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

BIRTH MOTHER'S STORY


THE MEETING

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.

I invited 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 blessed with.

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 answered...WHY?


My mother in 1936 at age 6


HER STORY


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.

My 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.

We 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 hotel suite.


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.




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When I left, I checked into a hotel; a 48 year old man spent Christmas night crying himself to sleep. This is how my mother found out her first son is gay. My mother had "given me up" for a second time in my life. This time it was not due to her strict father, nor her inability to care for a child...now it was simply because her son was gay. She not only gave me up...she wished I were dead!

Despite my mother's words, I hoped and prayed and attempted over the next almost three years, that some degree of reconciliation between us would occur. She never attempted to call or write to say she was sorry for what she had said. I can only feel this is truly how she felt.

She suffered a stroke in 1999. Reconciliation did not happen between us and death took her October 23, 2001. My mother died a very bitter and lonely woman.

I sent flowers with the card signed LARRY and not SON. I had made a promise to myself earlier that I would not attend the funeral and I did not attend the funeral. Though Claudia seemed to understand to a point why I chose to do what I did, it has destroyed our once close, loving relationship.




Last picture taken of my Mother by me in 1997


I got the answers to my medical questions. Heart problems do run in my Mother's family. I also inherited her eye problems. She had a lazy left eye with 20/400 vision, as do I.

The answers to my questions about our heritage would have to be found on my own. My mother was not raised Polish...my grandfather hated his Polish heritage and changed his name completely in 1920 to join the US MARINE CORPS. That is why my name is not PIECHOWIAK.

However, with her death I knew there was still some unfinished business that one day would have to be faced.

Over a year passed since my Birth Mother's death when I came to the full realization that her death left a gaping, bloody, festering, open wound deep within me.

Her death had denied us the opportunity of reconciliation, though there had been no evidence in the previous three years that this might happen.

Her death had denied me a final opportunity even to speak my mind to her as to how her words during our final meeting had been like a dagger to the heart.

I cannot say I wanted an opportunity to forgive. I felt then and feel now that my Birth Mother had committed the unforgivable. There was no reason for needing to forgive her for giving me up for adoption for that had been a very wise and loving decision. However, how can one forgive another who after twelve years of a relationship wishes you dead only because you are gay? I cannot!

I, however, knew I needed to do something to allow this open wound to close and begin to heal. It will never completely heal but a scar can at least allow one to move on.

In an effort to reach out to my Birth Mother shortly after that devastating Christmas of 1998 I sent her a letter. It contained exactly how I felt from that experience. It contained the story of the struggle I had gone through, including attempted suicide, to accept myself for who I was. It contained my hope of a reconciliation between us. It did not ask that she approve of my being gay rather just that she accept me as she had that day back in 1986...as her son, whether I was gay or not. That letter came back to me marked, "return to sender." I kept that letter through the final years of her life and in the time that had passed since her death.

This was only one of several attempts to reach out to my Mother for a possible reconciliation. There were attempted phone calls...she only had to hear my voice and she would hang up.

Birthday and Christmas cards were sent my me those last three years only to have them also "returned to sender."

The most painful, brutal reality for me to deal with were the attempts by my half-sister to reach out to my Mother on my behalf were also rejected. About a month before my Mother's sudden passing Claudia shared with me that she had again attempted to get my Mother to either accept a call from me or make the call to me herself. My Mother's words; "He's dead leave it be!"

It appears though I was not physically dead that in my Mother's eyes and heart I was in fact dead and would no longer be a part of her life.

A month later she herself was dead.

So the question after her death became; How can I move on without forgiving?

It took over a year of deeply emotional times contemplating this question. The answer would not come easy. It was an answer however that I knew I had to find for my own emotional well being and for healing to begin.

Suddenly the answer came clear out of the blue...you need to let it go! I knew right away how I hoped to accomplish this.

I very much enjoy biking. I have in my hometown discovered a place I enjoy going to...Eagle Point Park.

One early Saturday morning in June, 2003 I set out for that place on my bike. I had with me the letter I had sent my Birth Mother four and a half years earlier.

Throughout the park are hideaways where one can light campfires. After biking awhile I found one spot that was hidden away more than others where I might have a needed time for privacy.

I built a small campfire. I took the letter and held it for a few minutes, then opened it. I slowly unfolded the pages as the emotions welled up inside me. I started to read the letter aloud...Dear Mother! As I read each line , paragraph or page the tears streamed more readily down my face, the voice cracked more often and the body trembled almost beyond control. I was determined to finish the letter for I had to have my say. I continued on until the closing salutation...the Son you may choose to give up a second time, Larry!

When I had finished reading it I placed each page, one by one, upon the campfire and watched as the flames began to devour them.

As the smoke ascended to the heavens I verbalized the words, "I am now letting go."

I had read the words I had written my Birth Mother to her and was now sending them up to her to do as she wished. I had finally been able to say all that had been stored within my heart to her. I would no longer allow myself to be burdened with the baggage she had placed on me. I WAS FREE!

YES, in that moment I actually did forgive my Birth Mother. I will never forget those wounds she had inflicted upon me. I, however, would no longer hold onto them. I gave her words as well as mine back to her. I had finally let go! I could move on! Everything was now in her court where it belonged.

I had a few months earlier written to my half sister that had given up the relationship we had prior to our Birth Mother's death. It had been a last attempt to reach out to her just as I had done our Mother. The letter did not come back but neither had she responded.

When I felt comfortable with everything involving my Mother I took a blank sheet of paper to symbolize the last letter to my half sister and placed it also on the fire. I was also letting go of her as well.

I continued to watch as each page turned from paper to ash.

When it was obvious that there was no more to burn, I doused the fire with the water bottle I had brought with me. I then gathered up the wet ashes and carried them to a secluded spot amongst the trees. I dug a small hole and placed the ashes with it. I then covered them with the dirt and some brush found nearby. I had not attended my Mother's funeral but on this day I had my own private one. I buried not only ashes of my letter but also all the pain and anguish caused by her and in doing so I believe I also buried my Mother.

I slowly walked away from that spot. I could feel the gaping wound was already beginning to get just a bit smaller. The healing has begun.

I do not hate my Birth Mother. I in matter of fact remember her in prayer. I pray that in death she has found the peace that she was unable or unwilling to obtain in life. I also still thank her for giving me the opportunity of life.

Rest in Peace Mother...I FORGIVE YOU!



CLICK BELOW TO PROCEED

CHAPTERS:


EARLY YEARS


MOM & DAD MONSHOR


FOSTER HOME #11


BOYSTOWN 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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