I Won the Lottery

Peoples Dreams Do Come True

 

Reunion Stories

I Won the Lottery

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Posted: 10/3/2011
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

My reunion story might sound clich'e, but to me it's like I won the lottery. I was raised with wonderful parents, who told me I was adopted when I turned 18 and graduated high school in 1988. They told me I had a right to know the truth now that I was an adult, and promised to help me any way they could if I decided to search for my birth parents. They handed me copies of all the adoption documents they had, as well as my amended birth certificate. I was born October 25, 1970 at St. Jude's Hospital in Fullerton, California. Though the documents did not contain my birth mother's last name, my parents remembered that her family name was Beck or Peck.

That day in 1988, the rose-colored classes came off and I looked back at my childhood as if it were a fairy tale. For about 10 years, I wished they had kept this information to themselves. I had been happy, and never noticed that I didn't look like my parents. I never questioned their love for me and I was one of the few that never passed through a real teenage rebellion. Looking back now I realize my parents' favorite discipline method was reverse psychology. By giving me their blessing to search for my adoptive parents, I did the exact opposite. For years I convinced myself and them that "mom and dad" are the ones who clean your scraped knees, listen to your problems at 1 am, and love you enough to tell you the truth. I told them I could never replace them, and I had no desire to open the can of worms and learn who gave me up for adoption and why. I even convinced myself that was true.

Fast forward 10 years to 1998. I'm 28, married and expecting my third baby. Late at night as I toss around in bed trying to find a comfortable position, I start to wonder about the woman who gave birth to me. I am filled with curiosity, excitement, and an overwhelming love for my children. I wonder...What did my birth mother feel in the months preceding my birth? Was she single or divorced? Was she in love with my birth father? Was she forced to give me up for adoption? Is she still alive? Do I have any brothers or sisters? Does she look like me? Does she miss me? At this stage in my life these questions were very personal ones I only share with my husband. Whenever we travel, I pick up a phone book and flip to "Peck" and "Beck." My heart rate quickens when I find a name and address in a new city I've never visited. Is she Linda, Barbara, Jean, Beverly? But at the end of the day, I still feel deeply loyal to my parents and even as an adult I am too afraid of disappointing them to seriously search for my birth family.

Now, it's October of 2008. I'm 38 years old and raising pre-teens and teenagers who all have personalities and lives of their own. My questions have become more like demands. I want to know where I come from. I want to tell my birth mother that I am ok, that I have a good life. I want tell her "Thank you!" for making the hard decision to give me up. I want to tell her I'm ok and introduce her to her grandchildren. I want to know if I have siblings and who I look like. I understand the importance of medical history and wonder if I'm at risk for any diseases. I've done internet search after internet search and tried to find my birth family on my own, with no luck. I don't know where else to look.

My best girlfriend Betty saw an adoption reunion on TV and called me up with the phone number of a professional search company called Search Question America. We talked for hours and I finally made the decision to take a leap of faith and once and for all, answer my questions.

My researcher, Susan Friel-Williams, was a miracle worker! I submitted all the information I had, including my amended birth certificate. She helped me request non-identifying information from the adoption agency and register for the ISSR Reunion Registry.

Meanwhile, Susan searched for all the people who died with the last name Peck in California. She also found several marriage records of women with the maiden name of Peck around the time of my birth. Then, she took each pair of names (husband and wife) and cross-referenced the CA birth records to see if any Peck babies were born around the time of my birth. This left us with 24 women who could potentially be my birth mother. Out next step was to find the specific dates of birth to narrow down the list of possibilities.

Through a process of elimination, Susan found my birth mother, Stella Beck, born in 1952 in Hutchinson County, Texas to Marion Peck and Stella Dunn. We were able to compare information from the Non-ID, (like the fact that my maternal grandfather died in Texas in 1957). Now that we had the right person, it was just a matter of following the paper trail to locate her current address and phone number!

My birth mother is alive and well. She lives in Cal Nev Ari, Nevada and has a current phone number. Susan contacted her first to confirm her identity and ask whether she would be open to being reunited with me. She was shocked that I was calling out of the blue, but she said she had always hoped I would show up one day, and she couldn't wait to get to know me. With my best friend, husband, and children gathered around one Monday evening, I put the phone on speaker and dialed my birth mother for the first time. It was a tearful, joyous reunion. A few months later, Stella flew out to our home in Nampa, Idaho to meet us for the first time. We had a big barbeque outside on the lawn to celebrate our reunion. We could not be happier to be reunited after all this time. It really does feel like I won the lottery!

I wanted to thank Susan and everyone at SQA for making it happen. So I sent Susan a birthday card with a lottery ticket inside. I was hoping she'd win the jackpot so I could repay her for blessing me in my life in such a dramatic way. In the end she won two bucks, and I won two hearts knit together as one.

Written by Mica Burton on Linda's behalf

(Client ID# 221137)
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