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Found at last!

Here I am, 20 months old. Thankfully, the photographer had the wherewithal to pose me so my Dumbo ears were not noticeable, because heaven knows my hair was taking its sweet time to grow.

Here I am, 20 months old. Thankfully, the photographer had the wherewithal to pose me so my Dumbo ears were not noticeable, because heaven knows my hair was taking its sweet time to grow.

It’s her! It’s her! It’s her!

As most of you know, I’m rarely speechless. Almost never without a smart remark to widely share.

But I am tonight.

I can’t think straight except to know I finally found my birth mother, Patricia Clark. A call tonight with a relative of hers confirmed what I hoped was true. This leg of my journey is done.

It was an emotional call, full of questions that segued into more questions that slid into half-finished anecdotes before being cut short so we could both absorb the news.

I’m quite sure there will be more calls with this new-found relation of mine, and I remain hopeful that one day soon I will be able to talk to and meet Pat.

One step at a time.


Ironic as it is given all the things I’ve chosen to write about on Pushing on a Rope, I’m not going to share details here quite yet — but I promise to when the time is right.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to let it all sink in, absorb what it means to be nearly able to say “I know” and not “I wonder.”

At so many points in this journey, I feared I’d never know anything.

I tried — very hard — to be grateful for each detail along the way:

  • my non-identification report from Westchester Family Services;
  • Pris and the many, many search angels who spent countless hours searching on my behalf;
  • the great find of my baptismal record, showing my birth name, Jennifer Elaine Clark;
  • the stalwart support of my adoptive parents, and Basil and Catherine — who had to come along for this ride whether they wanted to or not, and numerous other relatives and friends.

In a few weeks, I’ll be 47. Dare I hope I might finally know Jennifer Elaine Clark by then?

About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.


45 thoughts on “Found at last!

  1. I was born the day before you were in 1966…I met my mother in 1993 and my father this year in 2013, twenty years after I learned who he was. I have met aunts, uncles, cousins, and best of all a half sister and half brother. It is wonderful knowing who I am and knowing the TRUTH. God bless the truth…

    Posted by catfishmom | April 5, 2013, 1:30 pm
  2. Wow, how absolutely amazing for you! So glad your search was fruitful.
    I’m here as a result of a comment you left on my blog.
    I’ll be back!

    Posted by farmbeachgal | February 7, 2013, 10:36 am
  3. Terri,
    Congratulations on finding your birth mother.
    I saw your post a couple of days ago and one piece of advice comes to mind.

    I too found my birth mother (1992) and yesterday I was going thru a box of mementos and found the sweetest note sent to me (2003) by her. “I will always love you no matter what happens to both of us, you’re still my baby.” She passed away in 2004.

    My piece of advice is to write to her and to send her cards and hopefully she will do the same. Nothing is so wonderful as to get an unexpected letter or special occasion greeting card from your birth mother. It’s an instant rush of confirmed love.

    My birth mother did not have a phone, nor did she want one. Other than a yearly trip to see her, our letters and cards kept us in touch and allowed a relationship to grow on our terms. I was ready to send her a plane ticket to visit us, install a phone, pay the monthly bill and move her out of her dumpy apartment, anything to improve her life. I was ready to move fast with our relationship. She wasn’t.

    After a 12 year relationship, she wasn’t able to tell anyone in her life that I was her daughter. I was described as a cousin. It was not till her funeral, when I gave her eulogy that the beans were spilled to her handful of friends.
    I learned a great many lessons from our reunion; don’t judge, don’t expect, don’t try to change or improve their lives, just accept them.

    Your birth mother’s thoughts on paper will be an everlasting confirmation of her love. Begin the practice today, it will establish a realistic pace and trace of this special time in both your lives.

    Posted by Mesha | January 17, 2013, 9:16 pm
    • Wow. What a blessing to have those memories. I’ve started with photos and was thrilled to have her send one to me. It seems I have her smile. She is beautiful and I can’t begin to describe what it was like to finally see what she looks like. One step at a time and breathe, breathe, breathe. Thank you for sharing your story with me.

      Posted by Terri S. Vanech | January 17, 2013, 9:20 pm
  4. I can’t even imagine the feelings that have taking over your body and locating your birth mother. WOW! I can’t wait to hear more of your journey of the “I know” rather then the “I wonder’s”.

    Thank you for sharing and linking to the Empowered Living hop. You surely have a great story to share.

