Last week, someone threatened to expose any scandals I had to the public. Well, I only have one real scandal, it’s not even something I’m ashamed of, or even embarrassed. It caused me great pain for many years, and still does to a lesser degree today.
Elizabeth Anne said, mom just write about it, I said well I need someone else’s permission to do that. My “scandal” doesn’t just involve me, it involves another person as well, so I asked them if I could tell the story. They have graciously agreed.
When I was seventeen I got pregnant, I knew the moment I realized I was pregnant what I would have to do. I was terrified to tell my parents; they had told me that if I ever got pregnant I couldn’t stay in their home. Before anyone condemns them, it is an age thing, I don’t condemn them, no one else gets to either. A few weeks before graduation my dad asked me if I was pregnant, I said yes, and true to their word, I had to find someplace else to live.
I went to the doctor, finally, he asked what I wanted to do, I said there was no way I could keep the baby. He helped me arrange the adoption, I didn’t know who would be adopting the baby, because in those days all adoptions were closed. There was no getting to know the new parents, no letters exchanged and definitely no pictures of the child afterwards. I knew I would be giving the baby up forever, and it was the hardest decision I have ever had to make in my life. To this day, it was the hardest decision I ever had to make.
I moved to an apartment in Owasso, now during this time there was only one apartment building and it was off of main street and 76th. It was in the slums of Owasso, up to that point, I didn’t even know Owasso had a slum. I paid a whopping $150.00 a month in rent. After paying rent and electricity there was very little money left over for food.
I don’t think my parents realized how bad things were until my dad made an unannounced visit to bring me vegetables from the garden. He opened my refrigerator and just stood there and didn’t say a word. We talked for a little bit, he left, then the next morning there was a knock on the door.
There stood my dad with a bag in his arms, he came in and went straight to the kitchen. He brought everything to make pancakes, even the bowl. To this day that is the same bowl I make pancake batter in. You see, they didn’t abandon me, they just wanted me to learn the lesson, if I make adult decisions, I would have to live in an adult world.
From that Saturday forward, until after I moved out of that apartment, my dad came and made me pancakes.
On one doctors visit, the doctor asked me what I was going to do when I went into labor, I said I guess I’ll drive to Tulsa to the hospital. I still remember the look on his face, he said what about your parents, you see he was our family doctor. I explained about the apartment, he said come see me tomorrow.
I went back, he said he had spoken to the people who were adopting the baby and they wanted to pay for a phone for me. I said no, because wouldn’t that mean they were buying my baby? I was so young, so, well, stupid, he explained no, they would pay to put the phone in and pay the bill until I had the baby, then if I wanted to keep the phone I would have to pay the bill after that. He also called my parents, he explained to me that they would take me to the hospital, that I would not be able to drive myself.
When the time came, I called my parents, they drove me to the hospital, my mother didn’t leave my side until they took me to the delivery room. Then, she was born, I saw the top of her head, it was filled with hair, it was dark. I heard her cry, I asked if she was ok, then passed out from all the drugs they had given me.
When I was in the hospital room recovering, I asked one of the nurses once if I could see her, hold her. I wanted to tell her I loved her, I wanted to tell her I couldn’t take care of me, how could I take care of her. I wanted to tell her I was giving her to people who would love her and take care of her. I trusted that because I trusted our family doctor, he knew the people, he would never have arranged for a child to go to someone who was abusive. I wanted to tell her that if she wanted to ever find me, I would be easy to find. I didn’t know how at the time; I just knew I would make myself easy to find.
The nurse told me no, she gave me a scathing look and said I made the decision so I would have to live with it.
Live with it I did, and it was painful, made worse by the death of my first child after her, someone told me that God was punishing me for having given her away.
Years went by, I remembered her every July 27th, I remembered her every day, I would look at my children and wonder if she looked like any of them, I would wonder if she acted like them.
Then one day, in 2005 I received an email, it said I think we may be related. I just sat and stared at it for a really long time.
There it was, the contact I honestly didn’t believe would ever come, it was her, and she looked exactly like me, except with blue eyes. She had children of her own and became curious about me after having her own daughter.
We had a rocky start, I won’t tell that part, because it is really her story, however, today we are forging a relationship. She is forging relationships with her siblings and we are happy.
She doesn’t call me mom, I am not her mother, she had very good parents, to which I am extremely grateful.
That is my scandal, once again, I am not ashamed of what I did, I did the right thing, I faced my responsibilities by giving my child the best home I could at the time.