Washington

Affirmation

Hello, my name is Debra J., I need to do something that needed to have been done for a long time. I'd like to acknowledge my birthdaughter Mrs. Angela Tucker of Washington state. While this is excellent news for me, I do understand that there are those who have there own opinions of me, the adoption of my daughter was not done to hurt anyone, in my family or otherwise, but most of all it hurt me. That being said, your opinion of me is just that. Yours. There. I want to thank Angelas parents and her entire family for what have done for her as well as for me personally, now this young lady is beautiful with a beautiful family, so I say Thank U All from the bottom of my heart for everything and GOD BLESS U ALL.

She answered the phone, and asked "How are you doing?"

I replied "Good, but super nervous!"

"You don't have anything to be nervous about! I'm a human just like you. I put my clothes on this morning, just like you..."

This was the start of the first conversation I've ever had with my birth mother. And, yes, perhaps she was right, that I shouldn't have been nervous. However the extra piece that you may not understand, Deborah, is that when I have 25 years to fantasize about who you are, you become different, than "just like us." You become more than "just a human."  All I've had to guide me towards what kind of person you are, and what could've possibly led you to these circumstances, were a measly three sheets of paper with vague information given to us by the adoption agency. Well, I took that small amount of information and expanded upon it.

Deborah, over the years you have been so many things to me. You were a super hero, you were a fashion icon, you were a sports star, you were jamaican, you were african, you were anything my mind wanted to believe that particular day. Oh, how my mind has wandered! If I were playing basketball, and had a particularly good game, I could have rationalized that as being in my genes, "my birth mom was a three point champion." If I played a song on the piano at a recital, I may have said "my birth mom was a musician..." These sorts of ideas have been in my mind all of these years.

So, when the moment came yesterday to call you, I was nervous because I didn't know who I was talking to, yet I knew you so well. Such a juxtaposition! How can a mind comprehend?

That hour long conversation is one I will never forget. I won't ever forget how long it took me to dial your number, or how fast my heart was racing when you answered. I appreciate your apology, and your respect that you have expressed towards my parents and family. It means a lot to me, and I hope that from this day forward our relationship will be drama free, and that everyone involved can understand that you did not mean to hurt anyone with your actions, and your choices. I certainly understand that.

The Letter.

My mom sent this beautiful letter to my [new] family in Chattanooga...

Dear Deborah and family,

I’m Angela Tucker’s mom here in Bellingham, Washington and am very excited to be writing this letter. Have thought about this for a long time. Chattanooga had always seemed so far away as our family talked about it over the years but now even though miles apart it feels right next door.  It means a lot to Angela and our entire family to be able to meet you and your family.

I’m guessing that you might be curious how we became Angela’s adoptive family?  The story follows, but first I want to thank you for sharing Angela with us (even though some of you didn’t even know you were).  We thank you Deborah for choosing adoption.   Not only was Angela’s  life changed by being adopted, but our lives were changed as well.  What a blessing this was!  Her cheery personality and her ‘forever’ smile brought much joy to our family.  She was best friends  with our older daughter, Elena, as they grew up.  This was and still is a special friendship.  People joked as Angela turned 2 years old that I should just hook her to my side with velcro as she always followed alongside me wherever I went.  We were never far apart.  Her sports ability—kickball and PE (in elementary school), basketball, track, cross-country and softball in high school and basketball at Western Wash. University—made us all proud.  Music also filled our house—her piano, harmonica, karaoke and singing for no reason or any reason was daily.  She and sister Elena enjoyed numerous piano duets.  Angela’s hearing loss helped educate all of us about both the struggles of wearing hearing aids and the belief that all of life’s opportunities were ahead.  She added a lot to our family, to say the least.

Deborah, when Angela was born, you had asked that she be given opportunities in life to live up to her full potential.  We took this to heart, felt guided by your request and thought about it many times as we raised her.

We began our family in 1974 with the birth of our daughter, Elena, followed by the adoption of Shawna and Steven.  In 1986 we were anxious to adopt again and searched the adoption books of waiting children from different states hoping to find the perfect match.  It didn’t take long before we found Angela in the state of Tennessee book.  She was listed in this book as a ‘hard to place’ child due to her possible physical disabilities.  (She spent the first year with a Chattanooga foster family as her health issues were identified. The adoption agency did not know the cause of her disability.)   We knew she’d fit into our family as soon as we read it.  We notified our adoption worker here in Bellingham who then worked with the adoption worker at Bethany in Chattanooga to make this match happen.

David and I flew to Chattanooga a week or two before her 1st birthday and spent the weekend getting to know her and deciding for sure if she was the one.  (There was never any doubt she was the one!)  We met with a representative from Bethany, was given non-identifying information about your family and the first name of the birthfather.  We spent a couple hours with Angela to get to know her (she slept the entire time!).  Then on Monday, flew with her back to Bellingham.

We continued her physical therapy related to her disability but within 3 months was told by the physical therapist that she had improved enough that she didn’t need it anymore.  She shortly began to walk, run and do all the things expected even though there was still some mild tightness in her legs and arms. Her hearing loss wasn’t identified till she was about 4 years old.

And so this is how Angela became a Burt and a resident of Bellingham (about 75 miles north of Seattle) and Washington state.  As time goes on I’m sure Angela will share photos, stories, memories etc. about growing up as a Burt with all of you.  (Ask her about getting her wisdom teeth out while she was on crutches, the competition she had with a friend to see who could wear shorts to school every day of 5th grade, playing basketball in bare feet in Belize, the ride on the Desperado rollercoaster, Highway 3 in Mexico and of course, our yearly Burt Meatfest.)  And she’ll enjoy hearing from each of you what it was like growing up in Chattanooga.

She has been a joy to our family.   We thank you again for sharing her with us. We look forward to meeting you all next summer.

Simply beautiful. Thanks for writing this mom!