Friday, April 15, 2011

Finding My Son's Sister

Before I tell you about the amazing moment when Dallas met his other little sister for the first time, let me tell you how I first learned of her.

Even though Tom isn’t Dallas’s birth father, he’s the only daddy my son has ever known. Tom had planned on adopting Dallas from the moment he kissed me goodnight after our first date. Yes, HE kissed ME—don’t believe anything you might hear to the contrary. :-)

In 1988 Dallas was 4 years old and Tom and I had been married for two years. We gave a lawyer $200 to begin the adoption process, but shortly thereafter he closed up shop and skipped town. It would be five years before we could start the ball rolling again.

We did all the adoption heavy lifting ourselves—filing paperwork, securing letters from family, putting ads in local newspapers, etc… Terry had never made any real attempt to see Dallas, despite receiving a letter from him in 1989 in which he promised to come see his son soon. He never paid a dime of court-ordered child support. He said, “God told me” he didn’t have to pay because he was “going to win custody”.

I had to prove I’d done all I could to give my ex-husband ample opportunity to respond to the adoption request, so I worked like crazy to try to track him down.

Terry’s dad hadn’t talked to him in years and his mom stopped contacting us when Dallas was about five years old. I’d always sent both grandparents letters and pictures of their grandson. They’d been divorced for years and did not live near one another.

Grandpa Wayne was great at keeping in touch with his first-born grandchild. However, one day I sent an envelope filled with new Dallas pictures to Grandma, and it came back to me with the red words “return to sender” stamped on the front. The phone number I had was disconnected and she stopped sending birthday cards and Christmas cards. We wouldn’t hear from her again for many years.

I knew Terry had gotten married again after we divorced, but I was pretty sure they were no longer together. I had to find her.

Vicki had lived with my son’s father in Springfield, Missouri. I called long distance information and dialed the number provided to me by the operator. Vicki answered the phone. She told me they’d gotten divorced and she had no idea where Terry was living. I asked her if they’d had any kids—if maybe my son had a brother or sister we didn’t know about.

Sadly, Vicki had miscarried, but yes, Terry had fathered a child in Missouri. Shortly before he married Vicki, a young woman from a small town 20 minutes outside of Springfield had given birth to his daughter. She gave me the mom’s name and I think she even had a phone number. As soon as we said goodbye, I dialed the number I held in my hand.

The young mom who answered the phone was delightful, and so happy to chat with me. That night I learned that Dallas’s little sister was five years younger than him. Like my son, she had a cleft in her chin, blue eyes, and blond hair. Her name was Jodee.

No comments:

Post a Comment