Today, a good friend of mine called me up and offered to watch Princess P. for me for a couple of hours. I jumped at the chance and called my favorite spa to see if they had an opening for a haircut and a pedicure. Since most of the east coast is slow dancing with Earl right now, their schedule was wide open and they were able to get me in.
So I take Princess P. over to my friend’s house. I know she is an adoptive parent – the inky darkness of her little E.’s hair and the creamy chocolate color of her skin is a clear sign that E. is an international adoptee. My friend and her husband are after all, as white as white as white can be. But that’s not the story here, the story is that she casually dropped the “oh, that’s E.’s ‘gotcha day’ ” in the middle of a conversation.
The room spun around for a moment. I could feel the bile rise up in the back of my throat, and my muscles tighten throughout my body. I had read about “gotcha day” on the internet but never actually heard any one speak it out loud in real life. What was merely irksome in writing was vile to the ears. While I can’t speak for an adoptee, I can only imagine what that terminology must feel like when they hear it. I mean, can’t they (the people who adopt) find any better way to describe an adoptee joining their family than “gotcha”? Anything more compassionate, more humane than a word that typically denotes “a potential problem or source of trouble” or is used “when you have an advantage over someone,” or if you are real geek like me, means a misfeature of a program that tends to make mistakes ? Or am I just making to much of this whole “gotcha day” thing?
But once again, that’s not the point of the story.
So, I leave her house and head to the spa, ready for a few hours of relaxation and mindless gabbing with other women. A wonderful woman does my pedicure and as we talk, we begin to discover we have many similarities. Although she is a 2 years older than me, our birthdays are within days of each other. She has children the same age as mine (minus the 3 month old). Her husband is 12 1/2 years older than her and was in the Army for 20+ years, just like mine. They met 18 years ago, like I did mine. They got married in late 2002, just weeks before I married my husband. We like the same kind of music, the same kinds of entertainment, we like the same restaurants, and she knew exactly what color I wanted for my nail polish. Seriously, she asked me what color I had chosen and I hesitated a bit before saying “Give Me Moor.” Before I had a chance to reply she said, “Oh, the ‘Give Me Moor’ ” from the OPI Espana collection would be perfect for you.” We had a good laugh over it and when she started to put the polish on, I noticed she was left handed, just like me. I said, “M., we must be related and living parallel lives or something!” She grew quiet and a smile spread over her face and she said, “You know, we might be. I was adopted as a baby and I am always wondering if I am related to people.”
After wiping away my sudden tears, I disclosed to her my first mother status and told her I was thinking of contacting you. She said, “Oh what I wouldn’t give to know about my mom and if I have any brothers or sisters out there.” Turns out she has tried but has come up against the typical brick walls that many adoptees encounter. I told her that I might be able to find someone who knows someone who could help her in her efforts.
So if you know of any search angels, could you let them know that a very delightful 40-year old woman who was born in New York on October 29, 1970 is looking for her mother? She knows her mother was 17 when she was born and that’s about all. (Damn those closed birth records!!!) I would love to help her hook up with someone who can help her find her mom. Without charging her $3000 to do it.
Hoping that angels come my way –