My name is Sylvia and I am a birthmother. I was living in Albany, NY and working as a telephone operator when I became pregnant. The bfather was an old flame and he was attending a local college. Our child was a result of brief encounter a few months after we had broken up. It just wasn't the right time for us and we had again went our separate ways. He was in his senior year and I did not want to mess up his life at that point. I found out later that he had gone into the Army. I never told him until about 9 mos after the adoption that he had a son.
I was 7 months along before I even admited to myself that I could possibly be pregnant. A dear friend finally made me face facts. She contacted my sister, Bernice, the only family I had that lived in the area. I knew in my heart from the beginning that I was not going to be able to raise my child. I was barely able to support myself and I told her that I felt my only option was adoption. When I told this to Bernice she stayed by my side as I arranged for my childs adoption.
When I went into labor in the early morning of Tuesday, Oct. 5, 1965 my friend called Bernice and she came to take me to the hospital. I recall her standing in the dining room waiting for me to get my things together and my next memory is after the delivery of my beautiful little boy close to 6pm that night. I had been in labor for about 12 hours and recall absolutely nothing. The only thing I remember was looking at the clock after the delivery. My son had already been taken to the nursery. I was taken back to my room and Bernice told me she had called Dr. Vosburgh, who had chosen the couple that would adopt my son and she had also instructed the nurses not to bring my baby to me and not to publish the birth in the paper. She felt that not seeing him would be easier for me.
I was put in a "ward", a room with 4 beds. I think there were two other mothers in the room, but I can't be sure now. So much of that week is a blank. It is partly because I have blocked out many details, but also because I was extremely tired and slept much of the time. I discovered later that this was due to anemia. The attorney for the aparents came to me at some point during that week, but I have no idea which day. I remember him telling me that the aparents were Jewish and that I would have to give my permission for my son to be raised in the Jewish Faith. He told me that the afather was a college professor and the amother was an elementary school teacher, but was giving up her job to be a full time mom. He also told me that they had been trying for 10 yrs to have a child and how excited they were that at last their dreams were going to come true. He also expressed their appreciation of my "supreme sacrifice" and how grateful they were for me to entrust my child to them. He did mention that the amom looked very similar to me having short, dark hair and eyes. He also told me that they were acquaintances of himself and his wife and that should I ever want to know how he was doing to call him. He gave me his office and his home phone numbers. I know that I signed papers while he was there, but I don't remember doing it and I do not have a clue as to what was on them.
On Sat., I was supposed to go home. I got up that morning to go down and peek in the nursery window. When I stood up I passed out on the floor. The nurse came in and told me that because my blood count was so low and because I had passed out that they wanted to keep me there to give me two pints of blood. They gave me the blood of which I got less than a pint as I was allergic to it and I broke out in hives. I can remember the blood transfusion vividly. It was ice cold as it entered my veins and I thought I was going to freeze to death. Bernice had come to the hospital to take me home bringing with her, her twin sister, Bea. They were with me when I broke out in the hives and alerted the nurse.
Even after having less than one pint blood I felt much better and after the twins had left I decided to walk down to the nursery and see if I could spot my son. It was easy. All the babies were in front of the window except one. My son. He was at the back left of the room in a corner. My heart ached to go and hold him, touch him, just to look at him, but I wasn't allowed to and I was too naive to demand that they let me. After returning to my room one of the nicer and more sympathic nurses came in and told me that she just wanted me to know that my son was a very good baby and had rarely ever cried the whole time he'd been there. I kept thinking to myself that somehow he knows what was about to happen. I was very grateful to that nurse. She was so nice to me while I was there. She was the only one that really talked to me. I guess to the rest I was just another one of "those" girls. I don't recall the girl that was in the room with me even speaking to me, but I do remember one time when she had a visitor they had obviously asked about me as I could hear the whispers.
On the day that I went home, because the adoption was private my little John Michael had to leave the hospital with me. It was a crisp, clear Autumn day, very sunny and bright. It was Columbus Day, a holiday. I was wheeled from the hospital and got into the back seat of the attorney's car. There was also a woman in the back seat that he introduced as his wife. The nurse handed me my son. We drove across the street, off hospital grounds. It was the longest and the shortest ride of my life. I can remember that my son was wrapped in a blue blanket and it covered his face. I pulled it back and looked at him for the first time. When I did, his eyes were wide open and looked at me as if to say, "It's okay, Mom, I understand." I will never forget that beautiful little face as long as I live. When we were off the hospital grounds I handed him to Mrs. Soffer and got out of their car and into Bernice's. I remember watching very closely as they drove away noting the direction they went. I then went home with my sister and stayed there for a couple of weeks.
On October 18, 1965 I had to go to a hearing at the courthouse in Albany. It seemed like the courtroom was very dark and the judge seemed so far away. I don't remember a thing he said although I think he did ask me if I was aware of why we were there. He did mention the name of the aparents, but the attorney jumped up and told him I did not know who they were. I couldn't remember the name which I took as "Divine Intervention" and that not remembering was the way it was supposed to be. The judge said something about it being "too soon" and that we would have to return in 6 months. I was never notified to go back. When I got back to Bernice's and she had left for work I remember grabbing the phone book and started looking at all the names beginning with Ma as that is all that I could remember for sure. I know that it had at least 6 letters. Of course my search was in vain.
Bernice worked the 3-11 pm shift at Albany Medical Center and I watched her four children and got supper for them and my brother-in-law. He was wonderful. He could hear me crying into my pillow and would come in and talk to me. To this day I honestly believe that had it not been for him and his comforting words and his understanding I would never have gotten through that time in my life.
In May of 1996 I began exploring the Internet and one day I went to one of the search engines and typed in adoption. One of the links took me to a discussion list on adoption. On there I discovered that bmoms were searching for their kids and that they were actually being reunited. I didn't realize that it was done. Joining the list has been the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I have shed a lot of tears, laughed a lot and most importantly I am no longer alone in my grief. There are really others out there who know and understand what is going on inside of me. I am finally coming to terms with emotions that have been locked away for 31 years and it feels wonderful. I am now married and the mother of four fantastic children and two beautiful granddaughters. If I could find my bson the empty hole in my heart would be healed and my life would be complete.
NOTE: On October 28, 1999 at about 8:30 pm DST, that empty hole in my heart was filled. With the help of an "angel" from my list I found my son, who is now "Dan". We spoke for the first time on the morning of November 2, 1999 and many times since. On November 13, 1999 at 11:37 am I was able to look at him once again, only this time I knew it would not be the last time. I have such a feeling of peace and I know that my family is finally complete. Dan fits right in with the other children and they are all very happy to welcome another brother into the fold.