BIRTH MOTHER'S STORY
My birth Mother and I continued to write and talk on the phone for a few months. Finally my partner
and I decided it was time for us to meet.
her from Pontiac, Michigan (only forty-five miles from where she lived when I was born) for an ALL EXPENSE paid trip to
New York City, knowing she would not be able to afford the trip herself. I knew the meeting would be
difficult for both of us, so I arranged a suite
for her at a nearby hotel. This way, we both could spend
some time alone to collect our thoughts and
feelings. She accepted the invitation.
May 24, 1986...a
day never to be forgotten by me. Newark
International Airport...the day has
arrived...36 years, 3
months and 17 days after I was born...I would meet
the woman who gave me life. To say I
was tense or nervous would be putting it mildly. I
arrived at the airport hours before the flight was
due to arrive.
I brought with me 36 long stem RED ROSES, one for each year of life I had thus far been
Should I call her
mother? Should I hug her? What should I do? Let
nature takes its course was the only answer that
came back to me.
The plane taxis to the gate...there is no turning
back now. There she was (I had an old photo of her that she had sent)
walking down the ramp. We shake hands, then hug...I
call her ROBERTA; not mother.
After getting her settled in her suite, we strolled down Fifth Avenue for
a while. I took her to lunch and Central Park. As the day began turning to evening we went back to her hotel
suite.It was time to hear the answer to the
question that had yet to be asked or
My mother in 1936 at age 6
My father was her next door neighbor. He had fought
in World War II as a MERCHANT MARINE and had
returned to live with his folks. They had a
date.....I was conceived on that date! My father wanted nothing more to do with her. He had gotten what he was after.
grandfather, being a strict Polish Roman Catholic,
would not allow her to remain in the house and sent
her off to a home for unwed mothers (SARAH FISHER
HOME) and told her "not to
bring that bastard child home with her." She had two choices, either give birth and having no
place to go...give me up for adoption and return home
or have a back alley abortion.
She gave birth in
the early hours of February 7, 1950, and saw me
only briefly before they took me away. She went home to go on with her life, but was never able to forget the baby she left behind, and hoped that one day I might look for her.
She hated her father for what he had forced her to do and even though I learned he had been dead 15 years, the remaining hatred was still obvious.
She didn't realize that I was never adopted, but rather moved to various foster homes until eventually being sent to Boys Town. She thought I may
have gone to Vietnam and been killed.
both shed many tears that evening in her suite. I
told her she made the only choice she could have
made and was thankful she had not chosen
abortion...for selfish reasons of course! We
talked, cried, talked some more that first day deep
into the night...we had over 36 years to relive!
Picture taken by me the first day we met in her
My Mother was born to John Robert Adams and Sarah Wray Adams on November 30, 1930, in Elmira, New York. She was the first of three daughters born to my maternal grandparents. In the height of the depression my grandmother abandoned my grandfather, leaving him to raise three young girls on his own. Being so young at the time, my Mother had no memories of her Mother; not even her name. She never had a reason to request her birth certificate and would see her Mother's name for the first time in her life when I presented it to her.
Her Father struggled to make ends meet for a short while then decided to return to Michigan. He did not however, return to his roots in Bay City, Michigan, but then made his home Detroit, Michigan.
Work was difficult for him to find and soon he realized he could not care for his daughters. He placed them in an orphanage so they would be provided for. They remained there until he married Alice in 1939. He and Alice did not have children together. She brought one son into the marriage, and the three girls soon joined them at home.
My Mother never finished high school. At sixteen she went to work as a waitress at the downtown Hudson Department Store Restaurant.
After giving birth to me in 1950, she moved out of her family's home to try and make it on her own. She continued working as a waitress. To supplement her income, she did a photo shoot once in the nude. She never knew I was aware of this and had seen pictures of her.
In 1953, she married Robert Moore and moved to Florida. According to my Mother it was not a good marriage and Robert was extremely abusive. My half-brothers and a half-sister were born and also as a result of a final abuse; rape by her husband, my last half-sister was born. Mother left her husband and returned to Michigan to raise her four young children on her own. She divorced her husband and never remarried.
She had worked all her life either as a waitress or at one of the automobile plants in the Detroit area. Sometimes, she worked both to make ends meet.
Southport Pier, Manhattan, May 25, 1986
Only picture of my Mother & me together
When we did meet, she stayed a week in NYC. I treated her to Broadway shows, and we toured all the sites of Manhattan and Liberty Island.
During that time, I
learned other things. It became obvious very
quickly she was an alcoholic. She told me of my
youngest brother's drug addictions; my one sister's
fancy for a different man each night, though she had two children. She also told
me of the brother and sister who made it. In short, within
the week she was in NYC I became even more thankful
for her giving me up for adoption, for Boys Town and
the life I have had.
A few months after our initial meeting, I took a trip to Pontiac, Michigan to visit her and also meet my half-brothers and half-sisters for the first time. Two brothers and a sister, after meeting me, told her they wanted nothing to do with me, as I wasn't their brother, but a stranger and it was best left that way. One sister (Claudia) did reach out and we had developed a warm, loving relationship over the years.
While on my visit there, my Mother took out several photo albums to show me. She didn't realize how painful it would be for me to look at pictures of her past holidays, family events and the likes. Though I was thankful she gave me up, I did not want to see pictures I could have and should have been a part of.
Our relationship over the years following the initial meeting was strained at best. We had never developed a mother/son relationship. Of course, I had not expected that, since at 36 I did not need a mother to raise me. She remained an alcoholic in denial.
The relationship we had developed would be destroyed Christmas night 1998.
I had spent Christmas Eve with friends in Fargo, ND and got up very early the next morning for a 13 hour drive to Chicago, IL. My sister Claudia lives there with her family and my mother was visiting for the holidays. My sister thought it would be nice for us to spend one holiday together. I arrived in the evening weary and tired from the drive. They had waited Christmas dinner for my arrival.
Claudia, for some weird reason, has a television in her dining room and leaves it on during meals...even Christmas. During the meal a news story came on about GAYS/AIDS. I had never told my mother I was gay, as we did not have the close relationship I felt was needed to share that information. Claudia did know.
As the news story ended, my mother blurted out; "IF I HAD A SON THAT WAS GAY I WOULD WISH HE WOULD GET AIDS AND DIE. I COULD NOT BEAR HAVING A GAY SON!"
Claudia gasped and hollered "MOM!"
My heart felt as though it had been broken and stomped upon a thousand times. I got up from the dinner table and quietly but clearly said; YOU DON'T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT A GAY SON, YOU JUST KILLED HIM." I walked out from my sister's home never to see my mother again.