LOST SON?
A Child's Journey of Hope, Search, Discovery and Healing


SEARCH/DISCOVERY


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.

In the 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.

On the 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 questions began!!!

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 born...PROVIDENCE 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 records...they said..."Forget the past, it doesn't matter."

I tried 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!

On the 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!





The funeral home agreed to send the obituary notice to me. I couldn't wait, and asked them to read it over the phone. My birth mother was alive, at least in 1971. My aunts were also listed as survivors. Suddenly they stated ROBERT, MICHAEL, CLAUDIA, SHERRY...grandchildren of my grandfather...children of ROBERTA...I had BROTHERS AND SISTERS!!!

It was a race back to the phone books which had provided the answer before. Scouring all the phone books from cities the survivors were listed from, almost came up empty.

An aunt from TUCSON, ARIZONA was listed. Tense feelings began in the pit of my stomach...should I call her? Would she remember anything? Would she tell me anything if she knew the answers? It took over a week to work up the courage to face what I might face and make the call.

THE CALL TO CHANGE MY LIFE


Doris is the aunt that lives in Tucson. It was a Saturday night that I sat down to call her. She answered on the third ring (yes, I remember the details)..."Hello." I stumbled for words. Finally I asked her a bunch of "do you remember" questions. After letting me ramble questions...she asked very clearly.... "ARE YOU ROBERTA'S MISSING SON?"

I said "YES, I am Larry."

The tears began to flow...the spine is tingling as I write and recall this experience all these years later. "Yes, your mother is alive...you have brothers and sisters...your mother has been waiting for this phone call for over 36 years" were her next statements.

She then told me the story of my birth and my placement for adoption; not the reason for it. The tears overwhelmed me as I heard the story for the first time...I sat in stunned silence and let her speak and the tears flow.

After a long period...my next question; the important one... "DID SHE THINK MY MOTHER WOULD WANT TO TALK TO ME?" "Yes," was the immediate reply. Doris wanted to be the one to break the news to my mother and asked for my phone number. She indicated it might be a few days before my mother called, as this would probably put her in total shock.

My partner and I went to dinner later that evening. When we arrived home, there was a message on our answering machine; "LARRY, THIS IS YOUR MOTHER...I WILL CALL BACK...I CAN'T BELIEVE AFTER ALL THESE YEARS YOU HAVE FOUND ME!" Needless to say, more tears followed. I don't know how many times I listened to that message that night before we decided to go to bed. Less than a half hour after calling it a night, we were startled by the ringing phone. My partner answered the phone and could only say: "LARRY, YOU WANT THIS CALL!"

That phone call will always remain private with me...it was and is, the best phone call I have ever received. My mother and I spoke for almost 4 hours that first night. We talked about everything but why she gave me up...I wasn't ready to hear the answer. We ended the call by agreeing to write, do phone calls and hopefully someday meet. I wasn't ready to meet...it was ALL happening too fast for me.

The search had begun to find a family medical history and have a few questions answered. Now I faced; did I want to face the woman, no matter what the reason, who gave me up at birth? I did not know.




CLICK BELOW TO PROCEED

CHAPTERS:


EARLY YEARS


MOM & DAD MONSHOR


FOSTER HOME #11


BOYS TOWN GRADE SCHOOL


BOYS TOWN HIGH SCHOOL


JIM ACKLIN: DEBATE PARTNER


COLLEGE & ACCEPTANCE


MATT: LIFE PARTNER


NEW YORK, NEW YORK


SEARCH & DISCOVERY


FIRST LETTER TO BIRTH MOTHER


BIRTH MOTHER'S STORY


FINAL LETTER TO BIRTH MOTHER


BIRTH FATHER'S STORY


FIRST CHRISTMAS


A HOLIDAY SEASON TO REMEMBER


REMEMBERING 1ST COUSIN DOROTHY


REUNION WITH THE MONSHOR FAMILY AFTER 45 YEARS


WHY DID I SEARCH


RETURN HOME TO BOYS TOWN


BOYS TOWN TALES OF YESTERYEAR


MEMORIES OF A LIFETIME


FRIENDS LOST TO AIDS


A FEW LESSONS OF LIFE


EPILOGUE


A SEARCHER'S GUIDE



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