As I have said in an earlier chapter; throughout my twenties, my concern was about my career,
my life partner and the things any normal twenty
something would be concerned about.
I laid my childhood and adolescent years aside and hoped they would be memories of the past. I had hoped that those memories would stay locked up deep within me, never to reveal to anyone the heartaches they had caused. However, my life was soon about to change and never be the same again!
In May, 1981, I was supposedly a very healthy man of thirty-one. The night before my life changing event, I had jogged my usual three miles through the streets of Brooklyn Heights, NY; had eaten a healthy dinner and went to bed early enough to get the rest I needed.
The next morning I did my usual exercises before getting ready for work and felt great as I left for Manhattan. When I arrived at work, I had a meeting and suddenly found myself grabbing my chest and collapsing to the ground. I had suffered the first of three heart attacks.
Until that day I had not spent any time in the hospital since early
childhood...for eye surgeries and to have my tonsils removed. One of the routine questions doctors ask is
"What is your family medical history?" I was quite
embarrassed and turned red faced to have to answer the question with an
"I don't know."
When I returned to health, I went on with my life
and thought no more of the episode.
spring of 1982, my partner and I decided to travel
to GREECE for vacation. I needed a passport to do
so, and to get it I needed my birth certificate. I knew
where I was born...so I applied for it from the
state of Michigan. In a few weeks it arrived. I was
not ready for the impact this little piece of paper
would have on my life until this very day.
certificate, I saw the name of a birth mother for
the first time in my life... ROBERTA ADAMS. To see a mother's name blew me away. Could the story the Monshors had told me so many years ago be untrue? Could this name be made up by the nuns that supposedly found me in a dumpster? I continued reading the content of the certificate. It listed the hospital I was born at. It listed a home address for her. It gave her age of nineteen at the time of my birth, even gave a birth date! It even gave her place of birth. No father was listed. Finally it indicated I was her first born. The nuns just could not have made all this information up. For the first time since the Monshors had told me "the story" so many years ago, I had the sinking feeling it was untrue!
I made the decision at that moment...I must find this woman! I had to find out if in fact she was my Birth Mother. The
Who is this woman? Why did she give me up for
adoption? Is she alive? Does she think of me? Where
is she? I remembered my heart attack of a year earlier and questioned what is her medical history? Is her or her family's medical history impacting me?
THE SEARCH BEGINS
Upon my return from Greece, I began the search to
get a few answers to those questions.
Little did I know of the process I was about to
enter into. I went to the hospital where I was
HOSPITAL in Detroit, Michigan. They would not release any
records of the birth. I went to Catholic
Charities, whom I was a ward of until my eighteenth
birthday...they would not release any
the past, it doesn't matter."
various organizations for almost three years, but to
no avail. I scoured books that had to do with adoption and foster care for clues as to how I could do my research...again no answers. I thought I was at a dead end
and would never have the answers I was looking for. I had already spent thousands of dollars and hours too numerous to count; all in vain I thought!
Finally, in late 1985, the first big break I needed
in my search came. I wrote to BOYS TOWN asking if
they, through their records since I had spent over seven years their in my youth, could help me. They
indicated since I was now an adult, I could have a
copy of my records from my days at BoysTown and
sent them to me. What a treasure chest!
application form filled out by Catholic Charities
twenty-four years earlier, they listed not only my mother's
name but my father's name ROBERT IRWIN MARX; my maternal
grandparents JOHN &
SARAH ADAMS and two aunts DORIS & FRANCES. They
gave a description of my natural parents and what
they were doing at the time of my birth, as well as
that of my grandparents.
I could not believe all that I was reading. I also
saw for the first time that my last name should
have been PIECHOWIAK and my
heritage is POLISH.
I quickly remembered all the Polish
jokes I told during my school days and even adulthood. I
knew now that YES, I had a family out there
somewhere and I had my OWN heritage. But this was
only the beginning...how do I find them??? I was
determined they would be found!
I lived in New York City at the time. They have a
great research library and I spent week upon week devouring records with no results. Finally, I decided, on a
whim, to check DETROIT phone books going back to the time of my
birth, which the library had.
I did not find my birth parents, but found my
grandparents. I tracked them in the phone books. My
grandfather had a unique way of listing his name,
from 1950 thru 1971. Suddenly they were gone. Had I
reached another dead end?
On a second whim, I
decided to apply for a Michigan death certificate for my
grandfather...in the event he had died. Three weeks
later came the envelope bearing the seal of the
state of Michigan. Indeed, he had passed away. The
certificate listed the funeral home and I called
them. I was in for the shock of my life!