    Posted by Jesse @ The Empowered Momma | January 13, 2013, 12:39 am
    • Thanks, Jesse! When I posted, it was so people could laugh about the ridiculous garbage can my husband purchased. Who knew the post would so quickly change! Thanks for reading and opening my eyes to so many wonderful blogs on the blog hop.

      Posted by Terri S. Vanech | January 14, 2013, 9:48 am
  5. I’ve been recently reading your blog and watching for an update since you posted that you sent a letter. I sent my first letters to both my birth parents two years ago. So far reunion has progressed with my birth father, but not so well with my birth mother. I am filled with warmest wishes for you. You’re absolutely right – breathe. You’ll sort it thru even if it takes some time.

    Posted by Kristin | January 12, 2013, 4:43 pm
  6. Far and I are just soooo happy for you. It must feel even better than your words…..

    Posted by Bob | January 12, 2013, 11:08 am
  7. Wow!!!!! That is so fantastic for you. I hope finding this “truth” turns out to be everything you’ve hoped it will be.

    Posted by Fran Dorf | January 12, 2013, 11:08 am
  8. What a beautiful and inspiring story, and what a wonderful relief for you now to have some facts. Congratulations, Terri, and best wishes on the remainder of the information you are seeking.

    Posted by Bill Armstrong | January 12, 2013, 10:51 am
  9. Terri – I’m so happy for you. How are you feeling? I wish you much happiness

    Posted by Mike Colaluca | January 12, 2013, 10:45 am
  10. I admire so much your perseverance and determination to find your truth, your Chapter One. Such an affirmation for me to continue my work to help others find theirs. Thank you for letting us be part of your journey, and particularly for sharing so much of it closely with me. What a thrill it was that night a few weeks ago when I said to you on the phone, “I am deleting 15 pages of extraneous Clark research … Click!”
    Lovin’, happy hugs!

    Posted by Priscilla Sharp | January 12, 2013, 7:16 am
    • Thank you, Pris. I am honored to know you, for if anyone should be admired it is you and the many angels who volunteer countless hours to help people like me find their truth. I’m just me — no admiration necessary. Thanks for making sure I didn’t give up, because I was surely going to — more than once.

      Posted by Terri S. Vanech | January 12, 2013, 7:25 am
  11. Woot-hoot!!! Yes, breathe is right!! Congratulations on bringing yourself to this point!! Big hugs from me!!!!
    (((((( hugs ))))))

    Posted by Jackie | January 12, 2013, 3:45 am
  12. Oh my gosh we just found each other’s blogs and I totally feel like I cheated. Like I got to skip so much of the angst-filled search process and jump in on the glorious good news! I will definitely be going back to the beginning to experience this journey through your words. What a truly amazing thing!! Thank you for stopping by my blog so I could find YOURS! This is amazing!
    (I’m the Pursuit of Normal girl!)

    Posted by Vicky | January 12, 2013, 1:14 am
  13. So happy for you!!

    Posted by Nancy | January 12, 2013, 12:55 am
  14. Wonderful ! I’m so happy for you.

    Posted by Kristen | January 11, 2013, 11:58 pm
  15. how exciting ,, I am praying so hard it all goes well, I rem when I found my daughter the joy of knowing SOON I would be with her,, we still share the love and joy that we have had for one another FOREVER,, keep me posted LOVE SANDY

    Posted by sandy gotthard | January 11, 2013, 11:25 pm
  16. Wonderful news

    Posted by John P | January 11, 2013, 11:24 pm
  17. That’s wonderful. I can’t wait to read more!


    Posted by Sandi Ormsby | January 11, 2013, 10:50 pm
  18. W00t! So happy for you! I’m an adoptee (about your age) and have been in reunion for many years. I’m always so happy when I read of successful searches. Best of luck w/ all that follows!

    Posted by Rebecca Hawkes | January 11, 2013, 10:42 pm
  19. I am so thrilled for you and proud of you. Sending you lots of love.

    Posted by Kathy | January 11, 2013, 9:42 pm
  20. Wow!! Happy Birthday a bit early!!!

    Posted by Karen Waggoner | January 11, 2013, 8:56 pm
  21. So happy for you!

    Posted by Abbie | January 11, 2013, 7:58 pm
  22. Terri,
    I am so happy for you that you have some of the answers to your questions at last. I can tell from your writing what a good, sensitive person you are, and I wish you all the best. Now if we can just get legislative bodies to catch up with adoption reality!

    Posted by Susan Perry | January 11, 2013, 7:57 pm
  23. Wow! Congratulations!

    Sent from my iPad

    Posted by Denise Vanech | January 11, 2013, 7:42 pm

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