I mean, what else could I do?
This is how I am as a person though. If I sense that a person is doing everything to avoid me, doing everything and nothing in order not to speak with me, I figure it's best to take a hint and just...stop. I've actually had people in my life who were not talking or responding to me tell me they were really hurt that I er, stopped talking to them. Confusing, right? And so it goes. I just let go, move on, cut my losses. Because sometimes, it's not worth it, folks. It's like you're a hazard to yourself---you're no longer getting burned by them because you're too busy burning yourself.
However, this doesn't mean if that person decides to pull their head out of their ass and actually respond to me, talk to me, and make it a regular thing, that I'd rub it in their face for all of eternity and dangle the relationship before their eyes. If anything, I'm so relieved and just so "Ya! let's do this, finally!" that I think everyone feels better in the end.
I just wish things always worked liked this.
When Kathy the Social Worker first contacted me about doing the search, she sent this huge packet for me to fill out with all these questions. One of the questions really stuck with me:
What is your greatest fantasy about finding your birthparent(s)?
I was able to answer that one very quickly.
I just wanted someone that actually wanted to talk to me. Someone willing to tell me the story.
I'm not looking for "my mommy". I was fully aware that if I found her, the relationship would be messy to navigate, and complicated at best. But as I answered that question in the packet, I told Kathy that I'd dealt with so much family rejection in my life already that I just wanted to connect with her on a basic level; that she just wouldn't be a mean person. She didn't have to be successful or perfect, but she did have to be tolerant and stable. Does that sound weird? Well, if you knew the background I was coming from and how tired I was of dealing with petty, insensitive judgment; you'd know why I just wanted something so seemingly basic. I knew, deep down, that we very well might have little in common---but that's not a reason not to talk with someone.
So all summer long, it went something like this:
Kathy calls my birthmom, no response.
Kathy calls my birthmom, my birthmom calls back, phone keeps cutting out.
Kathy calls my birthmom asking what time to call, my birthmom calls back saying the weekend.
Kathy calls on the weekend, my birthmom doesn't answer, then calls Kathy on Monday and Kathy misses her call because she's busy doing other court-appointed things Social Workers do...
It's important to note that the entire time, Kathy had to continue to be cryptic. She only has information about M (my birthmom). She only knows that she's married but not if she has other children, who else might live in the home with her, etc. The question becomes, what if she hasn't told her husband? What if she has other children and they don't know?
At one point in our discourse, Kathy told me the reason she has to be so cryptic specifically with spouses is because "to suddenly disclose a secret of this magnitude would completely undermine the trust in the marriage." Whoa.
To a certain extent, this is all very annoying. I mean, if someone's going to live a lie like that, the 'just' part of me wants to bust it up; barge right in and chant LIAR! I EXIST AND YOU CAN'T JUST MAKE ME...well, not.
However, when I was 18 I wasn't pregnant and then abandoned by the guy and then kicked out of my house (Oh, did I forget to tell you that part?!)
Sometimes, people just want to move on and find themselves...not mentioning certain things. We've all done this, maybe not with things as big as having a baby and failing to um, mention it, but you get my point.
So it became very frustrating (for both Kathy the Social Worker and myself!) to have Kathy leaving these weird, vague, but persistent messages on M's phone ("Hi M, it's Kathy again. Just trying to reach you; have something important to talk about, please call me back") all to no response. Over. And over. And over. Again. The entire summer.
Finally, one day, M's husband answered the phone and said that she has a long commute to and from work and works long hours at that.
Things made a little more sense now.
So Kathy told me still not to lose hope. The fact there was always a response, as weird or vague or late it might've been, it was still a response. She told me she had a good feeling about this case. She told me she'd keep trying and decided to give M her own home phone number, just to make sure she didn't miss an opportunity to catch her. After all, Louisiana's only an hour behind Pittsburgh.
I looked on a map and was reminded that Louisiana is only 2 states away from New Mexico. Well, Texas is huge and god knows where she actually lives in Louisiana, but it still felt good to know she was closer than Pittsburgh, for some reason. I imagined her newly-turned 50 year old self, short curly brown hair, eating Gumbo. I hoped she wasn't repressing memories. I hoped she'd held onto some semblance of a memory that wasn't all too painful. I hoped she was just taking time to let it sink in, gathering herself; trying to figure out how to talk to me.
I couldn't blame her for that, who could blame her for that.