About a year after I had my son, I was riding the el in Chicago, on my way home from somewhere. As I was getting on the train, I looked down the aisle of seats and saw D, my son's first father. He and I had never spoken after my son was born. I had always wanted to, but never had the nerve to pick up the phone and call him. As I started to walk over to him, he glared at me, switched seats with his friend (so he could sit next to the window) and deliberately turned his back on me. Can't say I blamed him, after how he had been treated, but it completely threw me for a loop. I started shaking all over, somehow managed to get off at the next stop before I burst into hysterical sobs. Not sure how long it took me to get home that night but suffice it to say that D and I never spoke again.
In late spring of 2010, I was having a searching moment (I had those periodically every year!) and decided to google D's name. Low and behold, I came up with his mailing address. I thought maybe it was time to send that apology that I'd wanted to give so long ago. I composed a letter saying how sorry I was that he was so left out of the decision making in 1979. Sorry that he had to hear about his son from my scary, strict Italian father. I told him I was searching for our son and wanted to know if he would like me to share his information with him if I found him. I told him that he hadn't had a choice so long ago and that I wanted to offer him the choice this time around. I gave him my phone number and email and asked him to contact me when he was comfortable.
About three weeks later, I received an email from him asking to have a phone conversation with me. We set a date and time and I prepared myself for the verbal apology I wanted to give as well as the inevitable tongue lashing that I was sure was coming my way. We got on the phone and after a few nervous moments, he said, "Well, should we make more small talk or should we get to the elephant in the room?" Being all about that elephant I chose to cut to the heart of the matter. I said my apology for how he had been treated, which he accepted. Then he said, "You know we did the right thing, don't you?"
Hold the presses!! Did you really just say that to me? First of all WE didn't do anything. YOU weren't there remember? Okay, admittedly that wasn't entirely his fault, but still. Second of all, how can you think all of this grief, not raising our son and him not knowing his parents was best for any of us? Then I realized, his journey in all of this was completely different than mine. He didn't have all the emotional baggage around this that I did. He never saw our son, never felt him kick in my belly, never got that attachment to him as a living, breathing human being, like I did. He asked me why I was searching now, what was special about this time? I told him I had hoped since the day we signed the papers that I would find him and that I had been actively searching since the day our son had turned eighteen. I realized then as well, that this was not the everyday heartache for him that it was for me.
Unfortunately, D didn't want to talk about the emotions related to the "past." I was disappointed about that, I think I really needed him to tell me how he felt about it all, now and then. I needed his honesty to help me heal. I still feel like there is an elephant in the room between us. Before we hung up, D said he's happy to do whatever our son wants. If he wants to meet D or email or talk on the phone, D's fine with that. If he doesn't want contact that's okay too. Then he asked me why I thought our son wanted to be found, after all he has our names, they're on his birth certificate. Crap. I had to explain to him about adoption and amended birth certificates and how we were basically erased from our son's life, that there was no way for him to find out info on us.
I talked to D on a Friday night, on Sunday I got the email with my son's name and some contact info. I still have not told D that I have found our son. I guess was hoping to talk to our son before letting D know. My guilt was running the show, and I wanted our son to hear why his father wasn't there for him (or me) from me. I pushed D out of the situation. His lack of commitment and involvement was my choice, I wanted to be the one to tell my son that. Since I haven't had a response for a very long time, I think it's time to tell D about my discovery. To be honest, I'm not sure how interested he is. I've never received any communication from him asking if I've found anything. I could probably get away with not telling him, but that just seems dishonest to me. I've been holding out long enough, time to at least send him the first picture I found of our son online. Yet another layer of adoption crap to deal with.