad! What a trip!). So I very well may be “my own Grampa”, even more than I ever realized.
My birthdad’s Grandmother was a pure Blackfoot Indian. My adopted dad’s Grandmother was also Indian, although they aren’t sure which tribe! So all these years I’ve been saying that I am part Native, and it has actually been true, not an adopted fabrication!

It’s so great, at last, to know.


madcapmum said...

That's a great story. I'm glad you had a happy outcome.

Missy said...

Congratulations! That's a wonderful story!! I hope you're able to keep in touch.

Leena said...

Wow, what a great post. A wonderful story, indeed! Hopefully, you can enjoy many more happy moments with them.

Leila M. said...

man I really need to keep up with your blog! I had no idea! Then again, I didn't even know you were adopted...

See if you can register with tribal offices. Seriously, do so.