Linda said that she had applied for access to my birth records and would give me a call when she had more information for me. During this brief wait, my birth certificate arrived … only to find that no, I didn’t have a middle name after all. This was bothering me so much! There was simply a line through the box marked ‘father’ (which I’d anticipated, because there were no father’s details on the application form) but my birth mother’s last address and my place of birth were given on the birth certificate. Then I got the phone call from Linda to say that she had received some details from the adoption agency and would I like to call in and see her. My adoption had been arranged through a Church of England Society and not Social Services, but this didn’t stop Linda from giving me all the help and advice I needed. The Society was also extremely helpful; birth records were only held on microfiche but they kindly provided me with a typed summary of the salient facts.
I met with Linda and she warned me that when my birth and adoption details were in front of me in black and white, it would seem like pretty powerful stuff and I could expect to become emotional. She also said that I should be prepared for one particular fact that I probably wasn’t expecting. How right she was. I must have read that A4 sheet three or four times before it all started to sink in and become reality rather than a fairy story. I think it would be fair to generalise here and say that adoptees who haven’t traced their birth families (yet) would naturally assume themselves to be a ‘one-off teenage mistake’ – I most certainly did. But I was wrong. Not only was Wyn 21 years old when I was born, but I wasn’t a one-off either – I was her second child!!
My half-sister, Sally, had been born two years previously; there were no details about her other than her name and the fact that Wyn had kept her, not given her up for adoption. This really was a shock; not only to discover that by the age of 21, Wyn had had two children by two different fathers – and wasn’t married to either of them – but also why had she kept Sally and not me? The fact that I had been given up for adoption had never bothered me from the point of view of being ‘unwanted’ but now the facts were stacking up against me, and I was starting to feel that maybe I was some sort of reject baby, sub-standard, surplus to requirements. What was wrong with me? No matter how many times I reminded myself that Mum and Dad wanted me so much, and were the best parents ever, I still could not get rid of that ‘unwanted’ feeling.